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Daredevil pilot lands plane on Burj Al Arab helipad with ‘Bullseye’ stunt

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Headline staff

Another breathtaking moment has been added to the list of feats achieved at Burj Al Arab in Dubai when a pilot achieved a perfect drop landing on the iconic hotel’s famous helipad.

Polish pilot Luke Czepiela, who has also done many difficult types of flying feats, termed it a “bulls-eye landing” in the prevailing weather conditions and the given challenges.
At 6.58am on March 14, the pilot became “the first person in history to land a plane on the helipad” at 212 metres of height.

Ranking his other achievements in detail, Czepiela went on to rate his latest feat on a stellar resume as “11 out of 10”. A former Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class World Champion, he had just 27 metres of round space to bring his Cub Crafters STOL (short take-off and landing) plane to a stop from a landing speed of 43km/h. He brought it to a halt in just 20.76 metres from touchdown on his third attempt.

Although the aircraft is designed for abrupt landings in typical conditions, landing a plane on a platform raised 212 metres in the air, next to a 56-storey building, and with no visual cues to guide him made Czepiela’s historic landing an extraordinary feat.

Czepiela had been preparing for this historic moment since 2021, having completed 650 test landings at ground level in Poland, the US, and Dubai to build his confidence in landing on the helipad without any visual references.

“Normally, when approaching a runway, I can easily see how high above it I am and control the approach path. But today, the ground was 212 metres below, and the helipad disappeared over the nose of the plane, reducing my periphery. As my last few references disappeared, I had to rely on my practice and instincts to bring the plane to a stop before running out of space,” he said.

The world’s only seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel has a history of staging events, mostly around sports, to raise the adrenaline levels of viewers and visitors ever since Tiger Woods hit a routine tee shot from the green pad in 2004.

In 2005, two of tennis’ biggest legends, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi, played a match on a makeshift court on the landing area.

In 2013, former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard performed doughnuts to celebrate Red Bull Racing winning the Formula One Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships that season.

In 2019, professional BMX rider Kriss Kyle rode his bike off the edge of a helicopter and landed on the helipad in a few breathtaking moments.

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of eIndia.com. Now managing editor of Headline.ae, part of MEMc (https://www.memc.co)

Announcements

Tech Mahindra Global Chess League to Host its Second Edition in London

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The Global Chess League, a joint initiative between the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and Tech Mahindra, a leading global provider of technology consulting and digital solutions to enterprises across industries, is set for a highly anticipated second edition in London. Following the success of the first edition, the league aims to unite the world’s top chess players in one of the most historic cities.

The 10-day, one-of-a-kind chess league featuring top players will take place at Friends House, located in the heart of central London, from October 3rd to 12th, 2024. Based on the feedback from fans worldwide, London was selected as the venue for this season to connect with the fast-growing fan base and enthusiasm for chess in the European region.

Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President, said“After a fantastic response to the inaugural season, we are excited to continue our mission of expanding the reach of chess worldwide and drawing in new experiences for chess fans. Tech Mahindra’s commitment to usher in a new era in the modern chess ecosystem is commendable, and we are confident that the second edition of the league will provide the right platform and push needed to further elevate the sport.”

Through this innovative league, FIDE and Tech Mahindra aim to revolutionize the fan experience of chess through a new format and ecosystem, providing an inclusive platform for fans to support their favourite teams and stars, similar to major global sports leagues. The second edition will feature top players from around the world, including reigning world champions and rising stars, competing in a unique team format that emphasizes strategy, collaboration, and high-stakes play.

Mohit Joshi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tech Mahindra, said, “Chess and business share key values such as planning, speed, strategy, and risk management. The infusion of technology opens exciting new opportunities, transforming both fields. The Global Chess League’s second edition creates a unique platform for the global growth of Chess.”

Building on the success of its first season, the league aims to further broaden the viewership base through live broadcasts, interactive fan experiences, and community engagement activities like soon to be launched Global Chess League Trophy Tour. In the tournament, the players will compete in a unique joint team format consisting of six players, including two top women chess players and a prodigy player per team. Each team will play a total of 10 matches in a double round-robin format, with the winner of each match being decided in a best-of-six board scoring system.

Peeyush Dubey, Chairperson, Global Chess League Board, said, “We will continue to leverage the Global Chess League’s innovative format and next-gen technologies to captivate and engage fans worldwide. The second edition is seeing unprecedented excitement from our partners and stakeholders. Together with FIDE, our vision for the league is to bring the best from the chess world.”

The second season will see FIDE and Tech Mahindra collaborate to tap into the growing chess fan base, build a larger audience for chess viewing, and engage in exciting fan activities such as the ongoing all-inclusive hackathon. The hackathon engages with participants of all chess skill levels and technical expertise and collates ideas for improving the way chess is experienced, played, and consumed. Participants can propose ideas in various categories, including education, digital innovation, social impact, business, and arts, among others.

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UAE cuts Friday sermon to 10 minutes until end of summer

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The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments said that the decision is aimed at ensuring the safety of worshippers during the summer months.The directive is applicable from Friday, June 28, until the start of October.

According to the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology, summer temperatures in the Gulf country frequently exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with some areas experiencing highs of up to 50 C (122 F).

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DP World ILT20 franchises retain leading cricket stars for Season 3

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The six DP World International League T20 franchises have retained a total of 69 players for tournament’s third season which will be played from January 11 to February 9, 2025 in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The window for retaining players was opened on June 1 with the teams given two weeks to submit the list of the retained players.

Season 3 is set to see a number of world-class and seasoned T20 players from around the world. Amongst the 69 players, 26 players were parts of various ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 squads.

The retained players include T20 heavyweights like Andre Russell, David Willey, Sunil Narine (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders), Alex Hales, Azam Khan, Muhammad Amir, Sherfane Rutherford, Wanindu Hasaranga (Desert Vipers), Dasun Shanaka, David Warner, Rovman Powell, Sam Billings, Sikandar Raza (Dubai Capitals), Chris Jordan, James Vince, Shimron Hetmyer (Gulf Giants), Akeal Hosein, Dwayne Bravo, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, (MI Emirates), Johnson Charles and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Sharjah Warriors).

Each of the six franchises have retained two UAE players each.

The UAE players retained for Season 3 include Aditya Shetty and Alishan Sharafu (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders), Ali Naseer and Tanish Suri (Desert Vipers), Haider Ali and Raja Akif (Dubai Capitals), Aayan Afzal Khan and Mohammad Zohaib Zubair (Gulf Giants), Muhammad Rohid Khan and Muhammad Waseem (MI Emirates), Junaid Siddique and Muhammad Jawadullah (Sharjah Warriors).

Following the completion of the players retention window, the teams can now sign new players in the ongoing Player Acquisition Window which will stay open till September 15. Each franchise can sign minimum two additional UAE players to complete their quota of four UAE signings after the completion of the ILT20 Development Tournament which will be held in October.

Retained players for DP World ILT20 Season 3 are:

Abu Dhabi Knight Riders

Aditya Shetty, Ali Khan, Alishan Sharafu, Andre Russell, Andries Ghous, Charith Asalanka, David Willey, Joe Clarke, Laurie Evans, Micheal Pepper and Sunil Narine.

Desert Vipers

Adam Hose, Alex Hales, Ali Naseer, Azam Khan, Bas de Leede, Luke Wood, Micheal Jones, Muhammad Amir, Nathan Sowter, Sherfane Rutherford, Tanish Suri and Wanindu Hasaranga.

Dubai Capitals

Dasun Shanaka, David Warner, Dushmantha Chameera, Haider Ali, Raja Akif, Rovman Powell, Sam Billings, Sikandar Raza, Zahir Khan, Jake Fraser McGurk and Oliver Stone.

Gulf Giants

Aayan Afzal Khan, Blessing Muzarabani, Chris Jordan, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gerhard Erasmus, Jamie Overton, James Vince, Jamie Smith, Jordan Cox, Mohammad Zohaib Zubair, Rehan Ahmed, Richard Gleeson and Shimron Hetmyer.

MI Emirates

Akeal Hosein, Andre Fletcher, Daniel Mousley, Dwayne Bravo, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Jordan Thompson, Kieron Pollard, Kusal Perera, Muhammad Rohid Khan, Muhammad Waseem, Nicholas Pooran, Nosthush Kenjige, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth and Waqar Salamkheil.

Sharjah Warriors

Dilshan Madushanka, Johnson Charles, Junaid Siddique, Muhamad Jawadullah, Kusal Mendis, Luke Wells, Peter Hatzoglou and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

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