Local Pro-Cyclist Shivanand Rao, a member of Mangalore Cycling Club and WERC; and also a multifaceted enthusiast, actively engaged in various outdoor pursuits such as kayaking, hiking, endurance training, and even participating in marathons, Obtains ‘A’ Licence in Skydiving at Evora, Portugal
Mangaluru: The act of jumping out of an aeroplane is well known for its adrenaline-pumping, daredevil antics, but officially, is skydiving an extreme sport? You might even be wondering, is skydiving a sport at all? In the same way that every extreme sport has its own risk vs. reward, they each come with their own set of challenges. And often, the unique challenge is what draws athletes to that particular sport. The two main challenges in skydiving are time and altitude. Falling toward the earth at 120 mph (or faster) means that a skydiver only has so much time to enjoy the jump. This requires both extreme mental focus and technical physical ability to do safely. Experienced skydivers train hard to learn proper body position for a stable free fall. And that’s not all. Skydivers also need to know how to navigate their body and parachute in different wind conditions, and how to control their parachute in accordance with that navigation. That means learning several different techniques for all the phases of the jump.
Skydiving also requires a calm, focused mind. Jumpers are literally racing against the clock from the moment they step out of the aeroplane, and they need to have the awareness and reaction time to handle anything that could happen during the skydive. Even a regular jump with no issues requires altitude awareness and quick thinking. Add an emergency situation, and now the mind has to be fully prepared and razor-sharp. As with any risky activity, certain safety measures are developed to try and mitigate that risk. We aren’t all devil-may-care people! Some of us only enjoy jumping out of aeroplanes because decades of research and development have made the sport as safe as possible.
Why I gave the above introduction to Skydiving because it was in 2004, on my birthday 18 March I took the challenge of going to the extreme by Skydiving, and that was my FIRST and the LAST attempt since it scared the hell out of me. Even though I had gone through rigorous two weeks of training, I was reluctant to do the jump myself but accepted the gauntlet by jumping along with the trainer. However, it was a lifetime experience- and it was in Ottawa, Illinois, a suburb in Chicago, USA, where the skydiving training was held, very close to where I lived for nearly 24 years, before returning to Kudla, USA (Ullal Sankada Ache?) And hearing about the dare-devil act taken by a Mangalurean brought back memories of my skydiving experience
A tandem skydiving experience and affinity for adventure sports made this Mangalurean entrepreneur travel far to obtain solo skydiving credentials in three weeks’ time. Shivanand Rao, 47, a businessman with a penchant for adventure, embarked on a solo journey to Evora, Portugal, to achieve his ‘A’ license in skydiving. Starting on 14 September 2023, he dedicated about two weeks to a comprehensive training programme offered by Elite Skydive Portugal, situated at the Municipal Airfield of the renowned city of Évora, which is located 120 km away from Lisbon.
Obtaining the ‘A’ license after completing a series of training jumps, demonstrating proficiency in basic skydiving skills, and meeting certain safety requirements set by the United States Parachute Association (USPA), Shivanand Rao speaking to Team Mangalorean said: “My passion for adventure sports has been a lifelong pursuit. However, the pivotal moment occurred during a tandem skydiving experience in Dubai a few years ago, which ignited a strong desire to delve deeper into this thrilling world. After extensive online research on available courses, I made the definitive decision to travel to Portugal. I enrolled for the course last December.”
“I’ve taken the plunge from altitudes ranging between 14,000 to 15,000 feet, a total of 25 times to complete the certification course successfully. This journey involves a structured progression, that is, the initial three jumps include two instructors, followed by the subsequent four jumps with a single instructor. From the eighth jump onwards, I made solo jumps, albeit under the vigilant observation and documentation of instructors. Throughout the course, I learned to perform various manoeuvres, such as executing a 360-degree turn, mastering a backflip, and handling emergency jumps from lower altitudes, typically around 4,000 feet,” added Rao.
He further explained. “After each jump, a thorough review by the instructors is conducted. In addition to the practical aspect, there is a written examination to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Following the completion of the course and the necessary annual payment, my license was officially uploaded, I hope to complete the B-licence soon”. Rao is also engaged in various outdoor pursuits Rao is a multifaceted enthusiast, actively engaged in various outdoor pursuits such as kayaking, hiking, endurance training, and even participating in marathons. In cycling, he has covered a distance of 37,000 km and represents the Mangalore Cycling Club and WERC.
During his time in Portugal, a delegation from Pilikula Golf Club, including Brijesh, Sanath Shetty, Subin, Sudhir Shetty, Subanna Shetty, Eugene, Vittal, and Clarence, were fortunate to witness Rao’s achievement. I bet they were all proud of Shivanand’s achievement!
TEAM MANGALOREAN Congratulates SHIVANAND RAO for his great achievement in SKYDIVING