Maitha and Afra Salem Mohammed Belobaida talk to us about floating in air and their plans for the summer
We’ve just watched you doing all kinds of tricks in the iFly tunnel. How long have you been practising your skydiving techniques?
Maitha: We both started it last year. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been generous enough to let us practise in his private skydiving simulator whenever we want. He’s very supportive of us and our hobby – which is great.
Afra: Ummm, we’ve been doing it regularly there – several times a week for about six months.
Were you scared the first time you tried it?
Maitha: No – not at all. I found it a really nice feeling to be floating. It was amazing. There’s nothing to be scared of.
Afra: I was kind of... because I was a bit shy.
Do you want to do a real skydive?
Maitha: Yes! It’s so much fun. Everyone says to me ‘Are you out of your mind? Are you crazy?’, but I’m not scared at all. I’m very excited about jumping out of a plane.
Afra: Er… I’m not scared now. I want to do it too. We know these French women who do it and we fly with them in the tunnel – they are amazing.
That’s pretty brave of you. When you’re not flying about, what else do you like to do?
Maitha: We go horse riding and swimming. We like to be active.
Afra: But I like horse riding the best, because I’m not so good at swimming.
Are you going to do much horse riding and swimming over the summer?
Maitha: We’ll be going to the UK for the summer – so we probably won’t do much swimming! But there is a wind tunnel there, so we’ll go on that – and we’ll horse ride as well.
Afra: I like going to the UK (suddenly looks very shy).
Are you good at riding? And do you have your own horses?
Maitha: We both started riding a couple of years ago – but we don’t have our own horses. We ride the ones at the stables. I don’t have a favourite because I love all of them. I love animals very much.
Afra: Me too!
School’s almost out for the summer. What will you miss most about it?
Maitha: I like maths and science. They’re my favourite subjects. She (points to Afra who’s scuffing her toes and looking shy) likes art and English. And we’ll miss our friends and teachers. We both go to the Latifa School for Girls.
So what are you planning to be when you grow up?
Maitha: Ummm (looks bashful) I’m not sure – a pilot maybe? I really love skydiving. It’s hard to learn all the moves and it gets tiring. It makes me want to drink water afterwards. We have a three-year-old brother and he wants to have a go – but he’s too little yet.
Afra: But he’ll be flying with us very soon!
Time Out Dubai,