A Helicopter Landing on Mount Everest

Mount Everest Helicopter tour with landing by Didier Delsalle
Mount Everest Helicopter tour with landing by Didier Delsalle
Mount Everest Helicopter landing by Didier Delsalle

People believed that the lack of air for the rotor and oxygen for the engines made it impossible to fly by helicopter at a height high enough to reach the summit of Mount Everest at 8850m but in fact this feat was achieved on May 14, 2005 by an Airbus Ecureuil – AStar AS350 B3 helicopter piloted by Didier Delsalle who touched its summit for the first time and stayed there for just under 4 minutes.

To prove that it did not happen by chance thanks to favorable conditions he even started again the next day.

From Kathmandu, Delsalle repositioned to Lukla, the remote mountain airport that is the jumping-off point for Everest climbers and trekkers. There, Delsalle and his team worked to prepare the helicopter for the record attempt – with a brief diversion to rescue two Japanese trekkers who were suffering from medical issues. Delsalle also began conducting recce flights to determine the best way of approaching the summit, quickly discovering that the path to the top wasn’t a simple one.

Didier Delsalle, who made the record-setting flight in a stripped-down production aircraft on May 14, 2005. With the AS350 B3 certified to a maximum operating altitude of 23,000 feet, it was clear that taking off from Mount Everest’s 29,029 foot (8,848 meter) summit would demonstrate a healthy safety margin.

Not only that, Delsalle had his windows open to keep the windshield from icing up with the humidity of his breath, a problem that had plagued Boulet in 1972. The temperature was -35°C, and because Delsalle doesn’t like to fly with bulky flight suits, he was wearing only two layers of thermal undergarments, plus his flight suit. ‘But you know, in these conditions, you forget the cold,’ he laughed. ‘You are so hot inside your mind, the cold is nothing,’ – Verticalmag reported.

Delsalle arrived with the aircraft in Kathmandu around the first of May, where he said his first step was to confirm his clearances with Nepal’s civil aviation authority. This became a point of contention after the fact, when Nepal initially denied that Delsalle had secured appropriate permissions for the flight, and also that he had landed on Everest at all. Eurocopter would express regret for the ‘misunderstanding,’ but stood by Delsalle, whose achievement was eventually certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, or FAI.

#vidoe via Youtube channel of Airbus Helicopter

Powerful enough to land and take off at previously inaccessible altitudes in the Himalayas, while retaining the versatility and economy that have made the AS350 series a bestseller, the B3 quickly became the most popular civil helicopter in Nepal. Today, that market is dominated by its successor, the AS350 B3e now called the H125.

Posted by

Hum Gurung

Happy go lucky!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *