Helicopter Lands on Everest Summit - World Altitude Record for Landing and Takeoff
by Super User, 4 years ago
Was it hard to control the craft in the thin air and 75 mile (121 kilometer)
an hour winds?
Very. But the landing itself was the hardest part. I didn't know if I was touching down on snow above rock or snow above nothing. If it was snow above nothing and the snow broke, it would have been difficult for me to increase the power and get away.
Were you nervous?
I had some sleepless nights thinking it through. During the approach, I was so focused I had tunnel vision. But I arrived very gently and asked the mountain to accept me. It was like making a new friend.
You actually made two landings. Once wasn't enough?
I did it twice to make sure it's repeatable. To qualify as a landing, you have to touch down for at least two minutes. The first day, I landed for three minutes and 50 seconds. On the second day I was there for four minutes.
Why are Nepalese authorities claiming that you and Eurocopter violated their air space?
There was a big misunderstanding. Nepal gave us a flight permit with no specific limitations. They even wrote "Wish you the best" on our permit. But when we came back, it was a totally different feeling. We really don't know why. It was very disappointing.
Maybe because you broke a Nepalese colonel's record?
Does this flight improve the prospects for future rescue operations?
The thought of rescuing climbers was one of the things that motivated me to do this project. But the forces I encountered were so powerful that to guarantee a safe flight you'd have to design a more powerful copter.
Still, you managed to mount a rescue while you were there.
Yes. I rescued two Japanese climbers at 16,000 feet (4,877 meters). It would have been impossible for the small Nepalese helicopters. But for me, it was no problem.
Any chance of a Café Everest on the summit someday?
Tourism is unthinkable. You'd need safety standards comparable to passenger flights on an airliner. Personally, I'd like to see the Tibet and Nepal governments make rules to ensure that tourist flights never happen.
For full Everest and other mountaineering documentaries, see my playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEq-_K2Ii0oGkxhq49Wl_gKI8fwHg-JVR
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4 years ago