flying to everest
X-test pilot Mr Didier Delsalle was kind of enough to reply once to
some of our questions, but only after several requests from eurcopter. His
reply is below. This all has been a bit strange, maybe
they planned it that way... EverestNews.com still has several questions into eurcopter.
They have not returned our several calls or e-mails again today for
answers to specific questions. They know this story is going to be published.
Everest climbers, please play this video and stop the video as
the helicopter take off and lands... Look close. The
video (click here) is carefully
edited... Note you see the mountain, then they cut to what they call the
"summit". This happens at 2.23 of the video. No landing of the
helicopter is shown. They label the video as the Summit of Everest. The summit
appears very round, where is the South East ridge? Can you see it? at
3.29/3.30 (note it is cut again) Where is
the trash? The rocks that appear in many summit pictures normally on the left
are not shown. Stop the video at 3.29, and look. Stop the video at
3.30 again and look close. Then the film is edited (cut again). The cut
again at 3.33. Then again cut again to a scene of the helicopter flying over
Everest. What do you think?
Today we have received word that
the Civil Aviation Authority of
Nepal Thursday said that the Eurocopter helicopter landing on Everest has
not been confirmed. The CAAN has investigated the landing "Upon
inquiry, the captain of the flight Didier Delsalle in a written explanation
has said that it was impossible to land because of the adverse topography,
the CAAN said. Delsalle had only made emergency landing some 1000 metres
below at the South Col due to bad weather and therefore the landing cannot be
confirmed". Note we have not received the full statement from the Civil
Aviation Authority of Nepal yet.
Now! Here is what
Didier Delsalle told
EverestNews.com in a written e-mail a few days ago to some of our questions: I
will try to give you some precisions and answers to your questions.
- Date of landings: on May,
14th and May, 15th.
- No, nobody went out of the
helicopter as I was alone and quite busy to stabilize the helicopter on this
windy summit! The terrain characteristics prevent any full landing on the
summit as you can see on the videos and only a hover landing, where a part of
the landing gear skids stays in contact with the ground is possible there.
When you are familiar with
helicopters characteristics, you will know that this kind of "landing" is much
more difficult and requires much more power than to land on a rather flat area
where all the landing gear can be fully set on the ground. But the "hover
landing" is essential to demonstrate to allow mountain rescue operation
- I have stabilized the hover
landing with the skids in contact with the ground for 3 minutes and 50
seconds. These figures will be certified I hope by the "Federation
Internationale Aéronautique" (F.A.I.), the official international independant
federation which is in charge to validate any world record attempt concerning
aeronautical matters. Perhaps on the videos you have you can't see precisely
the time I stayed there but the Official Observer of the FAI who were
monitoring us during our attempts has seen on the original tapes the time we
claim for. To validate the "Highest take-off world record", a minimum of two
minutes in contact with the ground is mandatory.
- Trash at the summit: you
can see on the video at least two oxygen bottles on the summit, one of it
damaged a little bit the helicopter underbody cowling during the second hover
landing on the 15th.
- I don't know which video
you have received but Everest Summit is clearly recognizable to my point of
view. We had 3 video-cameras on board the helicopter to film the attempts, the
master copies have been given to the FAI for record validation.
- We have realized this
project with a great respect for the Mountain, for the people who suffer
incredibly and risk their life to climb there and for the Country which hosted
us. One of my worrying matter was not to bother the climbers in any case if
some of them were in the area, to avoid any risk of avalanche or any other
life-risky troubles. For us it was pretty clear that we would reject any
landing attempt in case climbers were on the summit or on its approaches.
Considering this record, I
will be even more happy if one day, with the benefits of these flight test
results, one of our helicopter can rescue someone in the 8000 meters region
from a deep pulmonary or brain oedemia. This day, it will really be a great
day and a great victory for me!
I hope that this will help to
avoid any other misunderstanding, in case you need any other information,
Very best regards, Didier
Didier Delsalle clearly states
above to EverestNews.com that he landed the helicopter on the Summit of
Everest. But the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has stated
Didier Delsalle told them in a
written statement that he did not land on the Summit. Eurcopter could clear
this up very quickly. It is a huge
shame to see such a great achievement reported so strangely.
We request and encourage the world press to request of the entire unedited
videos, and then we will see if the helicopter "SUMMITED" Everest or not.
We have moved the "SUMMIT of Everest" into the disputed list for now.
The Press release and video is below:
For picture and video see
Download the video (wmv file - 17281 KB)
Is this the summit of Everest?
Pictures and video copyright: eurcopter.
On May 14th,
2005 at 7h08 (local time), a serial Ecureuil/AStar AS 350 B3 piloted by the
EUROCOPTER X-test pilot Didier Delsalle, landed at 8,850 meters (29,035ft) on
the top of the Mount Everest.
tremendous achievement breaks the World Record for the highest altitude
landing and take-off ever, which sets an ultimate milestone in the History of
Aviation. Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO of the
EUROCOPTER Group, world leading helicopter manufacturer, immediately
congratulated the pilot and his team for this extraordinary feat.
off from its base camp Lukla on May 14th, 2005 at 2,866 meters (9,403ft)
Didier Delsalle onboard his Ecureuil AS350B3 reached the top of Mount Everest.
As required by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI - International
Aeronautical Federation), the aircraft remained landed on ground more than 2
minutes on the top of the world before flying back to Lukla.
This feat was
renewed the day after.
out of his helicopter, Didier Delsalle commented: "To reach this mythical
summit definitively seemed to be a dream; despite the obvious difficulties of
the target to be reached, the aircraft demonstrated its capability to cope
with the situation (…), sublimated by the magic of the place”.
a serial helicopter, this absolute World Record once more contributes to
underline the unique qualities of the Ecureuil/AStar AS350 B3 as a
multipurpose, reliable, quick and comfortable helicopter which emerges as the
most performing aircraft in the world in the most extreme conditions.
trial period, Didier Delsalle and his Ecureuil/AStar AS350 B3 flew some rescue
missions on behalf of the Nepalese authorities demonstrating the operational
capabilities of the aircraft used to set the altitude landing and take-off
This feat has
been achieved further to various flight tests begun one year ago with the
Ecureuil/AStar AS350 B3 among which:
Experimental flight up to 8,992 meters (29,500 ft) in April 2004 in Istres
“Time to climb” records to the heights of 3,000, 6,000 and 9,000 meters
performed on April 14th, 2005 in respectively 2 minutes 21 seconds, 5 minutes
6 seconds and 9 minutes 26 seconds. These records smash the previous ones held
by an Ecureuil/AStar AS350 B1 with respectively 2 minutes 59 seconds, 6
minutes 55 seconds and 13 minutes 52 seconds,
Experimental flight up to 10.211 meters (33.500 ft) on April 14, 2005,
Landing at the South Pass of Mount Everest at 7,925 meters (26,000 ft) on May
12th, 2005, establishing a new altitude landing and take-off record,
previously held by a Cheetah helicopter - variant of the Lama - at 7,670
meters (25,150 ft).
landing on the top of the world, EUROCOPTER demonstrates that its
technological innovations provide its products a length - height - ahead, set
at the disposal of its worldwide customers.
3,670 Ecureuil/AStar have been sold worldwide and logged 15 million flight
hours. Since its introduction on the market, the Ecureuil/AStar/Twinstar
family has been benefiting of successive improvements among which its most
powerful version is the Ecureuil/AStar AS350 B3. This aircraft is serial
equipped with modern systems such as dual channel FADEC, Vehicule and Engine
Monitoring Display, integrated GPS, etc…. 424 Ecureuil/AStar AS350 B3 are
currently in operation worldwide, mainly used for missions requiring high
performances, such as aerial work (cargo sling capacity: 1,400kg) in very high
and hot conditions.
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