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Everest 2005: The Helicopter on Everest : The Summit is disputed!! Questions continue: Updated

EUROCOPTER flying to everest

Please Note: EverestNews.com has not made a conclusion here, but we do have serious questions and have asked EUROCOPTER to reply. This has been very strange. EUROCOPTER, might find easier than the world press. See the article below:

Update: French aviator didn't land on Everest: Nepal:

The EUROCOPTER 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 capability...

- 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, please ask.

Very best regards, Didier Delsalle

Mr 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 Mr 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.


This 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.


After taking 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.


Stepping 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”.


Achieved with 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.


During the 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 World Record.


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 (France),


-          “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).


With this 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.


To date, 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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