Everest Mystery Chopper: Landing dismissed over again by Nepal government

Posted: Oct 03, 2005 05:27 pm EDT

It's a weird situation: In spite of permission given by the CAAN to the Eurocopter to test fly on Everest, the touch-and-go landing performed under control of a FAI Official Observer, and clear images for proof - Nepal government officials grab every chance to dismiss the Eurocopter Everest record landing on May 14 and 15 this year.

Last week, a Ministry Secretary again denied Eurocopter's claims that it landed on top of Everest.

Secretary says no way

"The chopper never landed on top of Everest as the government had not permitted the chopper to enter the Everest region in the first place," Nagendra Prasad Ghimire, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation told Kantipur Online on Thursday, September 28th.

He also said that the government has already initiated actions through different diplomatic missions to prevent Eureal Aster, a helicopter made by Eurocopter, from registering its name in the Guinness Book of World Records for the "high altitude landing" record.

Old song

It is not the first time Nepal authorities claim the chopper never got permission to fly to the top of Everest. Already back in June 3rd, an angry press release from the Ministry denied it all. However, Eurocopter inmediately confirmed both the landing and the permission given to it by the Nepal Civil Aviation Authorities prior to the flight:

"Indeed the permission given by the CAAN to the Eurocopter team was very clear and did concern 'Everest High Altitude Heli Flight Test, including landings and take-offs' as per Eurocopter flight test programme given to CAAN in March 2005, wrote the company.

This Mount Everest landing and take-off feat has been performed under control of a FAI Official Observer and according to the FAI rules, i.e. 'the touch down/take-off ensure that the rotorcraft maintains contact with the ground at least 2mn," Eurocopter added.

Record pending

The world record is currently under validation, not exactly by the Guinness Book crew, but by the FAI. The current state of the record claim states as Additional information requested and not yet received.

Check all the information on the record claim, including press releases and FAI rules in previous stories at MountEverest.net (Check links section).

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 Mount Everest.

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.


Nepal's ministry officials deny the Eurocopter ever landed on the top of Everest, stating it lacked proper permit to do so (click to enlarge).
FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Worlds Air Sports Federation) is studying Eurocopter and the pilot's reports and proof, in order to ratify the world record. Images courtesy of Eurocopter (click to enlarge).

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