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Put away the crampons and oxygen bottles, you can reach the top of Mount Everest via helicopter. On the morning of May 14, EUROCOPTER X-test pilot Didier Desalle landed his Ecureuil/AStar AS350B3 helicopter on Mount Everest’s summit. He held the chopper there for two minutes, thereby breaking the World Record for highest altitude landing and take-off.
Baffled mountaineers in the region for the peak mountaineering season of May, had sited the mystery copter hovering in the Everest area, but could only guess at the reasons for the heli activity. Desalle has flown rescue missions for the Nepalese Government and is very acquainted with the Himalayas. Experimental flight tests began over a year ago, with the idea of pushing the altimeter a little higher until Desalle sat on the top of the world. For more info check out www.eurocopter.com/everest