The day when Airbus AS 350 B3 Helicopter landed on top of the World

Posted on by Anurup Pathak

The day when Airbus AS 350 B3 Helicopter landed on top of the World

MAY 14, 2017-LUKLA

On May 14th, 2005 at 7:08 A.M local time, a serial Ecureuil / AStar AS 350 B3 Helicopter commanded by the Eurocopter X test Pilot Didier Delsalle, landed at 8,850 meters (29,035ft) on the top of the Mount Everest in the Kingdom of Nepal making the history.

According to Eurocopter, the helicopter took off from its base camp Lukla on May 14th, 2005 at 2,866 meters (9,403ft) and Captain Didier Delsalle Commanded his Ecureuil AS 350 B3 to the top of Mount Everest.

AS 350 B3 Helicopter at Everest

For the first time in history, a helicopter was landed on the summit of Mount Everest. It was done as a kind of publicity stunt by Eurocopter, the manufacturer of the helicopter but it had huge implications for future ascents of the highest peak.

It is a mystery to for a helicopter to clinch the top of Mount Everest. In fact, just landing at base camp at about 10,000 feet lower has been considered a life-threatening feat. Several attempts have resulted in crashes. Nepalese Military Commander Madan KC became a hero when he landed his machine at Camp II to rescue Beck Weathers and Makalu Gau after the 1996 tragedy. Later, pilot Didier Delsalle from Eurocopter landed B3 on the summit for 3 minutes and 50 seconds.

The remarkable Eurocopter flight broke the World Record for the highest altitude landing and take-off ever, for any flying machine on Earth, and sets an undeniable milestone in the history of aviation.

The unexpected event was heralded by climbers, stuck lower down on Everest for weeks by persistent high winds, as the “mystery chopper.”

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.

Europcopter, a helicopter manufacturer also noted that it is thankful to the Nepalese government and all its departments for their help and friendly support throughout this mission.

AS 350 B3 Helicopter at Everest

Nepal indeed needs abundant helicopter companies as being one of the most geographical handicapped and on addition, poor road transport facilities that impose people to airlift even their daily supplies to make hand to mouth. It’s so traumatizing if you walk through the dark side where individual surrender his/her life just because one cannot afford to charter helicopter during medical emergencies. The growing helicopter companies also bring a positive hope to impose decrement in the prevalent high chartered fare so that the needy people can afford it.

Fishtail Air Helicopter at EBC

There is no doubt that helicopter companies have been a boom to our country. The recent burning contribution during earthquake has created an another level of bench mark but still the safety factor has been the biggest question mark and still the authority are trying to figure out the loopholes for the crashes.

Specifications of AS 350 B3:- 
  •  Crew: 1
  •  Capacity: 5
  • Length: 10.93 m (35 ft 10½ in)
  • Rotor diameter: 10.7 m (35 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 3.14 m (10 ft 3½ in)
  • Disc area: 89.75 m² (966.1 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,174 kg (2,588 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 2,250 kg (4,960 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Turbomeca Arriel 2B turboshaft, 632 kW (847 shp)
Performance of AS 350B3:-
  • Never exceed speed: 287 km/h (155 knots, 178 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 245 km/h (132 knots, 152 mph)
  • Range: 662 km (357 nmi, 411 mi)
  • Endurance: 4.1 hrs
  • Service ceiling: 4,600 m (15,100 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 8.5 m/s (1,675 ft/min)
About the Author

An Aviation Enthusiast, Aviation Photographer. Working with Aviation Nepal and a Proficient Aviation writer. Air-Nav System LLC USA, Country Manager for Nepal. VNKT Spotter !!