Landing on the Summit of Everest | Summary and Q&A

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August 20, 2018
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Today I Found Out
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Landing on the Summit of Everest

TL;DR

A French fighter pilot successfully lands a helicopter on the summit of Mount Everest, proving the capabilities of the Eurocopter Ecureuil AS350 B3 helicopter.

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Key Insights

  • 🚁 Certain animals can survive extreme altitudes, but humans possess unique capabilities to create machinery like helicopters and accomplish challenging tasks.
  • 👍 Didier Delsalle successfully proved the capabilities of the Eurocopter Ecureuil AS350 B3 helicopter by landing it on Mount Everest's summit.
  • 🏝️ Landing a helicopter on Everest requires skillful maneuvering due to up and down drafts and limited visibility.

Transcript

To many climbers, mountaineers, and general fans of low oxygen environments, summiting Mount Everest represent the literal peak of physical achievement. But while an impressive feat for a human, it turns out vultures can happily survive exposed to altitudes of 40,000 ft or 12,200 meters above sea level and, indeed, have been seen flying around at t... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Didier Delsalle convince Eurocopter to allow him to land a helicopter on Mount Everest?

Delsalle persisted and used successful test results to convince Eurocopter executives that their Ecureuil AS350 B3 helicopter could safely land on Everest, showcasing its capabilities.

Q: Were there any modifications made to the helicopter for the Everest landing?

Apart from removing passenger seats to slightly lighten the helicopter, no other modifications were made. The purpose was to demonstrate what the Ecureuil AS350 B3 could do without major alterations.

Q: What challenges did Delsalle face during the ascent and landing?

Delsalle encountered remarkable up and down drafts, making it difficult to approach the mountain. Additionally, he had no visual cues to find the exact summit, and he had to press the skids against the small landing area to stay on the peak.

Q: Did Delsalle face any difficulties with documenting his achievement?

Initially, the recording equipment failed, and there was no evidence of the first landing. However, Delsalle repeated the landing the next day with functioning recording equipment, and the logs and video were later recovered to validate his accomplishment.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Vultures and tardigrades can survive in extreme altitudes, but no other known living thing can accomplish what humans can with their minds, like landing a helicopter on Mount Everest.

  • French fighter pilot, Didier Delsalle, convinced Eurocopter to let him test their helicopter's capabilities by landing it on Everest's peak, and he successfully achieved this feat.

  • Delsalle faced challenges such as up and down drafts and finding the exact summit, but with careful maneuvering, he was able to touch down and take off safely.

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