Landing on Mt. Everest

 - September 21, 2006, 7:24 AM

Eurocopter test pilot Didier Delsalle (center) and president and CEO Fabrice Brégier (right) accepted the world record verification from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) representative Jacques Escaffe (left) for landing the first helicopter on top of Mount Everest (elevation 29,035 feet). Delsalle performed the feat last May in a production Eurocopter AS 350B3 AStar.

Desalle and an 11-man Eurocopter team were in Nepal to demonstrate the B3’s rescue capabilities to the government. He actually landed on the summit twice, on consecutive days, to prove that the first landing had not been a fluke. He wasn’t able to put the aircraft down completely but stabilized it on the nose of the skids–and on one occasion the helicopter’s nose itself–for longer than the two minutes required by the FAI.