Flying over Everest – some amazing video footage

Helicopters (the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil, specifically the B3 high-altitude version, the first helicopter to land on the summit of Mount Everest in 2005) are used to rescue climbers in difficulty in the Himalayas.  Here’s a montage of footage shot from them during their missions.  Some of it is amazing.

I almost got vertigo watching some of the shots in full-screen mode.  I imagine the pilots have to be amongst the best in the world at what they do, to manage a helicopter in the extremely thin air and high winds of those altitudes.



  1. Yep, beautiful views, and a clear CALM day… Those folks fly those choppers on the ragged edge of the performance envelope, and are one minor misstep away from catastrophe. The FADEC and aero strake for exhaust gas help some at altitude, but they are still on the ragged edge. Kudos to the pilots that fly them, and the crews that maintain them!

  2. That's why the National Guard helo pilots – especially the CH-47 Chinook drivers – from western states with high mountains are some of the best the U.S. military has. They're the ones who get the call when climbers get stranded on high mountains – like Mt. Denali (McKinley), Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, to name a few – by either weather or medical emergency.

    That fact that most of them fly other kinds of helos in their civilian jobs, and thus have far more stick time that most of their regular Army counterparts, is another part of it. (How often do regular Army pilots get to take their birds up, compared to the guy who flies the traffic copter for your local news station, or local law enforcement agencies, or Life Flight?)

  3. Yep, mountain flying in a helicopter is amazing. Did two Lower 48 to Alaska trips passing over (through?) the Canadian Rockies in a B205 (civilian model Huey). Lotsa up and down and not a lot of flat space to land on in case of trouble. There was a constant refrain in the back of my brain to the tune of, 'Engine, don't fail me now!' The most fun was to go over a saddle peak and watch the mountain goats scattering at a full bore run on a 70-80 degree slope. Also, I think British Columbia has the highest-flying bugs in the world, as it was my job as the mechanic to remove the remains at the end of the day. Or during refueling stops, if it got that bad.

  4. Hard to comprehend that the buckling of tectonic plates (and subsequent erosion from wind and particulate blasting, precipitation, temperature cycling and the erosion by the biota) produced the jagged mountains. The mountainous terrain that I saw was in Korea when they still flew Hueys (UH-1s): I got much of my flight time as a US Army Flight Surgeon in those aircraft. But it was no fun being on aircraft accident investigation panels when they crashed into a hillside: fortunately was never in one myself.

  5. Amazing photography and terrain of course. The narrow spines looked knife-edge sharp.

    I did wonder about the proliferation of blue roofs. Surely at least some of them were the ubiquitous Harbor Freight poly tarps?

  6. Flying over Military Pass on the east slope of Mt. Shasta in Northern CA was a very bumpy ride when I did my first solo cross-country in an R-22. No place to set down, if needed, until I was just short of Fall River Mills, due to unbroken forest. What a rush.

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