Friday, June 10, 2005
MT. EVEREST PROVIDES A HIGHPOINT IN THE ULTIMATE SEARCH FOR EXCITEMENT
Flying a two-cockpit aircraft, Royal Air Force Pilot David McIntyre and the Scottish marquess of Clydesdale became the first to fly over the summit of 29,035-foot Mt. Everest, the highest point in the world. This happened in 1933 and world climbers did not reach that point until 1953. And now a French helicopter has landed on the summit of Mt. Everest and then took off, twice. Helicopters are far more limited than airplanes at high altitudes because they depend on the bite of the rotors for their lift, a difficult feat in such thin air. The Eurocopter Ecureuil AS350 B3 used in the record-setting landing is described on a website promoting sightseeing flights in the Himalayas as "the sports car of the rotor world." The landing feat may be celebrated as a technical achievement. It also signals another likely diminishment of the ultimate wild spot of the world.