Leonardo, March 31, 2017 - The day began on a very positive note with a very conducive weather for flying. Taking advantage of the good weather after 2 days of dense clouds, which kept the helicopter and the Leonardo team in Lukla airport. The crew were all set for a great day of flying by 0630.
By the mid afternoon the crew successfully accomplished 33 landings which included 2 passenger flights, 1 rescue flight and 3 hours of experimental flights with the support of a chase helicopter which included many a milestones.
The AW119Kx easily landed at the highest scientific laboratory in the world, the Italian Reasearch Pyramid - CNR located at 16,570 ft.
Shortly thereafter, the AW119Kx stunned everyone with its outstanding performance when it successfully landed and took off with 2 passengers at the Everest Base Camp, at an altitude of 17,000 ft in ISA+22 conditions (3°C).
The pilots commented that they had complete tail rotor control even with 20 kts wind and that the reserve power availability at this juncture could have easily enabled them to accommodate an additional passenger. To check the reliability factor of the AW119Kx, the crew repeated the same mission with overwhelmingly same result.
The mission to Everest Base camp also included an additional milestone wherein a complete engine switch off and restart was demonstrated by the AW119Kx at Periche (14,500 ft), twice!
After the successful landing and take off at the Everest Base Camp, the crew decided to further evalute the performance capabilities of the AW119Kx. The helicopter zipped through the blue skies at a speed of 120 kts around Mount Ama Dablam and Mount Makalu and comfortably flew above Mount Baruntse crossing an altitude of 23,500 ft.
Immediately following the experimental flights the AW119Kx was pressed into action to carry out yet another rescue mission from Namche to Kathmandu. The day ended at 18:30 after another swift cargo sortie from Kathmandu to Lukla to refill the fuel reserve at Lukla.