A New Zealand trust has taken on the challenge of designing, building, and operating a self-funding rescue helicopter service for the extreme altitude regions of Nepal.
The humanitarian Rescue on Everest Challenge project aims to save lives on Everest and improve the safety and emergency services in Nepal, while directly benefitting the Nepalese people. While most helicopters are not designed to operate above a ceiling of about 14,000 ft (4,300 m), the Everest Base Camp is at nearly 18,000 ft (5364 m) and the summit is another 11,500 ft (3,486 m) above that.
The trust’s team includes Auckland-based TGR Helicorp, which has designed and developed a full-size unmanned aerial vehicle for alpine rescue. The Alpine Wasp is designed to operate safely and autonomously at altitudes up to and beyond 30,000 ft (9,000 m) and airlift two sick or injured climbers from these altitudes.