In Part 1 of my trek to Everest Base Camp, I had a section on the smells and sounds of Kathmandu. Enter the Himalayas and these sounds are gone, replaced with the roaring sound of the Dudh Kosi or Milk River, yak bells and literally the sound of air being beaten into submission by the many helicopters which fly overhead…
On the second day of my trek, a massive avalanche occurred on the Khumbu Icefall, resulting in the death of 16 Sherpa’s. The ensuing search and rescue mission meant that every 10-20 minutes, a helicopter would fly past, either to or from Base Camp. Now I’m not sure how regular the air traffic is in normal operating conditions, but the high flight activity did allow for some cool shots of the helicopters flying through the mountains.
Many of the photos are of the same helicopter, making multiple journeys throughout the day. The following helicopters were spotted throughout the trek:
- Eurocopter AS 350B2 operated by Fishtail Air (9N-AKA)
- Eurocopter AS 350B3 operated by Simrik Air (9N-AJZ)
- Eurocopter AS 350B3e operated by Shree Airlines (9N-AKG, 9N-AKP)
- Eurocopter AS 350B3e operated by Mountain Helicopters (Nepal) (9N-AKB)
The Eurocopter AS 350B3 helicopters have a reputation of being the best performing single engine helicopter in it’s class, being used around the world by search and rescue crews. In 2005, Eurocopter Test Pilot Didier Delsalle actually landed one on the summit of Everest, making the AS 350B3 the first helicopter to ever do so!