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Fri, Feb 07, 2014

Klaus Ohlmann Pilots First Glider Flight Over Everest

Scientific Expedition Monitors Glaciers And Pollution In The Himalaya

For the first time, a glider soared over Mount Everest on February 1. Piloted by Klaus Ohlmann, the flight set a new landmark for aviation history. It comes just short of 50 years of the first ascent of Everest in 1954 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzin Norgay.

Ohlmann took off from Pokhara, Western Nepal, in a Stemme S10 VT Motorglider for a study on meteorological turbulence as part of a scientific environmental research program on pollution and glacier monitoring conducted along with German Aerospace and ICIMOD – The International Center for Integrated Mountain Development.

Ohlmann turned off the engine near Lukla at an altitude of around 6000 meters above sea level and surfed along the lower parts of the Everest ridge in weak thermals. Climbing slowly to around 7500 meters (approx. 24,000 feet), Ohlmann found more lift, and a sudden turbulence over the Khumbu Icefalls took him into the laminar flow of a wave of air mass flowing in a light storm of 100 km (62 mph) winds over the crest of Everest.

“I’m delighted to be the first glider pilot to have soared over the mighty Everest,” said Ohlmann, the holder of 52 world gliding records. “The view from the top of the world was stunning and breath-taking. But more than that, we have begun an era of scientific exploration to study the climatic conditions that affect the Himalayas and other mountainous regions of the world – and to see how this affects the health of our planet.”

Tributes have been flowing in from around the world to congratulate Klaus Ohlmann, one of the most famous glider pilots in the world, who is also renowned as a meteorologist specializing in the knowledge of wind currents and as an ambassador for renewable energy.

Ohlmann thanked his team as well as the scientific community from Aachen University and technicians from the manufacturers of the Stemme aircraft. He had a special word of praise for Mr Rajendra Bajgain Raj, Director of Gurkha Encounters, who helped facilitate authorization for the flights.

(Images from YouTube video)

FMI: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATnNWnlLuT8


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