Expert Answers: How Safe is the Helicopter Tour to Everest?

  • Ram Khadka
  • Mar 4, 2024
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Getting to the Base Camp of the world's highest mountain is a dream for many mountain enthusiasts. The mesmerizing view of mountain peaks, glaciers, and moraines will amaze you like nothing else.

People, according to their preference, go on a trek or helicopter ride to capture this beauty.

Everest Base Camp Helicopter tour safety and security

As Everest is full of unpredictable weather, harsh terrain, and cold, trekking to Everest is challenging for the not-so-adventurous. So, most people choose a helicopter tour to Everest Base Camp to capture the alluring view. This does not need physical strength. On top of that, it saves time and money for an individual. The Everest helicopter trek also features a helicopter return from Gorakshep, but it includes trekking from Lukla.

After considering doing the tour, many people are concerned about its safety. And getting second thoughts before flying in a helicopter is quite acceptable. Thus, to appease your restless heart, and make you feel safe throughout your trip, I am here to clear your doubts. Here in this blog, I will elaborate on how safe the tour is and why it's best

Zero Fatality Recorded

According to the record, the helicopter tour was commercially started by tour operators two decades ago. Since its introduction no chartered and group-shared flights have reported any issues.

Flight statistics show that it's 100% safe to take a one-day tour to Everest, thanks to proficient pilots. They have several years of flying experience, which has resulted in the safest flights. Helicopter companies also house the latest choppers to provide the safest flight services.

Let's elaborate on these two in detail below.

Industry Leading Pilots

Everest helicopter tour safety

The backbone of Tour safety is the crew flying the helicopters. And Nepali pilots flying in the Everest region are flying beasts, gifted and seasoned. Every pilot who flies the chopper to Everest is high-altitude trained. They know every corner of Everest because of their continuous flying experience.

Every pilot has more than 3,500 flights in their pocket. Every chopper service provider in Nepal employs such pilots as they ensure a safe and stress-free flight experience.

Note that some pilots even have more than 5,000 hours of flying experience at this high altitude. Thus, you'll be in the safest hands throughout the four-hour helicopter flight.

Latest Helicopter Models

Latest model of helicopter

The helicopters that fly to Everest Base Camp and land at Kala Patthar are Airbus. Almost all helivac companies have three to four Airbus AS350 B3e, best suited for high altitude flying over 23000 feet.

The Airbus AS350 B3e model landed at the top of the world eight years ago at Everest Summit, at 8,848 meters. The same model of the helicopter comprises 80% of the fleet. Hence, you'll fly on super-performing Choppers.

Besides Airbus, four Robinson R66S have expansive cabins and super-powered Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft engines. These helicopters go through regular maintenance by technical engineers and staff. Also, all these choppers are brand new, five to six years old. These models offer you 100% safety, comfortable flight, and a sublime sightseeing experience.

Supplemental Oxygen

You already know there may be chances of the need for extra oxygen due to high altitude. Supplemental oxygen works best as the element of safety in this tour. As the helicopter flies past Pheriche, some might experience breathing issues. As the plane lands at Kala Patthar, you may get altitude sickness due to the pressure difference.

The chopper you will be traveling in will be fully equipped. If you have difficulty breathing, you'll get supplemental oxygen straight away.

Additionally, to reduce the risk of altitude sickness, travelers will have just 10-15 minutes of sightseeing stop at Kala Patthar. They will be inside the chopper when doing the sightseeing rather than stopping at places like Kala Patthar for a prolonged time.

Flights in Ideal Weather Conditions

Flight in ideal weather

Another vital role in this trip is played by the weather conditions. So, the flights only take off if the weather is good enough for a tour. Hence, most flights to Everest by helicopter occur between Spring and Autumn.

These two weather seasons in a year offer clear weather with stable temperatures. On top of that, these months are rain-free days in Nepal. Hence, you can rest assured knowing that helicopter trips to Everest have a 98% success rate.

Not only the views, but flight safety also improves on a clear weather day. The utmost visibility with no clouds on the flight path ensures safety. And if travelers book a flight around bad weather, it gets canceled and postponed. So, do keep in mind the best time while choosing this trip if you do not have much time.

Flight Regulations

Flight Regulation is also one part of a safe flight and trip.

 The flight regulation states that a helicopter can carry only 300 kg (2-3 passengers) past Pheriche to Kala Patthar. The aircraft can only take that weight as the air density becomes thinner at high altitudes.

Pheriche, at 4,371 meters altitude, is the second last stop for a chopper From here a helivac can only take three passengers in a single shuttle. This rule is always followed for the safety of passengers on the trip.

Final Thoughts

The Everest Helicopter Tour is one of the most convenient ways to capture the beauty of the Himalayas and remember it forever in your memories. Records show that tours to the Everest region are completely safe.

So, you can consider taking this trip during your stay in Nepal as it does not consume much of your time. Also, I can personally assure you that you will never regret this trip even if you are not a mountain enthusiast.

Ram Khadka
Ram Khadka

CEO and Managing Director at Sublime Trails Trekking, Ram has been leading adventure-hungry souls into the mountains of Nepal for over 15 years.