February 7, 2007 One of the many problems of climbing a mountain as tall as Mount Everest, is that once you’re up there, there’s not much help available if things go wrong. Most helicopters are not designed to operate above a ceiling of about 14,000ft (4,300m), yet Base Camp on Everest is at nearly 18,000ft (5364m) and the summit is another 11,500ft (3,486m) above that. Now UAV specialist TGR Helicorp, creators of the Snark, has developed an unpiloted full-size alpine rescue helicopter; the Alpine Wasp, which will be able to operate safely and autonomously at altitudes up to and beyond 30,000ft (over 9000m). The company will be donating the Alpine Wasp to the Everest Rescue Trust after it has undergone testing and systems evaluation in the harsh mountain environment of the Mt Cook region of New Zealand during 2007. It will be capable of airlifting up to two sick or injured climbers at a time from extreme altitude, using ultra-modern composite technologies, a revolutionary diesel helicopter engine and rotor blades designed especially for maximum performance in thin air. The Everest Trust is to use the Alpine Wasp as its key technology in building and operating a self-funding unmanned rescue helicopter service for the extreme altitude regions of Nepal. This humanitarian project aims to save lives on Everest and improve the safety and emergency services in Nepal, while directly benefiting the Nepalese people.
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