Year 2011 proved to be a bumper year for Nepalese tourism industry as tourist arrival figures reached a record high. By November 2011 Nepal had welcomed more than 5 lakh visitors – a record high. Tourism entrepreneurs hope that this positive trend will continue and 2012 will bring in more tourists. Taking into consideration the surge in tourist arrivals, Fishtail Air is all set to upgrade its existing fleet of aircrafts. A delegation from the company led by Chairman, Bikash Samsher JB Rana is on an European tour, visiting helicopter design & manufacturing units in Switzerland, Italy and France. As part of their mission, the team visited the factory of AugustaWestland (an Anglo-Italian helicopter design and manufacturing company) at Costa di Samarate, Italy on 13th of Dec. 2011. Mr. Umberto Fonteneila the company’s Vice President, Sales in his briefing to the Fishtail Air team recommended AW 119 Koala Helicopter for Nepal’s high altitude and mentioned that the company is reviewing it’s tradition chart on the altitude limits to enable Koala to fly in higher altitudes. The aircraft’s power, speed, space and passenger occupancy level could become extra benefits to consumers involved in different adventure activities at high altitude. Following the sales briefing, the company took the delegation from Fishtail Air (Bikash Samsher JB Rana, Chairman, Suman Pandey, CEO and Ashish Sherchan, Director Operation) for a test flight in Samedan , Switzerland. AugustaWestland has expressed a desire to work with Fishtail Air in conducting test flights of ‘Koala’ in the Nepal Himalaya in the near future.
Sales briefing in progress at AugustaWestland
Mr. Suman Pandey & Mr. Bikash Samsher JB Rana at Samedan, Switzerland
Heli- Trekking in Everest Region
Is it possible to trek to Everest region and return to Kathmandu in two days? It may seem unbelievable (what with AMS & other health concerns), but yes we have made it possible! How did we do it? Read our trip our report on the Everest Heli-Trek that we organized for Danish clients Mr. Ole Andersen & Ms. Line Gjessoe Andersen.
The father and daughter duo Mr. Ole Andersen & Ms. Line Gjessoe Andersen, after arriving in Kathmandu, were flown to Lukla on 14th May 2011. From Lukla they began their two-day trek to Shyangboche.
On the way to Shyangboche
Line with guide Maya Gurung
Trek to Shyangboche
After reaching Shyangboche, on 16th May they boarded Fishtail Air’s AS 350 B3 helicopter and flew over the snowy and towering Mount Everest and other mountains, and the mesmerizing Gokyo Lake, finally landing at Kalapatthar (5,545m) – one of the finest viewpoints to view Mount Everest up close and the site of the World’s Highest Cabinet Meeting (held on December 4, 2009).
Enjoying the mountain views from aboard the chopper
Himalayan Panorama – Everest Region
Breathe easy – Oxygen systems are always at hand to help you breathe easy at high altitude
At the Base of Mount Everest – Kalapatthar(5545m)
After exploring and capturing some fantastic shots in their cameras, the father and daughter duo were flown to Yeti Mountain Home in Kongde or Kongde Resort for breakfast.
Breakfast at the World’s Highest Luxury resort in Kongde (4250m)
Located at an elevation of 4250m, this is the highest luxury hotel in the world. From Kongde, the clients were flown to Kathmandu. According to Mr. Ole “it was a very good and memorable trip”.
(Photos: Explore Himalaya)
Helicopter Association International (HAI) has conferred Eurocopter Golden Hour Award to Late Capt. Sabin Basnyat of Fishtail Air. The award has been conferred for his role in operating the Highest Sling Rescue Operation on Mount Annapurna at a height of 6,900 meters. The daring rescue operation was jointly conducted by members Fishtail Air & Air Zermatt on 29th April 2010. Late Captain Basnyat’s wife Mrs. Poonam Basnyat has been invited to ‘Heli Expo 2011’ to receive the award. The event will be held in Orlando, Florida on March 7th 2011.
Reinhold Messner is a living legend of the mountaineering world. The Italian climber is renowned for being the first climber to summit all 14 eight thousanders. He has also to his credit the achievement of being the first solo climber to ascend Mount Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen.
Messner is currently in Nepal shooting a documentary for a German production house in the Everest region. The documentary is expected to promote Nepal Tourism Year 2011.
On 29th, 30th & 31st October, Reinhold Messner flew on Fishtail Air’s helicopter to capture footage of the mountains in the Everest Region. Captain Siddhartha Jung Gurung was in charge of the flight.
Simone Moro, a pilot and mountaineer, is new addition to Fishtail Air’s crew. We managed to ask Mr.Moro a couple of questions when he visited our office in Thamel on 28th October 2010.
Coming from Italy which lies close to the Mediterranean sea, he said his family members were into sailing as well as climbing. He chose the latter and he recollects that he did his first bit of serious climbing when he was 13. “It was just a small hill, a mound actually, but it felt good at that time!”. Since then Simeon has climbed many peaks in Asia, Europe and America. He has reached the summit of the world’s tallest mountain Mount Everest twice, the recent one in May this year, 2010. When asked about his experience, he said like a seasoned climber, “Nothing much happened. We climbed via the classic route. We went up stayed a bit at the Base Camp went up to the summit and climbed down. So nothing much happened”. The first peak he climbed in Nepal was Lhotse.
If mountaineering is his passion, flying is both his passion as well as profession. An experienced pilot, Simeon is the newest member of Fishtail Air’s distinguished flying crew. He has already been on a search & rescue mission with Fishtail Air’s pilot Captain Sabin Basnyat to Mt. Baruntse(7129m), to retrieve the body of 19 times Everest summiteer Chhewang Nima who lost his life in an avalanche at Baruntse on October 23rd, 2010. He said, “Unfortunately we could not find his body as there was too much snow”.
Talking about helicopter rescues in the mountains of Nepal, Simeon believes that, “Helicopter is the future of Nepal.” He adds,“ There are few places in Nepal like Kathmandu. Most of the country is covered by mountains. There are places which cannot be accessed by roads. Fishtail Air, I believe is the first company in Nepal to understand this and it has taken steps in the right direction. By partnering with Swiss and other European pilots who are experts in this field, they are taking helicopter operation in the Himalaya to a new level.”
He added, “For the development of the country, I think your government should introduce more helicopter flights in the remote areas. These could be used to carry essential commodities as well as passengers.”