October 29, 2009: Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure is pleased to announce the successful completion of the Everest Skydive 2009 program.
On October 28, 2009 a skydiving event was held at Gorak Shep. During the event, world skydiving champion Wendy Smith from New Zealand, Global Angels ambassador and tandem master Tom Noonan and Wing Commander Jai Kishan from the Indian Air Force, made a successful landing at the Gorak Shep, Kala Patthar plateau, lying at an altitude of 17,192 feet (5,242m), right beside Mt. Everest. This is believed to be the highest skydiving stunt performed over highest drop zone in the world.
The operation was carried out from Fishtail Air’s AS 350 B3 helicopter flown by Capt. Sabin Basnet and Capt. Deepak Rana. The dives were performed in the morning of 28th Oct, 2009 between 7:30 to 9 AM. The helicopter took off with the skydiving team from Shyangboche airport and flew to a height of 23,000 feet before dropping from 21,000 feet at right air layer.
Prior to this event, seven skydivers from the Explore Himalaya skydiving team had performed solo and tandem jumps at Shyangboche (12,350 feet) on 16th and 17th October, 2009.
On 16th October, Five members skydived from a height of 25,000 feet .Tom Noonan (USA), Ian Bishop (Australia) and Jai Kishan (India), made solo jumps at 10:30 AM (local time). In the second group, , Wendy Smith (New Zealand) jumped solo, while Ganesh Pandey (Nepal) made a tandem jump with tandem master Tom Noonan (USA) at 12:30 PM (local time).
On the second day, ie 17th October, Wendy Smith (New Zealand), Jai Kishan (India) and Mery Noonan (USA) made solo jumps from a height of 27,500ft at 8:30 AM (local time). While Everest summitter, Pujan Acharya (Nepal) made a tandem jump from a height of 29,300 feet, with tandem master Tom Noonan (USA) at 10:30 AM (local time).
The jumps over Shyangboche were made from Tara Air’s Pilatus Porter aircraft, flown by Capt Jack Sparrow (UK) and Praful Baidya (Nepal). Capt Jack Sparrow, an experienced pilot, has performed more than 4,000 lifts (flights for skydiving) for skydivers in Europe and is preparing to launch a skydiving club in Thailand, which will be the first in Asia.
As a continuation of the Everest Skydive 2008, the Everest Skydive 2009 program was organized by Explore Himalaya with the help of Nepal Tourism board to promote Nepal Tourism Year 2011.During the event, all the skydivers sported the logo of Nepal Tourism Year 2011 on their jumpsuits. The visuals of the skydiving event will be distributed worldwide.
After the success of Everest Skydive 2009, Explore Himalaya is planning to establish Skydiving as a prominent tourism product of Nepal. More events shall be launched to mark the Nepal Tourism Year 2011.Very soon, skydiving tests and commercial operations will be performed in Pokhara. With due support from all concerned, we are planning to organize a team of Nepalese Civilian Skydivers for aerial events to be held in 2011’s Nepal Tourism Year.
Finally, we would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Ministries of Home, Defence, Forest, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Tara Air family , Fishtail Air family, Sagarmatha National Park, members of the Skydiving ground team from Explore Himalaya and all concerned who have contributed in making the Everest Skydive 2009 a grand success. I would also like to thank the companies Javelin Suntath , Aerodyne, and Performance Design from the US and Vigil from Belgium for providing parachutes and equipments. Summit Oxygen from United Kingdom for supplying the oxygen system and Capt Jack Sparrow who flew all the way from UK to perform the skydiving flights.
This morning five members from the Explore Himalaya skydive team made four solos and one tandem jump from a height of 25,000 feet at Shyangboche in the Everest region.
In the first batch Tom Noonan (USA), Ian Bishop (Australia) and Jay Kishan (India) made solo jumps at 10:30 AM (local time). In the second batch, world record holder and chief co-ordinator of the team, Wendy Smith (New Zealand) made a solo jump, while Ganesh Pandey (Nepal ) made a tandem jump with tandem master Tom Noonan (USA) at 12:30 PM (local time).
The jumps were made from Tara Air’s Pilatus Porter aircraft, piloted by Jack Sparrow (UK) and Praful Baidya (Nepal). Jack Sparrow has performed more then 4,000 lifts (flights for skydiving) in Europe. He is preparing to launch the first skydiving club in Asia, ThaiSky Adventures.
Explore Himalaya is the first agency in Nepal to commercially organize the Everest Skydive . In 2008 Explore Himalaya organized the first ever Everest Skydiving event in partnership with a UK based adventure company High & Wild.
This article was published in the July 2009 issue of TravelTimes magazine. The author is Wendy Smith, Chief Coordinator of Everest Skydive 2009.
Download the full article in PDF format here.