First ever glider flight over Mount Everest

Pilot Klaus Ohlmann becomes the first person to glide over Everest by surfing its ‘waves’.
Klaus Ohlmann flying over Mount Everest
Klaus Ohlmann flying past Mount Everest © Klaus Ohlmann/Mountain Wave Project
By Andy Pag

Klaus Ohlmann is no stranger to daring aviation records – he has broken over 40, including the world's longest glider flight.

During a solo flight earlier this month, the German air maestro soared over the world's highest mountain.

Flying a Stemme S10 VT motorglider, which launches under engine power, Ohlmann made the successful flight as part of the Mountain Wave Project, a research expedition to measure air quality, local wind conditions and survey glaciers around Everest with unique 3D cameras.

The view from the top of the world was stunning.

Amazing view over the Tibetan plateau
Looking east across the Himalayas © Klaus Ohlmann/Mountain Wave Project

After reaching 6,000m, he switched off the motor over the Nepalese village of Lukla and then climbed using the so-called mountain waves, or undulating currents, which allow the glider to gain height.

Supplemental oxygen for the pilot as he flies over Mt Everest
The peak of Mt Everest is visible on the left © Klaus Ohlmann/Mountain Wave Project

“Between Pumori and the entrance of the Khumbu Glacier, there was smooth lift on the ridge,” he said. “It was unbelievable and wonderful to surf along the lowest part of the Everest ridge. From 7,500m the lift went better and I could reach the summit in the wave. The view from the top of the world was stunning.”

Mountain Wave Project pilot flies above the Alps
Archive shot: Flying above the Alps © Klaus Ohlmann/Mountain Wave Project

When he's not setting records, Ohlmann runs a flying school in France. For more info, check out his website.

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