Pilot nails daring landing on Dubai's Burj Al-Arab
STORY: Air Racing champion Luke Czepiela became the first person to land a winged aircraft on Dubai's iconic Burj Al-Arab helipad on Tuesday (March 14).
The 39-year-old Polish pilot succeeded in landing his small aircraft without visual cues to guide him on his third attempt at 6:58 am local time with only 20.76 metres of a 'runway' to stop his STOL plane.
The helipad near the top of the 56-storey building stands 212 metres in the air and has in the past been the site of thrilling action movies as well as exhibition performances involving tennis, golf and Formula One.
Czepiela had made 650 test landings in Poland, the United States and Dubai as part of lengthy preparations for the stunt beginning in 2021.
"We managed to put a plane on a helipad 200m above the ground on the most iconic, the most beautiful building in the world, which is absolutely fantastic, you know, so yeah, I couldn’t be happier, we started to make history here," Czepiela said.
American Mike Patey, a prominent American aviation engineer, helped guide Czepiela onto the helipad before going over to be the first to congratulate the pilot - barely hiding his elation.
Patey had made some modifications to the plane with its weight distribution and overall weight to help optimise the plane for the task at hand.
Czepiela then ended the show spinning his plane to perform doughnuts on the helipad before diving off the helipad edge before rising sharply to fly away over Dubai.