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Annapurna High 2000
Czech Ultralight Expedition

ultralight flight over the 8,091 meter high Annapurna peak


sumbul1d.gif (441 bytes)   October 21, 2000: The first female pilot over Annapurna / Expedition pilot reaches a height of 30,000 feet

After the successful flight over Annapurna I (8,091 meters) and several other flights over the Annapurna mountain range, the Annapurna High team flew to an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) over sea level. The flight was by pilot Zbyněk Adam on October 19. In addition, during the final days of the expedition, the first female pilot in history flew over the Ananpurna peak - expedition member Alexandra Tilingerová. Having accomplished all goals, the expedition then returned home.

For photos click here, high-resolution photos for print can be downloaded here: http://web.quick.cz/AnnapurnaHigh2000/download/fototisk3.zip

sumbul1d.gif (441 bytes)   October 6, 2000: Celebration of Bada Dashain.

This day marks the beginning of the ten-day holiday Bada Dashain, celebrated throughout the Nepal Kingdom. The holiday is roughly comperable to Christmas, and celebrates the victory of the god Devi Durga, the protector of the weak, over the forces of evil. The people of Nepal visit relatives and friends, and it is coustomary to make a sacrifice of a live animal to Devi Durga, for the good of the family and its belongings. In the major cities, the sacrifices are often made for good luck concerning public transportation, the reasoning being that giving blood to the machines will keep them from taking blood during the remainder of the year. Generally, poor families will sacrifice a chicken, while the better off sacrifice a goat.

A fantastic spectacle occoured at the Pokhara airport during the departure of a Royal Nepal Airlines flight to Jomoson. In a twenty minute ritual led by the local priest, a goat was sacrificed in front of a Twin Otter turboprop passenger plane. After beheading the goat with a swift machette stroke, the Priest siezed the goats legs and made his way around the perimeter of the plane, blood from the animal's neck leaving a trail on the ground. The remainder of the blood was then applied to the body of the airplane. The blessed plane then rolled to the runway for takeoff.

Not to be left out, members of the Annapurna High expedition had a small goat and well as two chickens sacrificed for the benefit of the ultralight and the essential motorized parachutes. The ceremony was accompanied by the flicker of candles and rythmic chanting ***. In preparation, the Priest drew a version of the astral map on the ground, while the unsuspecting goat enjoyed a breakfeast of mountain grass. After the vehicle and crew members were suitably blessed, further flights were conducted for the filming of the documentary film.

For photos click here high-resolution photos for print can be downloaded here: http://web.quick.cz/AnnapurnaHigh2000/download/fototisk2.zip

sumbul1d.gif (441 bytes)   The new world record was set by Czech Ultralight Expedition on Friday, September 29th, 2000 at 7:40 a.m. local time in the Himalayas, near Pokhara, Nepal. After 12 years of preparations and experiments, including an unsuccesfull attempt to fly over the highest peak on Earth - Mount Everest (8,848 meters) in 1993, pilot Jan Bém, leader of the Czech Ultralight Expedition, succeded in flying over the Annapurna I peak with the ultralight he modified himself, powered by a special turbocharged engine. The weather was good, there was a westerly wind 90 km per hour above the peak at 8,400 meters above sea level, temperature minus 35 degrees Celsius. The peak was reached 45 minutes after takeoff from Pokhara airport.

For photos click here, high-resolution pictures can be downloaded here: www.volny.cz/avioncz/download/fototisk.zip
A map of the route flown is also available: www.volny.cz/avioncz/download/mapa.gif

sumbul1d.gif (441 bytes)   September 25, 2000: Expedition's first flight
On this cool Monday, Jan Bém made the first flight on his Rotax-914 powered ultralight from the Pokhara airport in Nepal. The freshly assembled craft was transported to nepal by Aeroflot. The expedition hopes to fly over the peak of Annapurna I, 8,091 meters. Complicated preparations for the historical flight then continued.

Annah1.jpg (16499 bytes)   Jan Bém before the first takeoff

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Written by Patrik Sainer, translation by Alesh Houdek
Annapurna High 2000 Expedition, e-mail: annapurnahigh@hotmail.com
Web design: (c)2000 Avion, Patrik Sainer, webmaster: patrik@avion.vztlak.cz