Landing a plane is no walk in the park, it presents unique challenges that individuals must train rigorously for, but what if you wanted to land a plane on the world's shortest runway that's stationed atop one of the world's tallest buildings?
That is what pilot Luke Czepiela attempted this week as part of a stunt under the banner of Red Bull, which set up a small helipad on top of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, a luxury hotel in Dubai. The above video showcases the small diameter of the landing runway, which only stretched 88 feet from one side to the other. Notably, the helipad was 695 feet above the ground, making Czepiela's room for error even smaller.
According to the pilot, the stunt was practiced approximately 650 times on a normal runway that had a circle painted on the tarmac with the same dimensions as the helipad. It wasn't just practice that needed to be done before the flight, as Czepiela's team was required to modify the plane in order for it to stop within 88 feet of the runway. Engineers removed any unnecessary weight from the planet, which introduced its own problems with wind speed and "precise speed".
Czepiela explains that for the stunt to work, he needed to have a specific wind direction and a precise speed. If he had too little wind, he wouldn't be able to stop on the runway and would fall off the edge, but too much wind would generate turbulence that the light plane would be tossed around, potentially causing Czepiela to crash into the building. According to Czepiela, he waited for the right moment to attempt the landing, which he says rings true for the general rule of thumb for most "flying" - "90 percent waiting and 10 percent hurrying, and this project wasn't any different."
The Red Bull pilot stuck the landing, only needing 68 feet of runway to do so. However, that's when a new set of problems presented themselves. Getting off the helipad. The modified aircraft was equipped with nitrous oxide that gave the plane a boost to get off the runway. According to Czepiela, it was the first time this technique was applied for a helipad take off, and it worked like a charm. The plane easily reached the appropriate speed for flight, and according to Czepiela, he couldn't resist "the pleasure of diving down along the wall of this spectacular landmark."
In other news, a scientist has captured video footage of a meteorite colliding with the surface of the moon. If you are interested in checking out that video or would like to read more about this story, visit the link below.