After a brief setback flying in Australia, Slovene pilot/photographer/author/biologist Matevz Lenarcic who is flying around the world in his modified Pipistrel Virus SW 914 Turbo is back in the air and recently flew above the Himalayas for a bird’s eye view of Mt. Everest. According to AVweb, Lenarcic flew 29,344 feet or 8,944 meters above the Himalayas and roughly 300 feet above but not directly over Mt. Everest.
Apparently, flying directly above or near Mt. Everest is difficult due to the need to obtain Nepali government permits to do so. Lenarcic got the permits but they were cancelled right before his flight. Nevertheless, he did the flight anyway but the news was only released when he was safely in India to avoid any trouble with Nepali bureaucrats.
Lenarcic’s flight “above” Mt. Everest took him east of the peak on the Nepali side . However and as you can imagine, flying anywhere in the Mt. Everest region is a challenge. Just a few days before the flight, he reported that "visibility was again very poor, mountains were hiding in the clouds, heavy traffic in the air and bad communication was present." Moreover, he wrote:
Flight into Everest region is still a bit uncertain due to restrictions and still high winds or bad weather. If it is clear they are high winds and severe turbulence which can easily destroy aircraft, in more calm days the clouds with snow could come over the Himalaya.
Nevertheless, the flight ultimately went smoothly with beautiful weather and only minus 27 degrees Celsius temperatures with north westerly winds of 40 knots along with occasional turbulence.
To follow Matevz Lenarcic’s around the world flight, check out his GreenLight World Flight website for the latest updates and plenty of great pictures.