A pilot landed a Red Bull plane on a 27-meter-wide helipad atop Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Jumeirah luxury hotel in a death-defying stunt.
Video footage of the pilot Luke Czepiela completing the incredible task was captured by Red Bull, a company known for its white-knuckle projects.
The helipad, roughly the size of a tennis court, is located 212 meters above ground level on the side of the hotel, making the stunt even more complicated.
Czepiela, a Polish acrobatic pilot, pulled off the stunt on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at dawn using a modified 7-meter Carbon Cub aircraft.
Red Bull confirmed the aviation feat had been more than two years in the making following successful landings on larger targets.
“The idea came to us right after the pier landing in Sopot. It was the next step in testing what could be done with an airplane,” the thrill-seeker Czepiela said. “When I came up with the idea to land a plane on a helipad, I instantly thought of Burj Al Arab. Moreover, I knew that Dubai is open for such innovative ideas.”
At 39 years old, and best known as the first Polish pilot to compete at Red Bull Air Race and winning the world championship in the Challenger class, as well as maneuvering under three iconic bridges in Warsaw, Czepiela knew he was the man for the job.
Working with American company CubCrafter and plane builder Mike Patey, Red Bull set about modifying a short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft.
On the day of the attempted landing the conditions needed to be perfect, and the chief concern was turbulence.
“We needed specific wind direction and precise speed,”Czepiela explained. “With too little wind and I wouldn’t be able to stop, too much of it would generate turbulence so intense that it would be tossing the plane, making me hit the building. Therefore, it was essential that we waited for the right conditions.”
Thankfully the stunt went according to plan and Cziepela was able to use nitrous to accelerate off the helipad and regain flight.