Red Bull is attempting to land a plane on the world’s only 7-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab.
The only problem is that it doesn’t have a landing strip.
Instead, they have to try to land on the hotel’s 27-meter-long (88 feet) helipad, almost 215 meters (700 feet) in the air.
For reference, a standard runway is 2,500 meters long, the smallest commercial airport in the world is 400 meters and even an aircraft carrier has 250 meters for the pilot to work with.
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If the plane misses its target, it could end up nose-diving into the water below, or crashing into the building underneath.
There’s no backup plan if things go wrong, no parachutes, no ejection seats, and no emergency cushions on the ground.
Red Bull invited the Supercar Blondie team to be a part of the stunt from beginning to end, including the preparation, testing, and the day of the stunt.
Now we can show you how much time and effort went into it, as well as what went wrong.
The plane will take off from Skydive Dubai, then fly for six minutes towards the Burj Al Arab before it slowly descends in preparation for landing on the helipad.
Because the helipad is just 27 meters long (88 feet), the pilot has to be extremely skilled to come to a full stop in time.
The man of the moment is Lukas Czepiela, and he’s a professional stunt pilot from Poland.
Red Bull plane modifications
In order to pull the stunt off, the plane had to be heavily modified.
Czepiela told supercarblondie.com the shocks were specially built to take a lot more abuse than normal ones, and the propeller was made to be bigger and wider so it could take a bigger bite of the air.
In order to pull the bigger propeller, they had to make changes to the engine too.
They actually gave the aircraft a nitrous oxide engine, which increases the engine’s power output by allowing fuel to be burned at a higher rate.
Usually, on a plane like this, you would have two big fuel tanks in the wings, but the team also moved the fuel tank to the back so it would press the tale down as it came in to land.
With no margin of error, the team spent a crazy amount of time preparing for the stunt.
They chose the plane, a Carbon Cub SS, modified it, and then got to testing.
Since then, the team has made more than 400 test flights and landings.
At first, they constantly overshot the landing and had a failure rate of about 40 percent.
After two years and 400 test flights, the rate of failure was brought down to just two percent.
But all the tests were done on solid ground, not on a breezy high-altitude platform.
Day of the stunt
After two long years of preparation, it’s finally go time.
Lukas Czepiela is strapped in, and his team is on the helipad waiting anxiously for his arrival.
Footage shows him coming in and slowly approaching the helipad.
One wheel touches the pad on an angle before he pulls the plane back up again.
Attempt one is a failure.
Czepiela’s second attempt sees him coming in for the landing, only to realize he’s way too high above the helipad to hit his target.
Attempt two is also a failure.
Czepiela comes in to land for the third time, cautiously approaching the helipad.
The footage shows his wheels hit the very edge of the pad, before coming to a full stop smack bang on his target.
He even has a couple of meters to spare.
Lukas’ team erupts in screams, and Czepiela can be heard saying “bullseye, we made history man, we made history” from the cockpit.
After a few victory laps, Czepiela says “I couldn’t be happier”.
“Once I closed the flaps and felt good grip under the tires, I stopped the aircraft like four meters from the edge,” he said.
“Two years in the making and three attempts, and we’ve managed to put the plane on the helipad 200 meters above the ground on the most iconic, most beautiful building in the world.”