Indian Pilots Honored For High-Altitude Rescue

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Two Indian air force helicopter pilots visited the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., last week to accept an award for a record-setting high-altitude rescue flight in the Himalayas last May. The two pilots landed their Cheetah helicopter at 23,240 feet on a glacier to rescue three critically hurt mountaineers. Wing Commander S.K. Sharma and co-pilot Flight Lieutenant A.P. Dhanake made the landing despite turbulent conditions and high winds. The helicopter's official service ceiling is about 17,700 feet. India is working on building a beefed-up helicopter that could fly rescue missions above 25,000 feet. The award was given by Aviation Week & Space Technology.