Dubai can make many unbelievable things happen, from groundbreaking gravity-defying structures to unheard-of innovative megaprojects and even the deadliest stunts. Ace pilot Luke Czepiela became the first to land a plane on a helipad. The Polish pilot landed his plane on an 88 feet wide helipad of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel. After preparing for twenty-four months, with over 650 practice landings, the pilot fearlessly performed the heart-stopping stunt using an aircraft specially modified for the stunt.
#Dubai hosts another record-breaking stunt as Polish pilot Luke Czepiela (@lc_aerobatics) makes history with “Bullseye Landing” of a plane on the iconic Burj Al Arab helipad.@redbull @BurjAlArab pic.twitter.com/CpdAL2QLM8
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) March 14, 2023
Even for an expert like Czepiela, the action was two years in the making; after all, the plane had to land on the spot without a landing strip.
American manufacturer CubCrafters made the aircraft. The lightweight plane weighed only 425kg, with a length of 7.1 meters, and a wingspan of 10.44 meters. A viral video shared on Instagram showed Czepiela’s plane approaching the helipad on the 56th floor of the world’s only 7-star hotel.
“Yea, baby, give it to me,” he said before performing the landing. “Landing at the height of 200 meters, with no clear points of reference, is completely different from landing on the ground … I had to fully trust my own skills. On the helipad, there was no room for mistakes,” explained Czepiela, a former Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class World Champion and an Airbus A320 captain.
“My greatest passion is aerobatics. I have flown under bridges and landed on piers. But the Burj Al Arab landing was different. It was an 11 out of 10 in difficulty,” Czepiela said. “I am grateful to Dubai and to the people and organizations who helped me achieve my dream. It is an honor to become a part of the Burj Al Arab’s impressive history.”
Burj Al Arab’s helipad once hosted an iconic tennis match –
The iconic venue was further immortalized by sporting greats Roger Federer and Andre Agassi when the World No 1 player Federer and legendary Agassi played a friendly tennis match on the Burj Al Arab’s helipad. With the Dubai skyline in the backdrop, the helipad converted into a grass tennis court, with no fencing or safety boundaries in sight. Still, the brave sportspeople enjoyed a round of tennis 689 feet in the air as a marketing stunt for the Dubai Tennis Championships. If anything came close to this act, it was Emirates’s campaign where social media star Nicole Smith-Ludvik posed as a flight attendant on top of the Burj Khalifa for a stunning flypast of an Airbus A380.