Group plans unmanned Everest rescue helicopter

The non-profit Rescue on Everest Trust has set out to make Mt. Everest a relatively safer place, recently announcing the Rescue on Everest Challenge with the intention of putting an unmanned rescue helicopter on duty to pull stranded mountain climbers to safety. While it's still a ways off from taking flight, the project does seem to have the backing needed to make it happen, with New Zealand-based TGR Helicorp developing and donating the vehicle to the cause. Once completed, the helicopter, dubbed the Alpine Wasp, will be able to be remotely-controlled at altitudes up to 30,000 feet, and be able to lower a lifeline that climbers can latch onto, taking them for a ride only slightly more terrifying than climbing Mt. Everest in the first place. While the few glimpses of the aircraft's progress in the video after the break would seem to suggest that there's still quite a bit of work to be done, TGR Helicorp insists that it'll undergo testing in New Zealand this year, with it being handed over to the Everest team soon thereafter. No word if they'll be offering rides during the off-season.

[Via Robot Gossip]