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Polish pilot Lukasz Czepiela made aviation history on Tuesday, becoming the first person to land a plane on the helipad of the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel in Dubai.
Czepiela was able to bring his specially adapted light aircraft to a stop in just 21 meters (68 feet), landing on a platform only 27 meters (89 feet) wide, 212 meters (696 feet) above the ground on top of the 56-story building.
“The biggest challenge was the lack of any external points of reference, which is usually found at an airport where you have hundreds of meters of runway,” he told sponsors Red Bull.
The stunt had been in the planning since 2021 and required 650 test landings, according to Red Bull.
Czepiela’s day job is captaining an Airbus A320, but he has some impressive flying achievements under his belt, including winning the 2018 world championship challenger class title in the Red Bull Air Race, and landing an aircraft on a wooden pier in Sopot, Poland.
Czepiela joins an elite group of sporting legends who have graced the helipad of the sail-shaped hotel, including tennis champions Roger Federer and Andre Agassi, who played a match there in 2005, and former F1 Grand Prix winner David Coulthard, who performed donuts there in 2013.