Pilot makes heart-stopping plane landing on Dubai's Burj Al Arab helipad

Luke Czepiela called the feat 'the biggest dream in my career come true'

Polish pilot Luke Czepiela has performed a 'world-first' stunt with his landing on Burj Al Arab's helipad. Photo: Dubai Media Office
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Polish pilot and aerobat Luke Czepiela has performed a "world-first" stunt, landing his plane on the 27-metre-wide helipad of Dubai's Burj Al Arab hotel.

Czepiela, who had been preparing for two years, performed the heart-stopping stunt by flying an aircraft that had been modified for the stunt.

In a video shared on Instagram on Tuesday, Czepiela's plane can be seen approaching the helipad, 212 metres high — the 56th floor of Burj Al Arab.

"Yeah baby, give it to me," he is heard saying before performing the landing, almost sliding off the helipad before breaking to a full stop.

"We made it! Watch first-ever plane landing on helipad of iconic Burj Al Arab," Czepiela later said.

Red Bull Motorsports, which also posted the video, called it a "world first".

Dubai Media Office also published pictures of the flight and landing, and said Czepiela "completed over 650 practice landings before the attempt".

However, the landing on Burj Al Arab's helipad was the first time he performed the stunt in real life.

"Landing at the height of 200 metres, 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," Czepiela, 39, said in an article on Red Bull's website.

Czepiela is a former Red Bull Air Race Challenger Class World Champion and an Airbus A320 captain.

The plane he flew was made by the American manufacturer CubCrafters, known for its light aircraft. It weighs 425kg, is 7.1 metres long, 2.54 metres in height and has a wingspan of 10.44 metres.

“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 organisations who helped me achieve my dream. It is an honour to become a part of the Burj Al Arab’s impressive history."

Burj Al Arab's helipad has hosted a number of jaw-dropping stunts.

In 2005, tennis stars Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played a match on a makeshift court on the helipad. The event was organised to promote the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open.

In 2013, former Formula One driver David Coulthard drove his Red Bull Racing car on to the helipad and performed doughnuts to celebrate his team winning the Formula One Drivers’ and Constructors’ championship at the Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix.

In 2019, professional BMX rider Kriss Kyle rode his bike off the edge of a helicopter and landed on the helipad.

Updated: March 15, 2023, 9:22 AM