The world record for the highest helicopter altitude is 40,820 feet. This record was set on June 21, 1972 by French pilot Jean Boulet, who flew an Aérospatiale SA 315 Lama without a payload. He achieved this feat while flying over the Aérodrome d'Istres in France.
This record represents the absolute altitude limit of helicopters. Flight above 40,000 feet is impossible for helicopters, as the air density is too low to support the downward force of the rotor blades. The level-flight world record is approximately 4,000 feet lower than the absolute height record, as level flight for a helicopter requires greater air density.