The record for maximum altitude achieved by a helicopter is 40,820 feet. This record was set on June 21, 1972 by French aviator and test pilot Jean Boulet, who was piloting an Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama.
Widely known as one of the greatest pioneers of helicopter flight, Boulet trained as a military pilot in the United States and was one of the earliest foreigners to pilot a helicopter for the U.S. Air Force. Boulet holds other flight records as well. On Jan. 23, 1953, he became the first Frenchman to eject himself from a jet plane. Boulet died on Feb. 15, 2011, having amassed over 9,000 flight hours throughout his life.