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Universiade – as seen from the sky

06.07.2013 / Kommersant-Kazan

During major sports events such as the Universiade, everybody is riveted to what is going on in the stadium and also the added attractions of city landscapes. However, they only need to look up in the sky to see legendary helicopters providing security for the Games fr om the air. These helicopters were made in Kazan, and are flown by pilots all over the world.

Incidentally, it is a little-known but interesting fact that the helicopters built at Kazan Helicopters were instrumental in helping the capital of Tatarstan win the right to host the Universiade. The helicopters were involved in preparations for the city’s application. Shots of Kazan taken from an Mi-8MTV-1 helicopter were used in the general presentation and also for books and films on the city.

Maxim Matrosov, photographer and designer from the agency that prepared the presentation, recalls: “The first shots of Kazan were taken from a Mi-8MTV cargo helicopter fitted with additional fuel tanks. As a result we could fly for a number of hours over the city as we looked for the best angle and shot. The results from the first two flight days – both photographs and videos – were then used in various products. The materials were also included in the film and in the application file, and also externally, on exhibition stands and so on. During 2006-2011 different helicopters were also used in several flights. However, I remember most the first two days of filming – both due to the busy shooting programme, the eventful weather, the long time spent in the air, and also thanks to the opportunity to open the hatches of the Mi-8 and film without any interference or partitions… When you are struck in the face by the wind at a frightening rate, while the beautiful view simply takes your breath away – these are unforgettable sensations….”

The contribution made by the helicopters from Kazan Helicopters for the Universiade did not end with the application. Mi-8MTVs and Ansats will provide security for the sports event.

For example, two Mi-8MTV helicopters manufactured by Kazan Helicopters currently belong to the aviation branch of the Emergencies Ministry. The two helicopters will be responsible for comprehensive security for the Universiade. One helicopter, equipped with two specialized medical modules, can transport four injured people and two doctors to the Republican Clinical Hospital. It will patrol the Universiade’s facilities, ready to promptly offer assistance. The second helicopter, fitted with 3-ton capacity Bambi buckets, will patrol sports sites along the Kazanka River. The helicopter is also fitted with an HAP-300 winch, and can fly both fire-fighting operations and rescue missions.

Members of the Emergencies Ministry aircrew say that Kazan Helicopters equipment is safe and reliable. In particular, the helicopter was highly praised for successfully handling the fire at the Novaya Tura techno-park. The helicopters and members of the Emergencies Ministry aircrew have significant experience of maintaining order at large-scale events, such as football matches, wh ere Rubin plays, basketball games, and jamborees during the Karavon and Sabantui festivals.

Meanwhile, Ansat helicopters are operated by other services providing security for the Universiade. For example, the Federal Security Service has at its disposal two Ansat helicopters, while Tatarstan Interior Ministry's Special Airborne Brigade operates an Ansat transport and passenger helicopter.

What is the background to the Universiade’s helicopters?

The history of the Мi-8/17 helicopter goes back half a century. The designer Mikhail Mil started developing the Mi-8 – the new light and medium range helicopters that were to replace the first generation Mi-1 and Mi-4 helicopters. Manufacturing of the new helicopter started in Kazan in 1965. By that time Kazan Helicopters already had experience of serial production of the Mi-1 and Mi-4, a smoothly running production and technology base, professional staff and experience of introducing new helicopters. The first Mi-8 manufactured by Kazan Helicopters also performed its maiden flight in 1965. The Mi-8/17 stands out in terms of reliability and ease of maintenance. The helicopter can operate in any climatic conditions. A large cargo cabin, convenient cargo handling, ease of maintenance and universality render it irreplaceable. Thanks to a high level of safety, vast design potential, broad range of modifications and additional equipment, the helicopter can meet the highest operational requirements. Incidentally, the Mi-8/17 helicopter holds the world record in terms of the number of modifications, with more than 70 to date.

The Ansat appeared far later. The helicopter was developed in-house by the design bureau of Kazan Helicopters. The first Ansat prototype flew in 1997. The designers developed one option offering a unique electronic remote flight control system, but were ahead of their time. In those days no helicopters boasting such a system had been certified anywhere in the world. Consequently the designers created an Ansat helicopter based on the traditional mechanical-hydraulic control system. This helicopter made its first demonstration flights a year ago.

IN FIGURES

Kazan Helicopters delivers helicopters to 90 countries, with exports accounting for 70% of all the products manufactured by the plant. In accordance with the strategy of Russian Helicopters, Kazan Helicopters is targeting global sales markets. 

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