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Interview with Yury Lipatnikov, Managing director of NARP

11.12.2013 / Chestnoye Slovo / Vitaly Solovyov

Yury Lipatnikov, Managing Director of Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant, talks to the Chestnoye Slovo newspaper about the plant’s performance in 2013.

Yury Lipatnikov: “We service Russian helicopters to the very highest level.”

In early December, one of Russia’s leading aircraft repair firms, Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant, a Russian Helicopters company, celebrated the 72nd anniversary of its foundation. CEO Yury Lipatnikov talked to us about its current work and future plans.

Yury, tell us a little about the business.

The Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant is the only facility in the world that provides technical servicing and overhaul work for all types and modifications of Mil helicopters: the Mi-8/17Mi-24/35, heavy helicopters Mi-26T, their systems and accessories. We have specialised in technical repair work to helicopters since 1965 and over time have become the leading company in this sector. Over the years we have repaired over 6,500 helicopters.

How do you upgrade helicopters?

As a rule, upgrades take place during repair work in accordance with design documentation fr om Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, which is also a Russian Helicopters company. This is primarily related to the need to ensure that we meet current standards. After all, for example, a Mi-8/17 type helicopter can be used for 40 years, and over that time new technology and new developments will appear. Of course, some systems will need to be upgraded. After the upgrade work, which takes place at our plant, the helicopter boasts qualities that expand its abilities. For example, if the customer likes, the base version can be equipped with quick release firefighting, search and rescue, or medical equipment, additional fuel tanks, expanded flight range and other systems. The helicopter can be re-equipped to become a patrol or VIP class machine.

Comprehensive post-sales servicing like that on helicopters surely requires high-quality equipment and personnel…

That’s why Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant set up an organisation comprising service centres for technical servicing and repair work. As part of this work we built up the necessary ground service facilities, and set up a certified Aviation Training Centre that re-trains and up-skills specialists to carry out out technical servicing and repair work to helicopters.

Our specialists are involved in work to build and equip these service centres in neighbouring countries and further afield.

What particularly important achievements will go down in the company’s history for the past year?

As soon as the company joined Russian Helicopters, it started to implement vital changes. It became the key enterprise implementing post-sale services for helicopters, including to equip service centres with modern technology, equipment and also retraining staff.

Of course, one of the most interesting events for the plant in 2013 was the one-off chance to repair two Mi-26T helicopters that belonged to Kazakhstan’s Emergencies Ministry. This was the first time we had repaired and upgraded helicopters that had not been used for 20 years. It was also difficult to transport them 2,000 kilometres.

The helicopters were transported from Kazakhstan to Novosibirsk by helicopter – carried by another Mi-26T in an external sling. This project turned out to be unprecedentedly complex, but we dealt with it and proved that we can provide high-quality servicing to the very highest standards. The experience itself was hugely valuable for the company. In October, after a full range of repair and upgrade work was carried out on the first Mi-26T, it flew back from Novosibirsk to Astana, wh ere it was received by experts with Kazaviaspas – the dedicated aviation-rescue section of Kazakhstan’s Emergencies Ministry.

We will be sending the second Mi-26T helicopter back to Kazakhstan after comprehensive repair work, and it will go on to ensure security for work related to the exploration of the shelf in the Atyrau region.

Other highlights of 2013 included signing a raft of promising contracts on helicopter repairs and setting up post-sales service centres for Russian-made Mil helicopters supplied abroad.

The personnel issue is key at any industrial enterprise. How is the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant dealing with it?

We pay a great deal of attention to human resources. We train qualified specialists in our own Aviation Training Centre. Thanks to the use of automated training systems our employees are able to get to grips with all the different types and nuances involved in helicopter repair work.

Students enjoy hands-on experience at production workshops, under the supervision of experienced employees. A trainee contract is concluded with each student for the duration of the training, and they are paid an allowance and an incentive bonus on successful completion of the course. After completing the course, the specialists work independently and pass qualifying exams. If they pass, they get their qualifications and are allowed to start work. The programme has been efficient and a great success. Today there are 720 people at the plant who can look confidently into the future thanks to the stability of this line of work and a whole system of workplace benefits.

How do you view your company’s future development?

We have some daunting tasks ahead of us: increasing the plant’s capacity, honing approaches and the technology used in post-sales helicopter servicing, expanding the range of upgrade work, and opening new service centres in various countries around the world – in markets that have traditionally been strategically important for Russian Helicopters, and in new ones. The main thing is – not to stop at what we’ve achieved so far.

Thank you for your time. We’ll follow future developments at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant with interest. 

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