Flight TV - Issue 12




Quarter finals and semi-finals of the 2nd stage of the 1st Helicopter Racing World Cup

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Hello! I’m Ignat Solovey and and you're watching Issue 12 of Flight TV, the only Russian TV program on general aviation. I’m the cameraman and your host here. Here we’ll tell you about Russian stage of the First Helicopter Race World Cup, or, specifically, the tasks of Racing Fender and Racing Slalom. This production is supported by International Academy of Helicopter Sports.



Helicopter Racing World Cup is the idea of Irina Grushina, the President of Russian Helisports Federation and deputy F.A.I. president in Rotorcraft Sports. This spring during the F.A.I. Rotorcraft commission meeting she proposed to hold a Helicopter Racing World Cup in addition to the World Championship, as to make helicopter sports more popular and spectacular. The cup winner is defined after all stages that are held in different countries.



Irina GRUSHINA

Russian Helicopter Sport Federation, President


Different stages of the world cup are held, and each competitor gets rating points. In the end of a year that points are summarized, but only points of three stages that were the best for each competitor. Helicopter sport is expensive and not everyone has an opportunity to attend all stages. That’s why we at F.A.I. Rotorcraft Commission decided that while it’s possible to participate in five or six stages, only three best results would be used for ranking.



In this year, 2017, the first stage of the World Cup was already held in the UK on June 3rd and 4th. The third stage in Belarus is to be held on July 29th and 30th, then stages in Germany, Austria and Poland will follow. Helicopter community liked the idea, but certain measures had to be taken to prevent Russian dominance similar to that observed at World Championships, where Russian crews compete for 1st to 4th places leaving everyone else behind. Thus, it was decided to allow only five representatives from each participating country.

Irina GRUSHINA

Russian Helicopter Sport Federation, President


There is a limitation imposed: no more than five crews from each country can participate in each stage of the World Cup. We have, of course, more than five willing crews, but that’s an exception characteristic only for Russia. In other countries sometimes it’s hard to find even three or four crews, let alone five.



Helicopter races at the World Cup are held using play-off system in Slalom and Fender. Five Russian, four Austrian, four Belarusian and two Ukrainian crews participated in Russian stage of the World Cup. Seven crews fell off during qualification flights and the remaining eight continued elimination contest until two wins of one crew in each pair. The rules of Slalom and Fender at the World Cup are different from those at national and world championships. At the Cup, visual appeal is the keystone, so speed is more important than precision.



Andrey OREKHOV

Private pilot (R44), competitor


There are classic slalom and classic fender. There are racing slalom and racing fender. These task are really different, and crews results show that. The standings upper part in racing is really different from that in classic competition.

Despite the five crews per country limit in the World Cup, semi-finals and finals turned out almost completely Russian as well. The only foreign team to compete for the third or fourth place were Ukrainians. Wolf-Dietrich Tesar, Austrian former chief trainer, who now judges the competition, says that Austrians intentionally sent young and untrained team to Russia, so that the guys would learn from Russians. The most promising Austrian helicopter sportsman is Thomas Morgenstern, three-time Olympic and eight-times world champion in ski jumping.



Wolf-Dietrich TESAR

Competition Judge, Austria


Thomas Morgenstern is a professional in sport, but not in helicopter sport. He stopped jumping — ski jumping — two years ago, and there he was the best in the world. Now he changed over to helicopters and he is professional in training, because he knows what goes on in training, what he has to put in mentally, and also into flying, but we can’t compare him now with the best pilots — with Russian pilots. Step by step he will come up to this qualification, he takes it very seriously. Today when you asked me how he was in this competition, they were a little bit nervous, it was not the best flight for him and for Stefan, but I would say that’s the level we expected, not more. They are going on, they are satisfied, and I think that next year we’ll come back and fight against you, Russians!

The most respect command the Mi-2 crews who made it to World Cup semi-finals and finals. Particularly, the crew of Airforce Sports Club, Victor Degtyar and Petr Vasiliev who won over  Andrey Orekhov and Vadim Sazonov flying Robinson R-44

Victor DEGTYAR

Mi-2 pilot, Russian Airforce Sports Club (CSK VVS)


It was all good in Slalom where we made it to the final. Fender was little worse, our machines lack some power, but we are at semi-finals now and will fight for the third place.



It was an understatement by Victor about “lacking some power”. In reality the competition of Mi-2 and R-44 isn’t equal. Mi-2, which history started more than 55 years ago, is much heavier and has more inertia, and hydro-powered joystick is much harder to pull than featherweight handle of R-44. Nevertheless, Mi-2 crews won separate tasks and Russian national championships numerous times in 2007, 2012 and 2015.



Victor DEGTYAR

Mi-2 pilot, Russian Airforce Sports Club (CSK VVS)


Yes, we did it all right. Probably then Robinson pilots didn’t possess perfect piloting techniques. Now they mastered their machines and also the techniques of handling bucket and fender cargo, so they are tough rivals these days. We count only on their mistakes. Our Mi-2 weighs about three tons dry, while Robinson is just 700 kilos. So you may imagine that our helicopter is much harder to speed up and slow down, while with Robinson it’s much easier.



The next World Cup stage, the third one, will be held in Belarus on July 29th and 30th. Alexander Tsenter who participated in British and Russian stages says that private general aviation in Belarus develops nicely in recent years. They have about 250 private aircraft registered. Not bad for a country with 9.5 million population. What’s more important is that helicopter sports there has government support

Alexander TSENTER

Belarusian Federation of Aviation Sports, Chairman


That competition we told about are in 10 days. There should be sports minister present, deputy chairman of the National Olympic Committee and almost all officials who define and influence all sports and aviation in particular in Belarus, will be there. Hardly any other country in the world, I think, can boast with special government meeting and decree about 2018 World Helicopter Sport Championship. There’s nothing like that in Russia yet.



The competition day ended with a festive dinner. That is also important and integral part of any good event. It allows all participants, judges and organizers to socialize in pleasant atmosphere.



Alexander TSENTER

Belarusian Federation of Aviation Sports, Chairman


It’s strange and pleasant thing that happens right now after the competition. In other sports it’s called apres-ski, when people just chat with a glass of wine, make plans and remember past events. That’s really nice because helicopter society is, well, forged by competition. The adrenaline that is concentrated at the venue, here turns into something that bonds people. That’s great and very interesting.

This 12th English issue of Flight TV is over. I’m Ignat Solovey, cameraman and host here.  We need your feedback! Please share your ideas and opinions in comments on YouTube, or on Facebook, or on Instagram. You see the links on your screen. Thanks for watching, stay tuned for more… and fly safely!