Flight TV - Issue 13

Finals of the Russian stage of the 1st Helicopter Racing World Cup. This issue is the last for this year dedicated completely to helicopter sports. The next ones will be about different things.

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Hello! I’m Ignat Solovey and and you're watching Flight TV, the only Russian TV program about general aviation. I’m the cameraman and your host here. This issue 13 is dedicated to the finals of Russian stage of the First Helicopter Race World Cup.


Today it’s about competition for third and fourth places, as well as for champion and vice champion titles in Racing Slalom and Racing Fender. This production is supported by International Academy of Helicopter Sports.

The conclusive competition day started with traditional medical checkup and briefing. After that, the race went on, for the fourth, third, second and first places in the stage of the World Cup. Third place in Slalom was taken by Sergey Tupikov and Alexey Pintelin and in Fender by Victor Degtyar and Petr Vasilyev. Degtyar and Vasilyev won over the only foreign crew: Lyubov Prikhodko and Vladislav Stavisyuk from Ukraine.

The Fender finals included two flights won by Yuri Yablokov and Konstantin Podóinitsyn. They showed impeccable performance, with timing of 35 point 3 and 34 point 7 seconds in two flights respectively. Their rivals, Andrey Orekhov and Vadim Sazonov, were slower for several seconds and also had ten penal points in the first flight.

The Fender champions were second in slalom. Yuri and Konstantin on R-44 lost to Victor Degtyar and Petr Vasiliev on Mi-2. First flight of the Airforce crew was flawless at 85 seconds. Yablokov and Podoinitsyn were faster at 81 seconds but lost ten points to water spillage and thus scored 91 seconds. The second flight was perfect for both crews, but the Airforce Mi-2 was faster at 82 point 2 seconds, and private Robinson was one point one second slower at 83 point 3.


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

We made it! We’re amazed ourselves because that crew is very experienced… I’m talking about our rivals. Very experienced guys with good technique — they squeezed everything from their helicopter, and their operator is excellent. Probably, it’s psychological thing… we were a bit stronger mentally. We also pushed our helicopter to the limit and beyond… Russian machine is the best.

Airforce crew victory is even more significant because they have less time for training and compete on Mi-2 that is much heavier than Robinson. Despite the four times difference in weight there is a number of purely sporting factors that allow or forbid to become a leader. In this case, Degtyar and Vasiliev won because their rivals spilled some water.


Russian Helicopter Sport Federation, President

Private pilots on Robinson helicopters have more opportunities for training because they have more free time and much better financial situation. Our crews are very serious about sports, so they devote a lot of time to that and train in every spare minute, as they have such possibility at Konakovo Airfield. As for military crews, they have specified times of training assemblies, no more than two of such in a year… Strictly speaking, they have no time, place, aircraft and money to train for real. That’s why when they get to Konakovo a day before championship starts, they train with gusto.

Luck and training are important but coordination in the crew is even more so. In helicopter sports the crew is 2-man, and the victory is shared between two individuals. In slalom the operator is probably more important.


Private pilot (R44), operator

I have to foresee the situation and work in advance. You stop in advance, slow down your pilot in advance, slow down your tool in advance… That is the hardest thing.


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

At these speeds I need his precision, how clearly he obeys my commands. I tell him at what speed I bring the bucket to gates. If he fails to do something, I’ll fail too. Operator has to give well-timed and clear order to his pilot, and then the pilot will do what I need and where I need.

Well-coordinated crews don’t need words to communicate. For example, in the first day of the World Cup Petr’s headset unplugged and they lost voice communication. That didn’t prevent them from completing the task and winning because they communicated with gestures. Vasiliev says that they don’t even need to talk and gestures are basically enough. Yet that requires a lot of training, as anything else does.

In the end, the winning podium was taken by Russian crews in both tasks.


Russian Helicopter Sport Federation, President

That was expected, even if Austrians intended to be serious rivals… Yet I think that they became a bit peeved after qualifications and didn’t get further than quarter finals, to everyone’s regret. Belarusians are very strong too, but they fell victim to some king of unpredictable circumstances maybe… because after qualification pairing is done as: first versus* fifth, second versus sixth, third versus seventh and fourth versus eighth. So they were set against the strongest qualified crew... otherwise they would get further, of course.


Helicopter World Cup Chief Judge, Germany.

Over the last years we know that Russia has very good pilots. They train like here in Konakovo, they have all facilities here and such facilities we have not in Germany or England… In France, maybe. We know each other and we are not sad that Russians got all the prizes.

Apart from the World Cup Stage winners, the winners of 52nd Russian Helisport Open were awarded as well. The crew of Maxim Sotnikov and Oleg Puojükas became the absolute champions of 2017 and first among equals: at least five more crews breathe them in the neck.


Absolute Champion, 52nd Russian Helisports Open Championship

The results are extremely close. Frankly speaking, there are five or six equal crews there, anyone could become a champion. Maybe we were a bit more lucky, nothing else. The results are very close, that’s a difference in one second out of 1200, less than one hundredth of a percent. Is it worth a discussion? No, it’s just fate.

Apart from regular prizes there were special awards: for women, in team competition. Two Austrian crews were awarded as Junior Pilots with less than 250 hours logged. Absolute champions of Russia and technicians were awarded separately. Irina Grushina, the president of Russian Helicopter Sports Federation, was awarded with the Sign of Honor of Russian Olympic Committee.

Russian Helicopter Championship and our part of Helicopter Races world cup are over, but Flight TV in English is only starting, so stay tuned for much more.

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 … and fly safely!