The International Exhibition of the Helicopter Industry HeliRussia 2021, which was open in Moscow from 20 to 22 May, has ended. You can summarize.
The main result is that the helicopter industry in our country is still alive. Although, it seemed, “effective” managers did their best to physically destroy it.
Indeed, one can believe that Russia is under the cover of some higher powers that protect it in the most catastrophic conditions. However, one thing was achieved – the original and in many respects unique design schools for the design of rotary-wing machines created by Kamov and Mile, after merging into a certain common conglomerate, lost their independence and are now rapidly degrading.
Nevertheless, it is worth repeating that the helicopter industry still exists, and such machines as the Mi-8, Mi-26, Mi-24, Mi-38, Ka-226, Ka-27/29, Ka-32, Ka- 52 remain world leaders in their class.
Attempts are now being made to create new cars under other brands. On the very first day of HeliRussia 2021, one of the important events was the signing ceremony for the supply of the first light Russian VRT 500 helicopters, which took place at the stand of Russian Helicopter Systems JSC. This company is the largest civilian operator of Ansat helicopters, it also has the only certified civilian training center for the training of flight personnel for Ansat helicopters. In the future, it seems, is going to bet on the VRT 500, a Russian car with a non-Russian name.
With great fanfare, this light coaxial helicopter with a take-off weight of up to 1600 kg was presented at the international exhibition HeliRussia 2018. Three years have passed since then, but it is not known whether the VRT 500 took off at least once. Nevertheless, the start of its serial production is planned for this year at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. The car, which has not been tested in the air, is actively promoted to the world market. So the first sales contract was signed.
On the first day of the exhibition, many conferences, round tables, sessions, as it is fashionable to say, panel discussions took place. One of the brightest, according to the participants themselves, was the discussion “The aviation industry for the development of the Arctic and the Far East.” It discussed the prospects for the use of helicopter technology in the Far North. The topic is relevant for the country, the speeches were informative and highly competent.
The second day of the exhibition, May 20, became the most eventful. It was filled with the same conferences and round tables. They were so interesting that I wanted to be present at all at the same time.
The conference “Firefighting with the use of aviation” literally gathered a full house – the conference hall was filled to capacity. Not surprisingly, forests are burning all over the planet, and the problem of extinguishing them is being solved very slowly.
An interesting conference was devoted to additive technologies and 3D printing of individual elements of helicopter construction.
For the first time, within the framework of the HeliRussia exhibition, a discussion was held, with the declared name “Digitalization 1.0”, but in preparation for the event it was expanded to – “Digitalization 1.0 – 4.0: from automated control systems to digital twins”. A joint report on the topic “Practical aspects of digitalization of the development and production of automatic control systems” was presented by Andrey Udodov (deputy director of the ACS program, deputy chief designer of UEC-Klimov JSC) and Alexander Krotov (managing director of NITs Radiotechniki LLC). Alexander Tamm (Head of the Cross-Industry Technologies Department of the NTI Center of SPbPU “New Production Technologies”) spoke about the technology of digital twins. Within the framework of the reports, the speakers presented their experience of introducing digital technologies into production processes, shared their experience and discussed further possible options for introducing digital technologies into aircraft construction, technical and flight operation of aircraft.
There were other, no less interesting sessions and discussions.
In addition to conversations, we signed several small but important agreements.
UTair Aviation and the single operator of helicopter services in Kazakhstan JSC Kazaviaspas signed a memorandum of cooperation with the aim of developing a long-term partnership. Kazaviaspas is the largest helicopter operator in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which performs all types of helicopter transportation for government agencies, organizations and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan. And UTair is the largest helicopter operator in Russia and one of the leaders in the world helicopter business.
Under this agreement, UTair plans to provide training and retraining of the flight personnel of Kazaviaspas JSC. Employees of the Kazakhstani helicopter operator will be able to get access to simulators for MI-26, MI-8T, Mi-8MTV and Mi-8AMT helicopters at the UTair personnel training center in Tyumen.
In addition, in the interests of the Kazakh side, UTair will provide aviation services on the world’s largest helicopter Mi-26 and provide its maintenance. There are 26 such aircraft in the UTair fleet.
There is no doubt that the agreement is beneficial to the two countries.
An agreement was signed on the medium overhaul of aircraft engines on the territory of the Orsha aircraft repair plant in the Republic of Belarus.
According to the document, UEC-Klimov will carry out medium repairs of engines, supply special equipment, spare parts, parts and assemblies. Orsha Aircraft Repair Plant OJSC, in addition to areas for repairs, will provide support personnel to support the work. Medium repair involves the restoration of engine performance in the event of a malfunction before the specified resource is used up.
Earlier, UEC-Klimov JSC and Orsha Aircraft Repair Plant JSC have already signed a cooperation agreement and a roadmap for the implementation of a project to organize a service center on the basis of a Belarusian enterprise.
And this is also in the trend of strengthening industrial ties between the two fraternal states.
Western helicopter manufacturers were also noted.
Airbus has certified the first distributor of its own helicopters in Russia. It is the Gorka business aviation innovation center, which will now be able to offer Russian customers civilian Airbus helicopters: single-engine H125, H130 and twin-engine H135 and H145. And the sanctions did not interfere.
As mentioned, in addition to simplifying procedures for the customer, one of the advantages of distributors is the ability to pre-order slots for the supply of helicopters and effectively deal with deferred demand. Not all customers are ready to plan a purchase a year in advance and wait for a new helicopter, so they opt for equipment from the secondary market. A distributor, in turn, can order a helicopter in advance and offer a product to customers “in season”. It is planned that by the end of 2021 “Gorka” will be certified as a service center.
The final day of the exhibition was devoted to people who are not indifferent to aviation – adults and children. Many families came to appreciate the exposition. The awards ceremony for the winners of various competitions was also held.
HeliRussia 2021 is over. We will wait for the next year’s exhibition and hope that it will become much brighter and more interesting.