Russian Government Officials to Commute by Helicopter in 2013
President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev are likely to swap their armored limousines for helicopters next year, as the city center will be equipped with several landing pads, head of the presidential affairs office Vladimir Kozhin said Thursday.
The pads might appear on the territory of the Kremlin and near the White House in the first quarter of next year as part of the effort to create a system of transportation routes above Moscow, he told Interfax. Kozhin said the plan had received approval from the authorities.
"The options for developing the air corridors are being investigated, and others will get a chance to move by helicopters in the future — not only the president and the prime minister," Kozhin said, without specifying who else would be able to use the system.
Federal law bans flights over Moscow, with the existing 13 landing pads in the city used only by the police, hospitals and the Emergency Situations Ministry.
Developing a system of air transportation corridors involves a set of actions which includes amending current legislation, said Viktor Khrekov, a spokesman for the Office for Presidential Affairs. The move is aimed at reducing the city's heavy traffic jams, he added.
Roads closed to facilitate movement of Putin's and Medvedev's motorcades between the city center and their residences on Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Shosse create headaches for city motorists.
Developing air corridors above Moscow will be beneficial for city residents, as it will facilitate the use of helicopters by emergency services, said Oleg Panteleyev, editor-in-chief of the Aviaport.ru industry portal.
He added that the move might also advance the commercial use of choppers, which can be used for air excursions above Moscow.
"Moscow should become a helicopter-friendly capital, like New York, London or Paris," Panteleyev said. "It's obvious that business is ready to provide such services: there are companies that have a good fleet and personnel."
Business will be ready to build land infrastructure, like landing pads on the Moscow river embankment, as soon as the necessary conditions for the flights are created, Panteleyev said, adding that building a helicopter pad isn't expensive.
Kozhin said putting the country's leaders into helicopters wouldn't require additional purchases of choppers, as the aviation fleet of the special air group Rossia, which carries the president and senior officials, is constantly updated.
The state-owned firm, which reports directly to presidential affairs office, recently received a few new Mi-choppers made by Russian Helicopters.
Kozhin said his office had also purchased two new choppers made by Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland, which will begin local production soon. Kozhin promised that building a helicopter-landing pad near the Kremlin wouldn't damage the country's historic landmarks.
"We chose the location with maximum caution. The pad won't affect any of the historical and cultural parts of the Kremlin," Kozhin said.
He didn't specify the possible location for the helicopter deck, saying only that it won't be built on Cathedral Square.
This is a distinct possibility. HeliVert is the Russian organisation with assembly rights for the 139.
And earlier this year:
Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland (a Finmeccanica company) are pleased to announce that they have signed a Heads of Agreement at the Farnborough International Airshow to jointly develop an all-new 2.5 tonne class single-engine helicopter. The agreement was signed by Bruno Spagnolini, CEO of AgustaWestland, and Russian Helicopters CEO Dmitry Petrov. The overall programme will be shared on a 50/50 basis, with the new helicopter being designed for the worldwide market and a wide range of applications.
That will add some serious drag.....Where are they planning on going? Mars?
Anyone able to confirm that Eurocpter once planned to do a trip in a AS350 from New York to Paris straight across the Atlantic refuelling on barges along the way but it failed after the first barge due to a fuel leak?
I would love to do that, even if it might be a tad boring....
In the eastern part of Russia, Siberia, there are no many places where to refuel, so this system is quite useful. There are distances like 2000 km from one airport to another - see Magadan, Yakutsk, Kamciatka... Would love to work in that part of the world one day..
(Reuters) - A helicopter with nine people aboard including Russian Emergency Ministry officials crashed in eastern Siberia today the ministry said, and Itar-Tass reported it was also carrying two tonnes of explosives used to blow up ice on frozen rivers.
Debris from the Mi-8 helicopter was spotted in Russia's Irkutsk province later in the day. Interfax reported that search and rescue teams had found human remains and that it was unclear whether there were any survivors.
Accidents involving Mi-8 aircraft are frequent in Russia, which has been criticised for its poor air safety record. The Soviet-designed helicopter is widely used for ferrying people and cargo to remote areas of the world's largest country.