HeliRussia-2013, the Sixth International Helicopter Exhibition, was held in Moscow on May 16-18. It is the only exhibition in Russia where Russian and foreign companies have an opportunity to exhibit global achievements for the entire range of products and services in the helicopter industry – from the design to production stage.

The exhibition was organized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

The scale of the exhibition keeps growing every year. Thus, over 200 companies from 18 countries participated in HeliRussia this year. The exhibition area grew as well – the exposition occupied two halls this time instead of one as it was last year.

This year’s exhibition concentrated on military and medical helicopters, yet light aviation enjoyed much interest again.

Opening the first Russian heliport on the roof of one of the Crocus Expo pavilions on May 17 became an important event. This heliport is provided with landing pads, waiting space, check-in counters and its own fleet of helicopter taxis.

According to the tradition, a number of workshops, meetings and presentations were held as a part of HeliRussia 2013.

Representatives of the Aviasystems Group took part in several subject-oriented conferences including a conference for suppliers of component parts for Russian Helicopters where the principal problems faced by the Russian Helicopters Holding in the course of organizing its purchase activities were discussed. Low production capacities of suppliers, which prevent the Russian Helicopters from meeting their growing needs in full and within the required terms, are among such problems.

Among other things, speakers at the conference noted an evident current trend among customers: a shift from buying goods and services (aircrafts and after-sales maintenance) to purchasing life cycle indices of aviation equipment such as good order, reliability and profitability. The Russian Defense Ministry may serve as an example of such changes: it imposes stricter requirements on the Russian Helicopters Holding as the aircraft supplier, and the latter automatically imposes similar requirements on suppliers of component parts. In its turn, the Aviasystems Group being a provider of logistics services for aircraft operation and having experience of cooperation with manufacturers related to the formation of return and exchange pools of spare parts and after-sales maintenance of the airborne equipment believes that the Russian Helicopters Holding can use such experience for solving urgent present-day problems.

Experts from the Aviasystems Group were also interested in another event, a round table entitled “MI-8 helicopters: modernization as a means to preserve and improve the role of helicopters on the Russian market.” Growing airworthiness costs and lack of spare parts were mentioned during the discussion among the most important problems related to helicopter operation. Several ideas of ways to solve the aforesaid issues were suggested. One of them includes revising basic aviation electronics and restricting flights of MI-8T helicopters based on VFR only, during the daytime and under favorable weather conditions (according to the history of MI-8T operations, 92% of flights all on daytime flights). However, this suggestion is not efficient for MI-8T helicopters operated in the regions of the Extreme North and areas with a similar status as well as areas with adverse climate and landscape conditions. Under such conditions, a question arises concerning the flight safety and using high-end onboard navigation equipment, which ultimately increases the cost of the helicopter and flight hour. The race to reduce the cost per flight hour continues.

Business meetings and negotiations with a number of enterprises were also held. Experts from the Aviasystems Group had an opportunity to meet potential partners including Transas Aviation and Kontur-NIIRS: the process of signing contracts related to joint formation of return and exchange pools of spare parts to create an up-to-date after-sales maintenance system for aviation equipment during the post-warranty period is under way. The contracts provide for joint efforts on the part of all companies operating the equipment of Transas Aviation and Kontur-NIIRS as a part of aircrafts with the logistics operator (Aviasystems Group) based on the ‘one stop shop’ principle. As a result, operators of Russian planes and helicopters will get access to the body of services aimed at prompt repairs, exchange or lease of component parts.

On the whole, the exhibition demonstrated enormous public interest in the objectives of the helicopter industry. This is related to the increased production of helicopters and expanded range of aircrafts operated in Russia and CIS countries. The business program was characterized by its abundance and diversity. Many companies signed agreements and contracts as a result of the exhibition.