Despite some high-profile failures in the North Sea, helicopters remain the fastest, safest and cheapest way of transferring personnel in the offshore setting. Oil and Gas Agenda finds out about the MI-8MTV helicopter from Elena Yan of Burundaiavia's commerce and marketing department.
Elena Yan: Burundaiavia is a joint-stock company that was registered as a legal entity in October 2002, after being granted an Aircraft Operator Certificate from the Civil Aviation Committee of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Kazakhstan. We offer high-quality services in aviation passenger and cargo transportation. Based on the ICAO international standards, the national standards of the Republic of Kazakhstan and various customer requirements, our company aspires to become the leading supplier of air services in the African-Asian region. Using our first-class helicopters, we ensure flight and aviation safety of the highest quality.
The development of our international helicopter business is a priority for Burundaiavia. We started working in this area in 2006, after winning commercial contracts in Afghanistan. Since then, thousands of tons of food products have been carried by our airline helicopters all over the country.
On 15 January 2007, Burundaiavia Airline was registered as an official supplier of goods and services to the United Nations (UN). The registration enables the airline to take part in tenders and bids for supply of the necessary goods and services for the needs of the UN. Burundaiavia is the first, and so far the only, Kazakhstan company registered in the United Nations Procurement Service (UNPS).
After registration, the airline is actively involved in providing air transportation services for the UN peacekeeping missions. Burundaiavia has successfully performed helicopter operations under long-term contracts with the UN in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Chad, and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Operations include missions supply, passenger transportation, delivery of humanitarian aid and food products, search and rescue operations, and emergency and medical evacuation.
Currently, the Burundaiavia helicopter fleet consists of 14 MI-8MTV-1 (MI-17-1V) helicopters and one MI-8T based at Boraldai Airport, situated within 5km of Almaty - a former capital of Kazakhstan. Four more MI-8MTV-1 and two MI-8T helicopters are under refurbishment at our Aircraft Repair Plant No 405.
In order to work on international air routes, the helicopters are equipped with IFR and navigation aids such as VOR/DME navigation systems, satellite navigation system GPS and weather radar, which make them capable of flying at night or in low-visibility conditions. An emergency location transmitter (ELT), oxygen equipment and a digital flight data recorder (FDR) are also installed on the helicopters. To enhance the flight range, the helicopters are equipped with external or internal auxiliary fuel tanks.
Due to the helicopter's large volume and the possibility of installing additional equipment, the airline can perform the following operations:
The MI-8MTV is fitted with powerful TV3-117VM engines, boasts a great service/hovering ceiling (6,000m compared with an MI8-T's 4,500m), improved 'hot and high' performance and load capacity (4,000kg external load compared with an MI8-T's 3,000kg), and increased ambient air temperatures. It expands the range of possible use, and the list of regions where the helicopter can operate.
The main designation of the helicopter is the carrying of cargoes of up to 4t in the cargo cabin. The cabin has a large cargo hatch with opening flaps in the rear of the fuselage, strengthened flooring and knots for the securing of cargo. The helicopter can be equipped with an external load sling system with a capacity of up to 4t for transporting large cargo, and with a winch with a capacity of 150kg.
The helicopter may be used for carrying passengers. To do so, the cargo cabin is equipped with a heating and ventilation system, and has collapsible seats for up to 24 passengers. It can be converted for air ambulance duties, with accommodation for 12 stretchers with the relevant medical equipment, and a tip-up seat for a medical attendant. The helicopter can also be used as a rescue machine with an electric hoist with a boom, over the movable door of the fuselage.