Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center

All about the helicopter of the Russian EMERCOM in Nis: crew, activities

Many media representatives are addressing the Center, asking questions about MI-8 aircraft which arrived from the Russian Emergencies Ministry. The Center will try to answer the most common and important ones.

First of all, about the crew: captain Vladimir Seryshev, copilot Rishat Yusupov, aeromechanics Mikhail Kurochkin Alexander Charushin, Sergei Lebedev. The crew members have wide practical experience both in flights and technical control. Experience in practical work is approaching an average of 20 years. They came to the Emergency Ministry as high-level specialists. The crew commander Vladimir Seryshev is for more than 13 years in EMERCOM, he is experienced with rescue and firefight flights.

Readiness for operations

Based on rich practical experience, the crew is ready to perform a variety of tasks related to the specifics of the Emergency Ministry work. With regard to the assignment in Serbia, the crew is ready to perform the tasks to combat fires in full force and in the best possible way. Captain Vladimir Seryshev says:

“This is personal participation in the preliminary reconnaissance of the fire areas - region geography, approach routes, etc.; for example, we flew with Serbian pilots in Svrlig district, and then in fire area near Bosilegrad;

  • Familiarization with the source of water intake: its depth and the lack of objects in the water;
  • Direct fire extinguishing by spillway;
  • Situation monitoring based on information received from the Emergency Management Sector;
  • Transporting of rescuers-firefighters, humanitarian goods, medical staff to the emergency place or evacuation of victims.”

The whole crew is a group of experienced professionals. These are two pilots and three employees - the technicians who service the helicopter, prepare its flight and carry out maintenance works. In accordance with the requirements of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, all crew members are certified to provide first medical assistance as rescuers. So there are no rescuers or firefighters among the crew.

Impressions from Nis and Serbia in general

“Serbia is like a second home for us, with open and friendly people, - says co-pilot Rishat Yusupov - “I am in Serbia for the second time; I was on duty in 2014 after extensive floods. I still remember Serbian hospitality. The country is like a fairy tale, and Nis is an interesting and cozy city, with many historical monuments. The nature of Serbia is amazingly picturesque.”

The first operation experience (in Bosilegrad area)

The first practical firefight flight was in Bosilegrad area. This flight was preceded by a preparatory stage: a workshop with Serbian colleagues (pilots of Bell-406 helicopters) and representatives of the Emergency Management Sector.

Upon arrival to the operation site, the crew was convinced that the interaction scheme works in practice without failures at a high professional level.

The crew members express big thanks to their Serbian colleagues, pilots of Bell-406 helicopters, and especially to the head of the helicopter unit Vladan Kosic. Their advices are very useful. Also thanks to the staff and leadership of the Constantine the Great airport in Nis, which provide flights and maintenance for MI-8.

The crew notes the coherence of all structures involved in the operation on August 6th: ground services, police and local emergency headquarters.

Operation was successfully completed. There were 3 departures, 3 water withdrawals from a local water source (the nearest lake) in a total volume of 8 tons. The whole operation took more than three hours. They succeeded to localize fires in forest foothills and prevented their spread in the direction of Gornja Ljubata.

To draw water, the crew used a helicopter drainage device for the withdrawal from open water bodies (from 3.5 to 5 tons of water).

Duration of MI-8 stay in Serbia

In accordance with the agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia MI-8 crew will be on duty for a month, acting as part of the forces and facilities identified by the Serbian Ministry of Interior to combat fires. A general situation monitoring, same as giving direct instructions about the place and area of the helicopter departure is the prerogative of the Emergency Management Sector, which sent its representative as a coordinator. RSHC provided its translator to support the crew activities.

In the opinion of the aircraft captain, helicopter MI-8 is a tested and trustful machine for operational response in this mountainous area.