While much of the world’s attention relating to the COVID-19 pandemic has been focused on nations in Europe such as Italy, Spain and the UK, for Russia the situation has been just as challenging, and its helicopters and crews have not remained on the pad in their desire to help.
Russian Helicopters’ holding company Rostec has obtained approval from the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) for installing isolation units in Ansat helicopters in order to transport COVID-19 patients. In a similar process to that adopted by Airbus Helicopters and Leonardo, modules will be installed on the Ansat medical variants.
“About 30 Ansat helicopters have been supplied to a number of regions for air medical services. To improve their performance during the pandemic, we have launched a certification process and obtained permits for installing isolation units for transporting patients. This does not require any modification to the helicopter. Such equipment will provide more opportunities to use an aircraft for medical purposes,” said Executive Director of Rostec Oleg Yevtushenko.
The helicopters are used in the Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Kirov, Kostroma and the Tver regions along with many others including the Astrakhan region, in the Republic of Tatarstan.
“All work necessary for obtaining approval from Russian aviation authorities has been carried out extremely quickly. The Ansat medical helicopter was primarily equipped with a cabin for patients with infectious diseases. With these modifications, it will be possible to use these aircraft for combating COVID-19, and transport patients who could have highly dangerous infections and viruses,” stated Director General of Russian Helicopters Andrey Boginsky.
While they may not be getting as much media coverage in the West as they should be, it’s clear that Russia’s HEMS crews are just as involved in the challenging and demanding battle against the spread of the pandemic as their counterparts around the world.