The countdown to the 14th World Helicopter Championship in Russia has started!


The 14th World Helicopter Championship is looming on the horizon!

However there is gloom over Austria's participation – we have been shocked by the announcement from the Ministry of Defence and Sport that the Army will in future not be participating or supporting helicopter sport activities in Austria.

If this statement (made in a very short letter from the Defence Ministry) holds fast, then all our previous joint preparations are undone and the future existence of Heliteam-Austria is in danger.

This letter is all the more unexpected as at the end of 2010 Minister Darabos agreed to the participation of the army for the preparation year 2011 and the world championship year 2012, in the form of at least one military crew and the joint training of the national team to be held at military air fields.

With this agreement, the training of two military crews was started in Langenlebarn.

Much time and money has been invested in the development of these two crews since this agreement.

The excellent support given by the army for the participation at the Championship in Germany and at the Open Helicopter Championship in Russia was a positive impulse for Heliteam-Austria and a great motivation for the new military crews.

It has always been the unanimous opinion of experts that the four events of this sport, which contain all the important criteria required in air rescue operations, are an excellent addition to the training of operational pilots.

In the 13 years of close co-operation between the Austrian Army and the Austrian Aeroclub (ÖAeC), both institutions have gained international recognition through the many successes of Heliteam-Austria, but also through the successful execution of a World Helicopter Championship 2002 on the military air field in Aigen.

Since this big event, Austria is a well-known and respected factor in helicopter sport, and it was intended holding the next World Helicopter Championship in Austria in 2014 or 2015.

All these facts and future dreams are made obsolete by six lines.

Unfortunately, the letter from the Ministry of Defence and Sport gives no reason for discontinuing this co-operation; we suspect that financial straights in the military were determining factors.

It is therefore hoped to have a first-hand meeting with Minister Darabos, in order to understand the details for this sudden reversal and possibly to find a positive solution.

Such a sudden end to a thriving co-operation endangers not only the future of this sport, but is also detrimental to the motivation of the military participants, which has already been taxed enough by the negative headlines and discussions about the Austrian army.

As leader of Heliteam-Austria and as helicopter delegate of the ÖAeC to the FAI, until a final decision has been made, I would ask for continued joint efforts internally towards the participation of a top-quality, motivated national team in the 14th World Helicopter Championship in Russia in August 2012.

Wolf-Dietrich Tesar

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