„Cleared for Russia!“

After a few setbacks during preparation for participation in the 14th Helicopter World Championships, taking place from 21 – 26 August 2012 in Russia, the delegation of Heliteam-Austria of the Austrian Aeroclub (ÖAeC) is now complete:

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Despite the unexpected withdrawal by the Ministry of Defence of two military crews from Langenlebarn – and that in the middle of prepartions for the World Championships – we have been able to nominate three teams for the World Championships which are to be held at the Drakino Airfield, about 100 km south of Moscow.

It was always certain that Stefan Seer from Wagrain would participate. Unfortunately the crew member, Josef Platzer from Aigen, for personal reasons stepped down after the meeting 2011 in Russia, so Stefan Seer had to find a new co-pilot at short notice. As no Austrian replacement with the necessary experience could be found at such short notice, Captain Christian Korb, helicopter pilot with the German Army, agreed to fly as co-pilot with Stefan Seer for the World Championships.

Christian Korb is an old-timer at helicopter championships and has been a friend of the Austrian Heliteam for a long time.

This crew will participate as an international crew, in accordance with the rules, flying on a R-44 Raven, chartered in Russia, whereby this crew will be classified as Austrian on the basis of the nationality of the pilot.

Stefan Seer will also participate in the Free Style event, as reigning free style champion since the last world championships in Germany he hopes to defend this title.

The second crew deserves special mention:

Captain Christian Kappl, as pilot and NCO Paulo Gutscher, as co-pilot (navigator), are both pilots in the Austrian Army, based in Langenelbarn.

This crew was originally one of the two military crews nominated by the Ministry of Defence to participate in the World Championships in Russia and also took part in the competition in Russia in 2011. As both military crews were withdrawn by the Austrian Army, these two pilots decided to participate in the World Championships as civilian pilots. Both pilots are also holders of valid civilian helicopter licences.

This is a welcome addition to the team, although it is also a heavy financial burden, as it is necessary to charter a helicopter in Russia, Type A-206 Jet Ranger, and the charter costs vastly exceed the existing budget of the Austrian Aeroclub for these World Championships. Fortunately the Sport Section of the Ministry of Defence and Sport has awarded the Heliteam-Austria financial support for 2012, and so their participation is assured.

The third crew is also sensational for Austria:

The chief pilot of the Flying Bulls, Siegfried Schwarz, will be participating in the Free Style event at the 14th World Helicopter Championships, flying a Bölkow 105 from the Red Bull team.

Siegfried Schwarz will also be one of the 13 crews from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Great Britain who will be flying their helicopters all the way to Russia via Poland and Ukraine. His technician Roman Gitterle will be accompanying him on this flight and will be responsible for servicing the machine.

The delegation will be headed by Wolf-Dietrich Tesar, who has been the driving force behind the presence of Austria in helicopter sport for the past 14 years, and will include international judges and assistant judges. It is imperative that all participating countries also nominate their own judges, to ensure their voice is heard in critical situations.

The small Austrian team is also honoured that the President of the Austrian Aeroclub, Alois Roppert, will also attend the World Championships. His presence again stresses that, although helicopter sport is a fringe sport in Austria, on the basis of many successes it is worthy of support by official sport institutions.