Helicopter sport

Helicopter sport

Helicopter sport is a type of aviation sport in which competitions are held using helicopters, i.e. These machines are capable of vertical take-off and landing, move in any direction and hang in the air in one place for a long time.

Projects of the first rotary-wing aircraft appeared back in 1475 - it was then that Leonardo da Vinci had the idea to create a vertical takeoff vehicle. However, his "ornitottero" was not much like modern helicopters. The idea of ​​the first prototype of the helicopter was proposed by M.V. Lomonosov in 1754. His "aerodynamic (air-running) machine" was supposed to be lifted into the air using twin screws (on parallel axes) and did not imply a pilot. A century later, the French inventor Ponton d'Amecourt designed another rotorcraft called the Aeronef.

However, these ambitious projects never came to fruition. The constructions created at the beginning of the last century were more successful - the inventions of the brothers Berge and M. Leger (France) were able to lift off the ground to a height of 50 cm to one and a half meters and stay in the air from several seconds to 1 minute. Flights became much longer and more controllable only after the invention of the swashplate, the diagram of which was published by engineer B.N. Yuryev back in May 1911, however, due to lack of funds, he could not patent his invention. Unlike Yuryev, G. Botezat, who emigrated from Russia, was not constrained in funds, since he fulfilled the order of the American army, and his invention was patented.

Nowadays, the scope of application of helicopters is quite wide. Aircraft of this type are used for various operations of the armed forces (patrolling and guarding borders, landing troops, reconnaissance, transferring troops, providing ammunition, etc.), special forces and police, in medicine and rescue work (rescuing victims and delivering them to a hospital ), in commercial transport, in agriculture (for pest control). Specially equipped helicopters are used in construction (crane helicopters), for extinguishing fires (fire-fighting helicopters equipped with water tanks) and for aerial photography.

Competitions, in which helicopter pilots could demonstrate their skills, began to be held in many countries of the world since the middle of the last century, and quickly gained considerable popularity. The first World Helicopter Championship was held in early September 1971 in Bückeburg (Germany). Since then, the European and World Championships in this sport have been held regularly, every 2-3 years.

The term "helicopter" comes from the words "twirl" and "fly". There are several versions regarding the origin of this term. For example, some experts argued that this word was created to name the first machine equipped with a propeller, capable of taking off vertically, and is an abbreviation of the words "vertical" and "fly" (this statement is incorrect, since the first gyroplane, which was initially called a helicopter, was not capable of vertical takeoff). In addition, there is an opinion that this word was created by analogy with the French "gyroplane" ("rotorcraft"), or the first part of the term perpetuates the name of the company that produced helicopters - "Vertol" (acronym for "Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft" - "vertical take-off and landing aircraft").

Helicopter, rotorcraft, gyrocopter, turbine are synonyms. This is not entirely true. Rotary-wing aircraft (the propeller is used in flight, like a wing), like tiltroplanes (using propellers for take-off, and later for flight, like aircraft propellers), are considered one of the helicopter schemes, equipped with engines, but have some distinctive properties (for example, when emergency situations can go into a gliding flight, for which helicopters are practically incapable). For a long time, the autogyro was also ranked among helicopters. Confusion arose because of the consonance of the names of both aircraft (a helicopter before the war was called a helicopter, an autogyro - a gyrocopter, gyroplane, rotoplane) and some common design features (for example, the presence of a propeller). However, it should be noted that a gyroplane, unlike a helicopter, flies exclusively in the propeller autorotation mode, and the horizontal speed is communicated to it by a propeller fixed in the front of the fuselage (while a helicopter with an engine can also use a propeller flight mode) equipped with a swash plate. The gyroplane is not capable of vertical take-off and landing, but, like rotary-wing aircraft, it can go into gliding flight. The turboplane, which is a stand for checking the operation of engines and is not equipped with propellers at all, is closer in technical characteristics to aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing, and is similar to a helicopter only in its ability to take off and hover in one place.

Mass helicopter sport originated in Europe. Helicopter sports federations really existed in many European countries, but various championships in this sport began to be held in the USSR back in 1958. In flights (at low altitude and along a specific route) and landings for accuracy (on small areas bounded by ten-meter obstacles), piloting technique and other exercises, not only members of the DOSAAF (Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Aviation and Navy) competed, but also military teams. - the air force (Air Force) and the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on aviation technology. By 1971 (when the first world championship in helicopter sport was held), 12 USSR championships in this sport were held in the Soviet Union (while, for example, in Germany, only 3).

The idea of ​​holding the first world helicopter championship belonged to the German flying club. Misconception. The German flying club was only instructed to prepare the first competition of this kind. The initiator of the World Championship was the Helicopter Committee of the FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) after in 1959 the USSR received a proposal to organize a championship of eight Soviet Republics in helicopter sport in Paris. A repeated application came in 1960, again from the Soviet Union - now there was an urgent demand to hold a world championship in this sport, and in the event of a refusal of the USSR committee, it made a proposal to hold competitions of this kind in Moscow on its own. The German flying club was one of the first to show interest in the FAI proposal to host the World Helicopter Championship, and under the leadership of Otto Rietdorf (later a member and first vice-president of the FAI helicopter commission) immediately began to develop an exercise program for future competitions and national championships of Germany. ... It should be mentioned that the USSR team did not take part in the first world championship in helicopter sport, although many ideas that had been developed by the Federation of Helicopter Sports of the Soviet Union since 1958 were used in drawing up the competition program.

The exercise program offered to pilots competing for European and World Championship titles has remained virtually unchanged since the first helicopter championship. No, the modern program has undergone many modifications - some exercises have been partially changed, others have been excluded, and new ones have been added instead. For example, "helicopter slalom", in which it was necessary to carry a 5-kg load through 10 gates (two-meter rods dug into the ground a meter from each other) in a certain sequence in a minimum time, is somewhat complicated. Now, as cargo, each of the pilots is given a bucket of water attached to a long halyard. It should be carried through 12 gates, and at the end - hoisted in the center of the table, the height and diameter of which is 1 m. Not only the correct passage through the gate is taken into account, but also the level of water remaining in the bucket after completing the task. Exercise "rescue operation", during which the crew had to deliver to the "rescue zone" (50 × 50 meters) medical equipment (a halyard with a 5-kilogram load at the end) and lower it into a 40 × 40 cm hole on the model sloping roofs, replaced by "delivery of goods or postman". "Navigation" and "accuracy flight" remained practically unchanged. As an additional exercise, the program also includes "individual freestyle" and tasks designed to make the competition more spectacular: "opening bottles" (the pilot uncorks beer bottles set a few meters above the ground with a bottle opener fixed to the fuselage), "parallel slalom" , "parallel flight for accuracy", "parallel delivery of goods". Freestyle and extravagant exercises are not included in the overall ranking of the Championship.

Most of the world records in helicopter sport belong to Soviet athletes. According to statistics, before the beginning of 1991, most of the world records - 49 out of 123 officially registered - were set by athletes from the United States, followed by helicopter pilots from the USSR (47 records). But the first places in the world championships were won by athletes from the USSR, and later from Russia, indeed more often than others, in particular, the title of Absolute World Champions until 1991 was awarded to the USSR team twice (in 1973 and 1978). After the collapse of the Union, the Russian team was awarded this title 6 times - at all 6 world championships in helicopter sports (in 1992, 94, 96, 99, 2002 and 2005), in 5 of which the team took 1st place, in one - the second place ...

Women appeared in helicopter sports only at the end of the 1980s. Completely wrong opinion! Initially, in this sport, women competed on an equal basis with men. For example, in the Soviet Union, starting in 1973, according to the results of the competition, the title of the Absolute Champion of the USSR was awarded to both men and women. And at the first world helicopter championship, competitions for female pilots were held: first place was won by Hana Reich from Germany and Dorothea Schrimpf from Colombia, second - Christelle Teryung and Irene Teufel (West Germany), third - Mendy Finlay from England and a Belgian crew ... Nowadays, competitions of this kind are held on the condition that at least 3 countries will exhibit purely female crews for the world championship. Then the title of the World (continent) Champion among women is held, otherwise the fair sex will either compete in mixed teams or prove their skills by competing with male pilots.

Single and two-seat helicopters take part in the World Helicopter Championship. No, only cars with a crew of two are allowed to participate in this kind of competition.

The national team can have no more than 5 crews. Yes, a national team can consist of a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 crews. However, the number can be increased if the Absolute World Champions (among men or women) wish to defend their title - they have the right to participate in competitions as additional crews. And if a country cannot nominate the minimum number of crews (three) required to compete for the team championship, it has the right to apply for participation only in the individual competition.

A participant or a team dissatisfied with the results of judging or any situation that arose during the competition must file a protest through the team leader. It should be noted that the protest must be accompanied by a mandatory fee, which will be returned to the team if the protest is satisfied (sometimes, even if the protest is rejected - the fee can be returned to the athletes in whole or in part) and evidence of the violation committed. It is possible to solve the problem without filing a protest - if a disputable situation arises, the participant (team), within 2 hours after the announcement of the preliminary results of the competition, must contact the authorized official, first orally, and then in writing (this kind of appeal is called a claim, and cash contribution is not accompanied). If the claim of the participant (team) has not been properly considered, he has the right to submit an official protest.

For helicopter racing, only certain weather conditions are suitable. Yes, and weather conditions may vary slightly for different exercises. For example, exercises 2, 3, 4 can be performed at a wind speed of about 7.7 m / s (15 knots / hour), and the successful completion of exercise 5 is possible only with a slightly lower air speed - 4 m / s (8 knots / hour ). Cloudiness (minimum height - 300 m) and visibility over the horizon (at least 2 km) are also important. In some countries, these parameters may be changed (in the event that the current flight conditions in the state are more stringent than the above).

Both crew members can fly the helicopter. Only the declared pilot has the right to touch the levers (except for emergency situations), violation of this rule leads to immediate disqualification of the crew.

During the competition, pilots cannot use various equipment to facilitate the performance of tasks. Indeed, the rules of international competitions prohibit the use of not only an autopilot, auto-stabilizer, radar, radio altimeter, but also a mobile phone or any other means of communication (although for emergencies a VHF transmitter is installed on each car). Moreover, judges and assistant judges are also prohibited from using personal mobile phones during the competition. And if a pilot found in violation of this rule is fined 100 points, then the judge who used any means of communication during the performance of his duties is excluded from the Panel of Judges.

If a technical malfunction of the helicopter is detected at the start line, the departure time of the aircraft for the exercise will be changed and the pilots can correct the problem. It depends on which start line we are talking about. If about the preliminary start line (line "P"), where the participants arrive 10 minutes before the start of departure and where, after inspecting the car for the availability of communication means, they receive the equipment necessary for the exercise (a pin with a rope tied to it, weights (bags of rice weighing in 1 kg or a bucket of water)) - the above statement is true. In addition, for each minute of being late to the preliminary start line, the crew receives 5 penalty points (but not more than 25). But if the valid flight is interrupted after crossing the line of the executive start (line "D", where the helicopter should move 5 minutes before the start of the competition and where the crew receives an envelope with instructions and a flight card) - neither postpone the start, nor repeat the exercise, the crew already cannot, whatever the reason (technical failure, lack of fuel, etc.). A false start (both early and late) on the "D" line brings the crew 200 penalty points.

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