Russian Helicopters, November 07, 2014 - Moscow - The crew of a Russian Mi-26 military helicopter from the Eastern Military District Army Aviation airbase saved a baby polar bear from starving to death in the Arctic, after the young bear became separated from its mother.
The Mi-26 was carrying out a routine transport flight in the Arctic zone, delivering goods from Anadyr to Wrangel Island, when one of the crew spotted a lone polar bear cub wandering along the Chukotka shore. The crew carried out several sweeps of the area, but there was no trace of the cub’s mother. The decision was therefore taken to pick up the polar bear cub.
The crew landed the Mi-26 and fanned out in search of the polar bear cub. When they found it, it was exhausted and showed no sign of aggression, in fact, it moved toward them. After giving it some warm food, the helicopter crew took it on board.
The crew said the cub was calm during the flight, wandered around inside the helicopter, looked around, and made friends with the people who rescued it. They named it Umka, after a well-known Russian cartoon about a young polar bear Umka who was particularly curious about its surroundings. After landing, the crew contacted environmental protection authorities and handed the cub over to them. The Mi-26 crew helped support the population of this endangered species, registered in Russia’s Red Book of species under threat. The young polar bear is now in a wildlife reserve on Wrangel Island.
Mi-26 helicopters, which are used to transport cargo in the Arctic zone, are the largest heaviest-lifting series produced helicopters in the world, and can transport up to 20 tonnes of equipment and large cargo on an external sling or internally. Mi-26 helicopters are also used in transporting troops, fuel, medical evacuation, and for firefighting. The helicopter is produced at Rostvertol, a Russian Helicopters company.
Flight tests are currently being carried out on the modernised Mi-26T2 helicopter, which boasts reduced crew numbers, a ‘glass cockpit’ which improves its ergonomics and the latest avionics. Mi-26T2 can be operated any time of day or night.
Rostvertol, a Russian Helicopters company, produces a wide range of Mi- helicopters and carries out repair and modernisation work on helicopters, supplies aviation engineering materials and provides related services. Currently Rostvertol is involved in the series production of new generation military helicopter Mi-28N Night Hunter (Mi-28NE export variant); the Mi-35M combat support helicopter; and the world’s heaviest multirole transport helicopter – the Mi-26T.