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Italian Helicopter Championship 2007

The first edition of the Italian Helicopter Championship was held, on June 29 and 30, 2007, at the Turin/Aeritalia “Edoardo Agnelli” Airport, organized by the Turin Aero Club. This type of competition, included in the FAI sport calendar, has a well established tradition in many European countries, where it attracts dozens of enthusiast pilots.
The Italian Helicopter Championship 2007 recorded just twelve entries, but one crew was unable to attend for unspecified reasons. Three crews came from abroad, respectively from France, Switzerland and Russia. A range of different types of helicopter took part in the event: six Robinson R22s, one home-built Gazelle, one Eurocopter EC 120B Colibri, one Heli-Sport Angel CH-7 ultralight and the star of the event, a rugged four-seat Mil Mi-34S “Hermit” from Russia, with its radial engine in unusual lateral position.
On Friday, June 29, the “Navigation” race took place over an obligatory timed course, won by Giovanni Pirovano ed Alessandro Brusca with their home-built Gazelle. The following day, June 30, started with the “target” race, where the crews had to hit the centre of various ground targets, including the chimney of a large dog-house. This spectacular race was won by the Italian crew formed by Paolo Nazzari and Luca Mauri flying a Robinson R 22 Beta.
On the same day, there was the third and final race, based on precision-flight and consequently called “the slalom”. The winning team consisted of two Russian specialists, Mikhail and Yuri Kazachkov, on board their roaring Mi-34S. The first Italian crew, Luca Provaroni and Giuseppe Mangini flying an R22 Beta II, came fourh, with the Gazelle in fifth place. In every race, the crews started with the same number of points, reduced by any penalties along the course. The Championship General Results were based on the sum of the points for the three races.
Overlapping the above event, on June 30-July 1, the Turin Aero Club organized also the “Ali Verdi a Torino” (Green Wings over Turin) airshow. The number of aircraft in the static and flying displays didn’t live up to the expectations of the organizers. Alenia Aeronautica, which has major plants in the area, supported the event with flight exhibitions by their Eurofighter EF 2000 new generation fighter, on Saturday, and the Alenia Aeronautica C-27J Spartan, recent winner of the American JCA contract, on Sunday. Also on July 1, outstanding aerobatic exhibitions were offered by Paolo Zoppi flying his CAP-10B and by the Pioneer Team equipped with an Alpi Aviation Pioneer 330 Acro end three Pioneer 300 Hawk high-performance ultralights.
The small static display included an Airone 2 two-seat motorglider, manufactured by Aeridea, an Italian company, with substantial use of composite materials. On display also was an American Sportscopter Ultrasport 496G two-seat ultralight helicopter, in Mariner version with inflatable floats. In Italy it is marketed in kit form, powered by a 140 hp Guzzi Turbo piston engine.
Significant was the static presence of three aircraft used by the Italian Army Aviation Corps. Between them, the 34th Gruppo Squadroni “Toro” based at nearby Venaria Reale airport, exhibit ed an Agusta/Bell AB 205A helicopter with special colours celebrating the centenary of the Croce Verde (Green Cross), a voluntary medical assistance association set up in Turin in 1907.

In the picture: Mil Mi-34S Hermit RF-67739 of Russian Helicopter Systems, piloted by Mikhail and Yuri Kazachkov, ranking third at the Italian Helicopter Championship 2007, at Turin/Aeritalia Airport. The Mil Mi-34 is a four-seat training, competition and light transport helicopter, with aerobatic capability. The first prototype made its maiden flight on November 17, 1986. The main four-blade rotor and the two-blade tail rotor are powered by a 276 kW (370 hp) VOKBM M-14V-26 nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engine mounted sideways in centre-fuselage. Various dedicated versions of the Mi-34 have been developed or announced. The helicopter is now in production at the Mil’s Arsenyev plant. (Aeromedia)

(Aeromedia, July 2007)