16. 05
Specific Features of the Sudan (Darfur) Missions. Aircraft commander experience

At the beginning of April aircraft commander Alexander Mindarev was appointed Head of the Aviation Group in the Republic of Sudan. He shared his experience a month later.

Specific Features of the Sudan (Darfur) Missions. Aircraft commander experience

- Alexander, what is the nature of complexity of working in the Republic of Sudan?

 Currently, ten Company helicopters are operating in Sudan, one of the largest UN mission, with the number of Ukrainian Helicopters personnel being 71 people. As a manger of the mission I bear responsibility for the crews, their training, I also should constantly monitor safety both in the air and on the land.

- Are there any specific features in terms of climate there?

It is typical for Sudan: heat and sand. Rain season starts in Africa in July and lasts till mid September. In Sudan it is accompanied by local sandstorms: fine dust fills the air and you need to use masks to protect your lungs and be able to breath. On top of that the temperature here is around 50⁰ Celsius. In such circumstances I insist that the crews shouldn't expose themselves to the sun and wear clothes that would protect them from the sun. Their health is one of my key responsibilities.

- What are the other qualities the Head of aviation group should have?

- He should be wise and demanding. He should be respective of the personnel but be tough when it comes to their fulfillment of their duties and tasks. I have extensive experience of training aircraft commanders and can say that it is the aircraft commanders who bear the main responsibility for Company's performance as part of the UN missions.

- What are the most important things to consider when working in the UN missions?

- The most important thing is to comply with the requirements and follow the rules of the documents of the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine and the UN missions.

- Do you share your experience of the DRC with your colleagues?

- I worked in the UN mission in DRC in 2008-2012 and am familiar with all specificities there. The main differences are mountainous terrain and bad changeable weather. Cumulus clouds cover the mountains, so pilots should be extremely careful. Jungle is another difficulty. There is no landing sites needed for emergency landing and naturally pilots feel concerned about it. However, Mi-8MTV-1 are reliable helicopters and this inspires confidence. We can't afford even minor deficiencies and faults, our main task is to maintain high level of safety.