Mi-17 Cockpit

Afghan National Army Air Force Capt. Hamid, left, listens to instruction from U.S Air Force Maj. Drew Grigson, with the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron (AEAS), before takeoff aboard an Mi-17 helicopter at Shindand Air Base, Herat province, Afghanistan, Jan. 10, 2011. Hamid is part of the first class of pilots to attend a pilot training course taught by Airmen from the 444th AEAS at Shindand. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris, U.S. Air Force/Released)

Afghan National Army Air Force Capt. Hamid, left, listens to instruction from U.S Air Force Maj. Drew Grigson, with the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron (AEAS), before takeoff aboard an Mi-17 helicopter at Shindand Air Base, Herat province, Afghanistan, Jan. 10, 2011. Hamid is part of the first class of pilots to attend a pilot training course taught by Airmen from the 444th AEAS at Shindand. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Eric Harris, U.S. Air Force/Released)

Comments

  1. Well, another awesome picture. You certainly have the eye, Murdoc. And it seems the Air Force has settled on Nikons, the Navy on Canons.

    But what’s the deal with flying Roosky helicopters? The controls are all in Russian. And the US dude even has an Mi-17 patch with a Red star on his arm!

    Are they that much cheaper? And/or are they just more reliable in that environment, kinda like an AK?

  2. Speaking of “patches” jaymaster,

    You notice the American flag patch is on the upper-left arm of the guy’s flight suit?

    In almost all other photos I’ve seen of American military personnel it’s been a “reverse” flag on the upper right arm.

    Maybe the U.S.A.F has different regs?

  3. We’ve operated quite a few Russian helos through the years as OPFOR for training our own troops. Most are stationed in Texas if memory serves.

  4. I believe less complicated is the main reason why they are sticking with Russian stuff for now. Plus there are/were some people experienced with the stuff from the 80’s and after the pull out.
    What I find interesting is that we had to have our guys trained on that in order to train the Afghans. Probably were taught by Russians too. Just a little wink there.

  5. At first when I saw the photo I thought the cockpit looked pretty good in an uncluttered way but now I think it’s a bit clunky. The consoles in front of the pilot and copilot seem to have quite a bit of empty space in them. That means that they could be made smaller so that they obscured the view less without losing any functionality.

    I can understand that the Mi-17 Mk1 might have unnecessarily clunky instruments but I bet this is the Mk7 or Mk8 and by then they really should have streamlined it.

    These things matter, visibility affects pilot performance and in some ways pilot performance is more important than the airframe.

  6. Well, the flag patch thing could be on the left arm purely for photographic reasons. They’re Velcro, IIRC, so it’s no biggy to have a lefty and a righty. Plus full color and muted camo.

  7. The Afghanis had quite a few salvagable Hips and Hinds; when I was there in ’06-’07. There were several a few hundred yards off our company flight ramp at Kabul Intl (military side). They all had fresh pant, but I never saw any of them being flown; scuttlebutt was the pilots hadn’t been trained up yet, and they were still short some necessary bits and pieces. More grapevine stuff was: besides having some Russian birds on hand; whole aircraft and parts were readily and cheaply available from the Egyptians, and other middle easern countries, as well as Eastern Europe. The company I worked for had it’s own fixed and rotor wing assets to move personnel and cargo around (otherwise it was all about being dependent on military air transport, and the dreaded “Space A” category all us contractor scum got tossed into); all were subcontracted Russian or Ukranian birds and crew. The fixed wing were AN94s (I think), and the choppers were various Hips and the really large Russian chopper; and MI26 Halos (a really big honkin’ chopper!). I was kinda intrigued by the photo and story. I pulled quite a bit of flight line and terminal building security at Herat at one time or another, used to escort our ANP trainers there/back and provide PsD for them too. I wonder if this Shindand is the same airport (we just called it the Herat Airfield)?

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