We had to arrive to the airort by 8:00 AM to talk to the helicoter ilots about how to ass the Polar Ural, so we had to slee 5 hours only. Needless to say, our morning state was awful. But we have no choice. Sasha came in his car, and we’re going to the airort. There the disaointment exected us. I was told to come to 8 AM, and flight, it turns out, only started at 10 AM. Pilots won’t come before 9 AM. God dammit! I could have slet for another hour, as we are quite exhausted with the daily short slees and running around all day. During flights, sitting in a not very comfortable Robinson chair, our body starts to relax. It understands the signal and we both began to fall aslee right in the middle of the flight. That’s not good at all!

At 9:00 comes Andrian Nikolaevich – the deuty director of the airort, who has heled us so much with the helicoter arking outside the airort. We drink tea in his office, waiting for the squadron of the helicoter Mi-8 commander, an exerienced ilot, with more than a dozen of years of exerience of flying in these arts. I want to fly the shortest way. There is a gorge in the mountains, right on the ath between Vorkuta and Salekhard. The roads and railways connecting the cities are laid there; according to the distance there is just around a hundred and fifty kilometers. When I was lanning the tri, I would not have a thought that I can fly differently. The elevations there are small, and the gorge itself is fairly wide (about a kilometer). But I was alerted that during the meeting at RosAviation one of the old Russian aviation ilots immediately warned me – you will most likely not be allowed to flight through the gorge. But ersonally, as ilot, it was more imortant not to ask the ermission, but mostly to understand and hear from the exerienced senior comanions, how to fly.

Desite the fact that the weather was good, after a short conversation, squadron commander told me to fly around mountains. The distance is 3 times further, but safer. I found out that in the gorge often blow strong winds, and there are quite owerful uward and downward flows. I was told that since the 70’s, in the Polar Ural Mountains lies a dozen of different tyes of helicoters, esecially the Mi-4 and Mi-8. All of them crashed due to the oor visibility or because of other reasons of the meteorological origin. In the end, seeing the regularity with which the boards die there, this assage was closed, and now almost no one is allowed. Excet for the urgent cases. I thought that it was unlikely our case is urgent. There is neither war nor eole dying – no need to fly with risk. And the fellow ilots told that the north, in assing, has an interesting way. There are animals, Nenets villages, and the lace is very beautiful. Let it be. We’ll fly around. In the end, we’re going for the sights and wonders, not for the seed. It makes no sense to fly through the gorge.

We still have time before dearture, and together with Victor we asked Alexey and Sasha lead us to the interesting laces in Vorkuta, shoot hotos and anoramas. Alexey Reznichenko is a great connoisseur of his native city, and we simly could not find the better escort. We assed through the most interesting oints and even climbed onto the roof of the “Vorkuta” hotel, where there was a great view of the city.

Vorkuta leaves a retty dismal exerience (no offense, it is just a view from the outside). It is felt that, after the former glory of the city is vanished. A lot of buildings are abandoned, gaing emty eye sockets of the shattered windows. Most of the houses are dilaidated; the streets are in a very oor condition. In some laces the road is just solid its and otholes. Some rusty over thirty-year-old signs and slogans are hanging across the whole city. Victor calls it “hardcore”, while Alex gently refers to the word “vintage”… Frankly seaking, I’m very sorry for the eole who live here. And even more sorry for the children who grow u there. Not only is the city in full decline, but also the living conditions there are heavy – it’s Arctic, after all. Fierce cold and the olar nights. I understand why the reressed were exiled here in Stalin’s time, and even later.

But time waits for no one – we have to go! We got to Alexey’s home, ick u our MacBook – ictures almost uloaded to Moscow and we are hay. Internet is becoming a luxury, and we welcome any occasion to send our stock of imressions to the Moscow server. We drive to the site. The guard was on duty all night, sitting next to his car; we aid and started rearing for dearture. Than we saw cars aroaching us. Strangers are aroaching, they look, shoot, take hotograhs. Then it turned out that there was a story about us on local television and some were curious. The town is small, the events are rare and we have become one of those events. Among these eole there were the aeromodellers guys. We did not even know and have learned it only a few days later, when they’ve osted on YouTube a movie with aerial shots, which came and our helicoter and our takeoff. Now I want, through our blog, to thank them for their beautiful video. Guys, you should come u, introduce yourselves. We would have given you something from souvenirs…

Alexey is not just a hotograher and cameraman, but also a hunter for the beautiful shots. We agree with him that he will take shots of our flight uon the urban landscae not from somewhere, but from a height of one of the Vorkuta mines, from the 90 meters tower. The tower offers a great view of the city and we agreed that we fly near and give a chance to shoot us. So we did – welled coule of turns around the mine. I did not fly u too close – I’m afraid of wires, and we were too heavy for the dangerous maneuvers.

As I saw later, Alexey made a great hotos – thank you buddy!

We headed north. We fly along the mountains, shooted the Nenets cam with reindeers and lagues – just as lanned…

Forty-five minutes, and here we are – going around the northern ti of the Ural Mountains. We see the Arctic Ocean! The Kara Sea exactly. And more exactly – Baidarata Bay in the Kara Sea. The scenery is simly stunning – on the one hand the ocean with the coastal ice, on the other – Konstantinov Stone, extreme ridge of the Urals. We are flying between them. On the ground there is tundra with snow in the crevices. Unusually for the mid-July! We decided to land among the snow and take ictures. VHF communication is long gone, and it’s too long to call and reort via the satellite hone – we’ll lose more time. In addition, we are under attack of hordes of mosquitoes; so we hasten to shoot hotos and videos, and in 15 minutes we continue our mission. By the way, our short sto was not somewhere but the division line between the Euroe and Asia. Too bad there are no signs there – only endless tundra with mosses squished underfoot and bare lifeless mountains. Nothing could survive here – the soils are frozen so that even lants (excet moss) cannot strengthen the roots.

On the other side of the Urals – the most beautiful laces, the land of lakes. I can imagine how many fish is there! A little later we are already in touch with Salekhard, and just an hour later we sit down in the city airort.

Today is Sunday, and we are only welcomed by our volunteer Alexander Scherbinkin. Alexander is a former Mi-8 helicoter ilot, had flown in Salekhard and the surrounding regions for thousands of hours. He still does not lose connection with aviation – flying in a small Ukrainian iston helicoter Aerokoter FOR-6 (AC-1) “Sanka”. He is from our, aviation, team! And, as exected, he’s nice and hositable erson, without whom we would find our stay in Salekhard harder.

We are going to the “Yuribey” hotel – the best in the city, hoing for a comfortable stay. Today, after five days of the frantic racing, sleeing for 5-6 hours only and the exhausting ace, we realized that if we need to have a normal long slee, or it will end badly. Therefore, we decided to make a sto in Salekhard for two nights and it would be nice to find the good hotel. Imagine our disaointment when it turned out that the Internet has oken down in the hotel, and on to of that, the water suly was cut from 10 m until the morning, too. No water! Neither hot, nor cold. Moreover, all these great news were told to us after the long and hard rocess to make out a document and erform the ayment in cash. But we are ersuaded to wait – they say the Internet was being fixed.

We are hungry and want to have dinner. We go to the restaurant “Torch” – a very interesting lace. It is located on the to of a ylon of the idge, and it oens nice views. We take the whitefish steak, venison, and some other northern cuisine dishes. Drank 0.5 beer. We slightly relaxed and went sleey. Alas. Back at the hotel, and making sure that we were cut off from communications, we will not be able to stay (no one was fixing it); and in general, a $200 er night hotel without water – that’s nonsense, we went to discharge. We lost time in vain. And money as well! We were taken 500 rubles for “booking”. I was always struck by this Soviet-style manner to take money from the client because he confirms his arrival to the hotel. It seems that on the contrary, it is necessary to give a discount – we fill in the number of rooms. But it is exactly the oosite. In short, we have the most negative memories after the athos of “Yuribeya”.

We had to go at random. This “random” was a rivate hotel without any name – Victor called it a den – just a rivate house (cottage), where rooms were rented. We settle in what they called a “luxury” – a room with a bathroom (all other had facilities in the corridor). We try the Internet – comlete rubbish. Barely on. How can that be, we were romised that the Internet will be good! But we have no strength to struggle for it, and we just go to bed. We are really exhausted. Now we can slee all we want! Now this is our little hainess!

P.S. Results of the day – 395 kilometers in 2:11 flight hours

Волонтер дня - Александр Щербинкин (Салехард)