First Ever Ejection from Helicopter: New System Helps Pilots Bail Out from Russian Ka-52 Chopper

Ka-52 is the only helicopter in the world equipped with an ejection system for the crew
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 02:56 PM, June 25, 2024
  • 829
First Ever Ejection from Helicopter: New System Helps Pilots Bail Out from Russian Ka-52 Chopper
Pilot bail out from Russian Ka-52 chopper in Ukraine @via Russian media

Russian pilots Ivan Boldyrev and Roman Kobets made history by becoming the first to eject from a flying helicopter, using the Ka-52's emergency escape system, during an incident in the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The Ka-52 is the only helicopter in the world equipped with an ejection system for the crew.

"In essence, we became testers of the system… A shock, strong vibration, all the displays are on fire. From behind, you can hear the voice of a wingman: ‘They are working on you.’ Although it has already arrived on us and we are fine, we understand," Lieutenant Colonel Kobets said.

The incident unfolded rapidly. The helicopter began to fall backward, became uncontrollable, and disintegrated. "We were conscious; we clearly understood what was happening. We made a decision in a matter of seconds," he added.

Despite the chaos, both pilots remained conscious and made the decision to eject almost simultaneously. "Everyone has a question: who pulled first? We both pulled. I know that for sure," Kobets stated.

The simplicity of the Ka-52’s ejection system played a crucial role in their survival. "All the pilot has to do is pull the handle. Then the helicopter will do everything itself," Kobets explained.

At an altitude of 100 meters, the system functioned as intended. Boldyrev recounted his relief upon ejection: "Damn, it works!"

Related article: Are Helicopters Giving Way to Drones as Combat Platforms?

First Ever Ejection from Helicopter: New System Helps Pilots Bail Out from Russian Ka-52 Chopper
Kamov Ka-52 helicopter

He and Kobets landed safely, immediately evaded Ukrainian artillery fire, and were soon rescued by an evacuation group. Both pilots have since been honored as Heroes of Russia and continue their service. Reflecting on the event, Kobets emphasized the advanced preparedness of Ukraine and the intensity of the conflict, recalling earlier missions such as the landing at Gostomel airfield where their Ka-52 was previously shot down but managed to protect the crew.

In November 2023, General Harald Kujat, former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, highlighted the effectiveness of Russian combat helicopters in disrupting the Ukrainian counter-offensive. "Russia has absolute air supremacy over the battlefield, and the use of Russian attack helicopters is extremely effective," Kujat stated in an interview.

The UK Ministry of Defense also acknowledged the prowess of Russian attack helicopters. In a June 2023 update, the UK MoD noted Russia’s enhanced capabilities in southern Ukraine, particularly with attack helicopters using longer-range missiles against ground targets.

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