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My hovercraft is full of eels.

Моє на повітряній подушці наповнене вуграми.

Not that the craft I'm currently hovering actually *is* full of eels, but that's one of the gems I scored when I googled "Useful phrases in Ukrainian" last month. Besides, getting it full of eels would involve going Dnieper-dnipping, and it's a tad too chilly for that right now.

Although it was pretty temperate when I snapped that.

Okay, right about now, you're probably wondering why I was googling "Useful phrases in Ukrainian" in the first place. Well, it's simple enough -- that's what they speak where I *am* right now.

And what I'm doing here is -- going to school.

I'm getting a transition into yet *another* helicopter. The one on the right -- the Mi-8MTB, or, as us Uniforms know it, the Mi-17.

Okay, okay, that actually *is* an Mi-8 sitting next to it's little cousin, the Mi-4.

*This* is an Mi-17.

Okay, okay, so technically, it's an Mi-8MTB-V5, or (as the folks at the Mil Factory call it, an Mi-171. Which is probably more information than you really cared to get, right?


Now you know what I've been doing lately. As to *why* I'm doing it, wellllllll, it has to do with my new job.

But if I tell you what my new job is *now*, that'd be sorta like John posting a Whatziss pic, then directly beneath it, slapping up a schematic of the whole whatever-it's-part-of, plus giving you a link to the single, obscure, sole-source website that describes its origins, users, and where to buy it if you can't find one on eBay.

Horasho, da?


Cool! I will be expecting detailed photos of all the fiddly bits...

Spikkink Russian where you lives Mr. Bill.  The Dneiper runs through the "Russian" part of Ukraine. The main language spoke through most of Ukraine is Russian. The two are very similar, but not quite as close as American and British dialects of English.

OK? Yes, I guess.

I recuse myself from this whatziss...
I always wondered, why does the Mexican government fly what appears to be (some) Russian helicopters?  Is there some sort of secret aid program from the Rooskies?  Should I be concerned?

Enquiring Minds Want To Know!

Oh wait... wait... I'm looking at the wrong column...

Oh...  &%$#%


Frickin phrase book....




*High five!* 

:  )

 "Comment held for approval?"  Again????

I was being nice, too. Real, real nice.

Folks, rather than get irked in the comments, just drop me a note.  The Typepad anti-spam application is having trouble currently - because the spammers are getting better at composing their spam.
The plot thickens!!!
Beavis - yes, the Mexican Navy at least flies some russian helos.  I've seen 'em at the naval base in Lazaro Cardenas.  They have the advantage of being cheap to buy and (reportedly) simple to maintain and fly.  I'll defer to Bill on that, however.
Ya think the Ruskies are plying sugerbuttons with cheap vodka and good looking babes? Ya know Putin wants to revive the cold war to aid his next run for President.

There are about sixty countries that use Mi-8/17s, in any of about thirty variants. They're not expensive when you compare them to comparable-sized Western helicopters (the CH-53 SeaKinight, the AS-332 Super Puma, or the Sikorsky S-92), and they *are* easier to maintain. For example, a mechanic needs two five-foot rolling toolboxes just to do daily maintenance on a CH-53, but you can do depot-level maintenance on an Mi-17 with four screwdrivers, a set of metric wrenches, a pair of pliers, a pair of needle-nosers, a rubber mallet, and a tube of epoxy.

Speaking personally, I'd have designed the fuel system a bit differently for combat operations, but it's laid out logically for civil (or Naval) operators, and it flies just fine. The first foreign student my fellow gringo and I ran across was from Nepal, and the class ahead of ours is Rwandan.

There are only two of us in our class, BTW -- we're both instructor pilots with over 6,000 hours, so we're getting the accelerated program. Our terp is ready to develop a drinking problem: "I have you two who make my job easy and fun and you teach me American technical words for the systems and parts, and my next group is stuck-up gas-bags Iranian. I must remember not to use jokes you told me..."
 Ah, yes. Ukraine, where we are still loved.

You'll have to share some of those jokes Bill. We aren't Iranian, although there may be an Iranian or two that lurks here from time to time.
Heh. Conversation between Ukrainian 'structor pilot and yrs trly:

"Helicopter pilots are same all over. Ukrainian, Russian, American, Israeli, Japanese, Mexican, all the same except Iranian. All other pilots say, 'Hello, happy to meet you,' and introduce themselves. First thing Iranians do is say 'Where is East?' so can pray."

"Tell them if they were *good* pilots, they'd be able to figure out which way East was."

*Ukrainian IP spits coffee on table*
I have better than quintupled Bill's pay.  The results I get are reflective.
Which means there are now *two* zeroes behind the first digit on my paycheck.

Annoyingly, the first digit is *also* a zero...
You fail to mention the Laurel, and Hearty Handshake you get once a year.  It's not *my* fault you're never in-country to collect...
He also fails to mention the SugarButtons branded merchandise he gets a cut of.  Not to mention the groupies.
"Do you want to come back to my place, bouncy bouncy?"

"I will not buy this tobacconist's; it is scratched."

"Drop your panties, Sir William; I cannot wait until lunchtime!"

I don't know about Ukrainian helos, but I know a really hawt Ukrainian babe. Her name is Ruslana.
So, if the whatzis is to guess your next job, looking down the Wikipedia list of countries that fly these birds yields the usual suspects like Af'stan and Iraq.  However, I'm thinking that a good possibility is one of our newer clients for 'training and advisors.'   Possibly Southern Sudan and tthe project to deal with Mr. Kony?
Don't tell them Mecca is South with a bit of West thrown in from the Ukraine.
I'd love to see the Iranian pilots kneel down and pray to Mecca at about 5,000' AGL.  The "unscheduled, uncontrolled descent" would be pay-per-view worthy...
Old QM, I can see you are confused. These Iranian pilots are Masons. They always pray to the east.
Possibly Southern Sudan and the project to deal with Mr. Kony?

Oddly enough, I had a job offer back in March involving Mi-17s in South Sudan. Congress was playing Budget Bingo and it never got funded. My current gig will be a bit more prosaic...