From Russia with Love

I have just returned from a fascinating visit to the Interstate Aviation Committee medical meeting in Moscow. A delegation from ESAM of Elena Cataman, Ries Simons, Uwe Stuben and myself attended from 24th to 28th of October. The warmth of the welcome, and generous hospitality, of our Russian hosts more than compensated for the cold Moscow climate.

During the meeting I gave a presentation on the history of ESAM and its future strategy, with a translation into Russian by Elena, who did the same for all our presentations. Uwe gave a presentation on the use of hair analysis in the detection and monitoring of substance abuse in Lufthansa cadet pilots, and the Lufthansa medical services. Both generated much interest and many questions. Ries’s presentation was on pilot fatigue and fatigue risk management. This again was well received and prompted many questions.
On Thursday we visited ‘Star City’ the impressive training centre for Cosmonauts and were given a guided tour of the facilities. Between the ‘business’ of the meeting, every spare moment was used to give us a taste of Moscow. Red Square, the Kremlin, Moscow by night and the Summer Palace were amongst the highlights… say nothing of Chilli vodka!
We were left with a clear impression of the rich heritage of aerospace medicine in the Russian Federation, which only strengthens my personal view that we must continue to work hard to develop the relationships we have already, and seek new ones.

So, finally, a big thank you to Sergey Ivashov, of the IAC, and all of his team who worked hard to ensure we had a productive and enjoyable stay. Special thanks go to Olga, Sergey’s wife, whose tireless enthusiasm ensured that our every spare moment was filled with yet another experience of the beautiful city of Moscow. All of which was recorded in the disc of 150 pictures she gave us on the last day.

There is, however, one other person to thank. My fellow Vice-President, Elena Cataman. She translated our ‘Powerpoint’ presentations, our talks, and many informal conversations. Given the language barrier, she provides an invaluable link with our Russian friends. The visit was a resounding success on many levels, and ESAM has Elena to thank, in large part, for this.
So, a big hug from us all.