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Dmitry Larin, Head of Ornithological Flight Safety

Every day, specialists from city services carry out a range of complex tasks to help citizens and to keep the city alive and well. There's no doubt that their work is vital to the city, but we still know very little about them. For our 'People of the City' section, we have asked these professionals to tell us about their unique experiences and interesting stories from the job.

Learn more about how employees at Vnukovo International Airport spend their days and about the unusual situations they've encountered in their work

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Dmitry Larin has an important mission: he's in charge of preventing bird collisions with aircraft.

While still in training at the Russian University of Transport, Dmitry realised that a nine-to-five office job would be a poor fit for his free-wheeling personality. While on a childhood trip to Kazakhstan to visit a friend's family, the adults took Dmitry and his friend hunting for golden eagles. The experience left a deep impression on Dmitry, and he began to take a serious interest in birds of prey. He started off with books, then moved on to studying live hawks and falcons in their natural habitats and talking with other people interested in birds of prey.

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His childhood passion eventually evolved into a professional calling. Dmitry now knows everything there is to know about birds of prey.

'Hawks are like predatory cats — they can fly at speeds of over 100 km/h to close in on their prey from distances of 200–300 meters in the blink of an eye. These birds are the reason why aircraft here never collide with seagulls, starlings, crows, or jackdaws. Hawks are like sprinters, and they're well adapted to forests, urban environments, and industrial sites. They aren't scared of the noises and vibrations of the airport. But you always have to keep on your toes to make sure we don't have any unwanted guests', Dmitry explains.

The Head of Ornithological Flight Safety practically never takes days off, sick leave, or vacations. Dmitry has no complaints, though. He's proud of his achievements, and the thing he's most proud of (even more than the numerous awards he's received for his professional accomplishments) is that he and his colleagues are able to ensure the comfort and safety of passengers at Vnukovo. Dmitry considers himself lucky: he loves his job and he helps to make flights at Vnukovo safer.

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Vnukovo International Airport is one of the largest air hubs in Russia. Each year, 200,000 flights operated by Russian and foreign airlines arrive and depart from the airport. Travellers can fly from Vnukovo to anywhere in Russia, as well as to numerous destinations in the former USSR, Europe, America, and Africa. The air terminal complex has a floor area of 300,000 square meters and can handle up to 35 million passengers a year.

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