19 September 1969

The first prototype V-24 which first flew September 19, 1969.. (From "Russian Gunship Helicopters" by Yefim Gordon, Page 6)
The first prototype V-24. The stub wings are nearly horizontal. (Image from “Russian Gunship Helicopters,” by Yefim Gordon, Pen and Sword Aviation 2013, at Page 6)
Алфёров Герман Витальевич
Алфёров Герман Витальевич

19 September 1969: After four days of testing in a tethered hover, OKB Mil Design Bureau test pilot Herman V. Alferov made the first free flight of the prototype Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter, V-24.

Designed by a team led by Chief Project Engineer V. A. Kuznetsov, the Mi-24 used the drive train of the Mil Mi-8 Hip-B/C transport and Mi-14 Haze-A anti-submarine helicopters. It had a five-blade main rotor. a three-blade tail rotor and was equipped with retractable tricycle landing gear.

The Mi-24 (named “Hind” by NATO forces) was operated by a pilot and a weapons system operator seated in tandem configuration, with the pilot slightly offset to the left. The gunner is in the forward position. It differed from the American Bell AH-1G Cobra attack helicopter in that it could carry 8 troops or 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) of cargo in a center fuselage compartment.

Prototype V-24 during test flight. (Unattributed)
Prototype V-24 during test flight. (Unattributed)

The Mi-24 is 17.5 meters (57 feet, 5 inches) long, 6.5 meters (21 feet 4 inches) high, with a main rotor diameter of 17.3 meters (56 feet, 9 inches). As is standard practice with Soviet helicopters, the five-blade main rotor turns clockwise as seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the left.) The tail rotor diameter is 3.9 meters (12 feet, 9½ inches).

The entire fuselage is tilted 2° 30′ (and thus, the transmission, mast and main rotor) to the right to counteract the rotor system’s translating tendency, and helps with high-speed stability.

In early versions, the tail rotor was mounted on the right side in pusher configuration and rotated counter-clockwise as seen from the left. (The advancing blade is above the axis of rotation.) Because of poor handling conditions, the tail rotor was changed to the left side in tractor configuration, with the advancing blade below the hub.

The helicopter’s empty weight is 8,500 kilograms (18,739 pounds) and loaded weight is 12,000 kilograms (26,455 pounds).

Power is supplied by two Isotov TV3-117 turboshaft engines rated at 1,700 shaft horsepower, or 2,200 horsepower for takeoff or one engine inoperative emergency operation.

The Mi-24 has a maximum speed of 335 kilometers per hour (208 miles per hour) and range of 450 kilometers (280 miles). The service ceiling is 4,500 meters (14,764 feet).

Armament consists of a turret-mounted Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 23mm cannon with 450 rounds of ammunition. Air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles are carried on pylons mounted under the helicopter’s stub wings.

More than 5,200 Mi-24 attack helicopters have been built, many of them exported. It is estimated that the cost of an individual helicopter is $32,500,000.

Prototype Mil Mi-24 helicopter, which first flew September 19, 1974. (Russian Helicopters photo)
“Red 77,” the prototype Mil Mi-24A helicopter. Note the anhedral of the wings. (Russian Helicopters photo)

Herman V. Alferov (Алфёров Герман Витальевич)—also known as G.V. Alferov or German V. Alferov—was born at Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R., 11 April 1934. He graduated from the 3rd Moscow Flying Club in 1950, and from 1952 to 1954 was a flight instructor at the Central Aeroclub Chkalov. In 1954,  He graduated from the Voluntary Society of Assistance to the Air Force (DOSAAF) central flight technical school at Saransk in the Mordovian Autonomous Oblast.

Alferov was employed as a test pilot at OKB Mil in Moscow from 1954 until 1982, and remained with the flight test center until 1992. He participated in setting 11 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world helicopter records, and was named an Honored Test Pilot of the Soviet Union, 16 November 1973. In 1977, he was awarded the Order of the October Revolution, twice received the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and twice the Order of the Red Star.

Herman V. Alferov died 19 January 2012.

Herman V. Alferov with a Mil Mi-4 helicopters.
Herman V. Alferov with a Mil Mi-4 helicopter, circa 1960. (Unattributed)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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1 thought on “19 September 1969

  1. As a college kid in 1980 I remember the vivid NBC Nightly news reports where the Hind was depicted as a lethal and intimidating weapon, almost a super-weapon for the Soviets in the air over Afghanistan.
    Which puts me in the mind of all the coverage I read from 1972 to 1976 over the highly-touted and mysterious and seemingly super duper Super Fighter, the MiG-25 Foxbat.
    Ironically a boy who lived down the lane of my neighborhood who was 5 or 6 years older than me eventually went to the USAF Air Force Academy and graduated with honors and became an F-15 Eagle pilot. I forget the years. I wonder if he dreamed of dogfighting the mysterious Foxbat in his mighty Eagle. Teenage memories.

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