Tag Archives: Mil Design Bureau

6 August 1969

One of the two Mil Design Bureau V-12 heavy lift helicopter prototypes, 1971. (Groningen Airport-Eelde)

6 August 1969: The largest helicopter ever built, the four-engine, transverse tandem rotor Mil V-12, registration CCCP-21142, lifted a payload of 88,636 pounds (44,205 kilograms) to an altitude of 7,400 feet (2,255 meters). This weight record has never been broken by any helicopter.

FAI Record File Num #9916 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – current record
Region: World
Class: E (Rotorcraft)
Sub-Class: E-1 (Helicopters)
Category: General
Group: 2 : turbine
Type of record: Altitude with 35 000 kg payload
Performance: 2 255 m
Date: 1969-08-06
Course/Location: Podmoskovnoe (USSR)
Claimant Vasily Kolochenko (URS)
Crew L.V. VLASSOV, V.V. JURAVLEV, V.P. BARTCHENKOV, S.G. RIBALKO, A.I. KRUTCHKOV
Rotorcraft: MIL M-12 (V-12)
Engines: 4 Soloviev D-25 VF

FAI Record File Num #9917 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – current record
Region: World
Class: E (Rotorcraft)
Sub-Class: E-1 (Helicopters)
Category: General
Group: 2 : turbine
Type of record: Altitude with 40 000 kg payload
Performance: 2 255 m
Date: 1969-08-06
Course/Location: Podmoskovnoe (USSR)
Claimant Vasily Kolochenko (URS)
Crew L.V. VLASSOV, V.V. JURAVLEV, V.P. BARTCHENKOV, S.G. RIBALKO, A.I. KRUTCHKOV
Rotorcraft: MIL M-12 (V-12)
Engines: 4 Soloviev D-25 VF

FAI Record File Num #9937 [Direct Link]
Status: ratified – superseded since approved
Region: World
Class: E (Rotorcraft)
Sub-Class: E-1e (Helicopters: take off weight 3000 to 4500 kg)
Category: General
Group: 2 : turbine
Type of record: Greatest mass carried to height of 2 000 m
Performance: 40 204.5 kg
Date: 1969-08-06
Course/Location: Podmoskovnoe (USSR)
Claimant Vasily Kolochenko (URS)
Crew L.V. VLASSOV, V.V. JURAVLEV,V.P. BARTCHENKO,S.G. RIBALKO,A.I. KRUTCHKOV
Rotorcraft: MIL M-12 (V-12)
Engines: 4 Soloviev D-25 VF

This was the first of two prototypes built by the Mil Design Bureau. (Both had the same registration number: 21142.) It was intended to transport intercontinental ballistic missiles and load them directly into underground silos where there were no existing roads. The V-12 used two main rotor, transmission and twin engine systems from the single rotor Mil-6 helicopter. With counter-rotating main rotors, the torque created by each rotor system is cancelled out, eliminating the need for a tail, or anti-torque, rotor. This makes the total power produced available for lift. Each rotor had a diameter of 114 feet, 10 inches (35 meters). The four Soloviev D-25VF turboshaft engines combined to produce 26,000 horsepower. The aircraft was operated by a six-man crew. It’s maximum takeoff weight was 231,500 pounds (105,000 kilograms). It had a range of 310 miles (500 kilometers). Maximum speed of the V-12 was 140 knots (260 kilometers per hour) and the service ceiling was 11,500 feet (3,500 meters).

The helicopter was not put into series production. The record-setting first prototype is at the Mikhail Leontyevich Mil helicopter factory at Panki-Tomilino, near Moscow.

World Record Mil Mi-12 at Tomolino.
World Record holding Mil Mi-12 at Tomolino. (Yuriy Lapitskyi)

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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2 February 1982

An Aeroflot Mil Mi-26 at Farnborough, 1984.
An Aeroflot Mil Mi-26 at Farnborough, 1984. (MilborneOne)

2–4 February 1982: Over a three-day period, several flight crews set a series of Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) payload-to-altitude world records at Podmoskovnoe. They flew an OKB Mil Design Bureau Mi-26 heavy lift helicopter.

Летчик-испытатель Г.Р.Карапетян в кабине вертолета Ми-26. (Test pilot GR Karapetyan in the cockpit of the Mi-26 helicopter.)

On 2 February, Gurgen Rubenovich Karapetian and Y. Chapaev flew to 6,400 meters (20,997 feet) with a 10,000 kilogram (22,046.2 pound) payload.¹

The OKB Mil Design Bureau’s Mi-26 is the world’s largest helicopter. It is a twin-engine, single main rotor/tail rotor helicopter with fixed tricycle landing gear. It is normally operated by two pilots, a navigator, flight engineer and flight technician, and can carry as many as 90 passengers.

The Mi-26 has an overall length with rotors turning of 40.025 meters (131 feet, 3.8 inches) and height of 8.145 meters (26 feet, 8.7 inches). The main rotor has a diameter of 32.00 meters (104 feet, 11.8 inches). The helicopter has an empty weight of 28,200 kilograms (62,170 pounds) and maximum takeoff weight of 56,000 kilograms (123,459 pounds).

The eight-blade fully-articulated main rotor system turns clockwise at 132 r.p.m. (the advancing blade is on the left). A five-blade tail rotor is mounted on the right side of a pylon in a pusher configuration. The tail rotor turns clockwise as seen from the helicopter’s left side (the advancing blade is below the axis of rotation).

Power is supplied by two Lotarev D-136 turboshaft engines producing 8,500 kW (11,399 shaft horsepower), each.

The cruise speed of the Mi-26 is 255 kilometers per hour (158 miles per hour) and maximum speed is 295 kilometers per hour (183 miles per hour). The hover ceiling, out of ground effect (HOGE), is 1,800 meters (5,905 feet), and the service ceiling is 4,600 meters (15,092 feet), though on 2 February 1982, test pilot Gurgen Karapetyan, who flew with Grishchenko at Chernobyl, flew an Mi-26 to 6,400 meters (20,997 feet) carrying a 10,000 kilogram (22,046 pound) payload.¹ The maximum payload is 20,000 kilograms (44,092 pounds). The helicopter’s range, carrying an 18,000 kilogram (39,683 pounds) payload is 670 kilometers (416 miles).

The Mi-26 first flew in 1977. Production began in 1980. The helicopter remains in service with both military and civil operators.

Gurgen Rubenovich Karapetyan, Hero of the Soviet Union
Gurgen Rubenovich Karapetyan, Hero of the Soviet Union.

Gurgen Rubenovich Karapetyan (Гурген Рубенович Карапетян) was born 9 December 1936 in what is now Ekaterinberg, Sverdlovsk, Russia. He learned to fly a Polikarkpov Po-2 (NATO identifier, “Mule”) at the Sverdlovsk flying club at the age of 15.

Karapetyan served in the Soviet Air Force from 1956 to 1963. His rank was first lieutenant. An uncle advised him to attend the Moscow Aviation Institute, and he graduated in 1961. He worked as an engineer at Mil Design Bureau and then attended test pilot school. From 1962 to 1993, Karapetyan was a test pilot for the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, becoming the chief test pilot in 1974.

Gurgen Rubenovich Karapetyan

In April 1986, along with Anatoly Demyanovich Grishchenko, Gurgen Karapetyan flew a Mil Mi-26 helicopter dropping loads of sand and wet cement on the wreckage of the Chernobyl Reactor Number 4, which had been destroyed by an explosion. Carrying 15 ton loads suspended from an 800-foot (244 meters) cable, they made repeated trips while flying through the radioactive gases released from the plant. Grishchenko later died as a result of radiation exposure.

On 24 January 1993, President Mikhail Gorbachev named Karapetyan a Hero of the Soviet Union. He was twice awarded the Order of Lenin, and is an Honored Test Pilot of the Soviet Union.

Gurgen Karapetyan has set 10 world records in helicopters. He has flown more than 5,500 hours in 39 helicopter types. Now retired, he lives in Moscow.

¹ FAI Record File Number 9902

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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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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