Tag Archives: OKB Mil Design Bureau

2 July 1990

Hero_of_the_Russian_Federation_obverse2 July 1990: At 10:20 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, Anatoly Demyanovich Grishchenko, Honored Test Pilot of the Soviet Union, and test pilot at the M.M. Gromov Flight Research Institute, Zhukovsky, Russia, died at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

For four days in April 1986, Anatoly Grischenko and Mil Design Bureau Chief Test Pilot Gurgen Karapetyan flew a Mil Mi-26 helicopter dropping loads of sand and wet cement on the wreckage of Reactor Number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine, which had been destroyed by an explosion. A mixture of sand, lead, clay and boron was dropped directly on the exposed reactor core. Carrying 15 ton loads suspended from an 200 meter (656 feet) cable, they made repeated trips while flying through the radioactive gases released from the plant. (Radiation measurements taken at 200 meters above the reactor exceeded 500 roentgens per hour.)

A Mil Mi-26 flies over Chernobyl complex, April 1986.

Grischenko suffered from radiation poisoning and later, leukemia. Four years later, Grischenko, along with his wife Galina, was brought to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, Washington, for medical treatment, on 11 April 1990. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments to destroy his own bone marrow. A 42-year-old woman from France had donated her marrow, which was flown directly to Seattle by British Airways.

Grischenko received the marrow transplant during a 7-hour procedure on 27 April—4 years and 1 day after his first flight over Chernobyl— but shortly thereafter, he contracted a lung infection.

On 12 June 1990, exploratory surgery was performed to find the cause of the infection. His condition worsened and he was placed on a respirator, but died on the evening of 2 July 1990.

On the Fourth of July, Independence Day, the most important holiday in America, national flags in the city of Seattle were lowered to half-mast to honor the memory of the heroic, self-sacrificing test pilot from Zhukovsky.

His remains were returned to Russia and buried at the Bykovskoe  Memorial Cemetery, Zhukovsky, Russia.

Following his death, the Flight Safety Foundation honored Grishchenko with the FSF Heroism Award, symbolized by the Graviner Sword.

On 27 February 1995, Anatoly Demyanovich Grishchenko was posthumously awarded the Gold Star of Hero of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin.

Award of Hero of the Russian Federation.
Award of Hero of the Russian Federation.
Анатолий Демьянович Грищенко (Anatoly Demyanovich Grishchenko) Memorial at Bykovskoe Memorial Cemetery, Zhukvsky, Russia.

Анатолий Демьянович Грищенко (Anatoly Demyanovich Grishchenko) was born in Leningrad, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, 24 August 1937. His father was there attending the S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy. On completion of his course of studies, the family returned to the Ukraine, where they were caught up in the Nazi invasion. He grew up in Lutsk, Lyubomi and Kovel, towns in Volyn Oblast, Ukraine.

Grishchenko began flying at the Central and Egoryevsky flying clubs in 1955. In 1959, he graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute. From 1959 to 1965, he was an engineer at the M.M. Gromov Flight Research Institute. He graduated from the Fedotov Test Pilot School in 1966. Grishchenko served as a test pilot at Gromov until 1987, and as an instructor at Fedotov.

Anatoly Grishchenko married Galina Melekhina. They would have two sons.

Mil Mi-26 dropping sand mixture at Chernobyl, 1987.

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 kiograms (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.

Mil Mi-26 RF-95572, 04 yellow, photographed in June 2013. (Alex Beltyukov via Wikipedia)
Mil Mi-26 RF-95572, 04 Yellow, photographed in June 2013. (Alex Beltyukov via Wikipedia)

¹ FAI Record File Number 9902

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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4 February 1982

An Aeroflot Mil Mi-26 at Farnborough, 1984.
An Aeroflot Mil Mi-26 at Farnborough, 1984.

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.

On 4 February, Colonel Sergey V. Petrov and A. Chetverik lifted 15,000 kilograms (33,069.4 pounds) to 5,600 meters (18,373 feet).¹ On the same day, A. Kholoupov flew the helicopter to 4,600 meters (15,092 feet) with a payload of 20,000 kilograms(44,092.5 pounds).²

The Mil Mi-26 (NATO code name: Halo) first flew on 25 October 1977. It is a twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter, normally operated by a flight crew of five, and can carry up to 90 passengers.

The Mi-26 is 40.025 meters (131 feet, 3¾ inches) long, with all rotors turning, and has a height of 8.145 meters (26 feet, 8¾ inches). The eight-bladed main rotor has a diameter of 32.00 meters (105 feet) and turns clockwise, as seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the left.) A five-bladed tail rotor is mounted on a pylon, to the right side of the aircraft, in a tractor configuration. It turns clockwise, as seen from the helicopter’s left.

The helicopter has an empty weight of 28,200 kilograms (62,170 pounds), gross weight of 49,600 kilograms (109,350 pounds) and maximum weight of 56,000 kilograms (123,450 pounds). The fuel capacity is 12,000 liters (3,200 gallons).

The Mi-26 is powered by two Lotarev D-136 turboshaft engines which are rated at 8,500 kW (11,299 shaft horsepower), each. It’s cruise speed is 255 kilometers per hour (158 miles per hour) and the maximum speed is 296 kilometers per hour (183 miles per hour). Range is 620 kilometers (385 miles). The service ceiling is 4,500 meters (14,765 feet).

320 Mil Mi-26 helicopters have been built.

Sergey Petrov
Colonel Sergey V. Petrov

Colonel Sergey V. Petrov, Ph.D., was born at Tsaritsin (now, Volgograd), 15 October 1923. He graduated from the Air Force Special School at Stalingrad in 1941. In 1942, 7th VASHPOL, and 1943, Krasnodar WOW. From 1943to 1946, Petrov was a flight instructor for the 6th Aviation Regiment and then an instructor at Stalingrad Military Aviation College. In 1954, Petrov graduated from the N.E. Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy.

From 1953 to 1984, Colonel Petrov was a test pilot at the Gosudarstvenny Krasnoznamyonnyy Air Force Scientific Research Institute. He flew the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-19SU rocket-boosted high-altitude interceptor and the MiG 21F, the L-29 Delfin jet trainer, as well as gliders and competition sail planes. Switching to helicopters, he tested the Mil Mi-6 PZh fire-fighting helicopter, Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopter and the Mi-26. He investigated Vortex Ring State in the Mi-8 and low-altitude autorotations in the Mi-2, Mi-4 and Mi-8. He also flew the aerobatic Yakovlev Yak-18P, the Yak-25 interceptor, the Antonov Ant-2, An-12, An-26 and Ilyushin Il-76 transports.

In 1976, Sergey Petrov was awarded the Lenin Prize, one of the the Soviet Union’s most prestigious honors.

Retiring from flight status in 1984, Colonel Petrov continued to work as an engineer at OKB Mil Design.

Sergey V. Petrov died 14 December 1998 at the age of 75 years. He had been awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and twice the Order of the Red Star. He was an Honored Test Pilot of the Soviet Union.

¹ FAI Record File Number 9904

² FAI Record File Number 9906

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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3 February 1982

An Aeroflot Mil Mi-26 at Farnborough, 1984.
An Aeroflot Mil Mi-26 at Farnborough, 1984.

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.

On 3 February 1982, flown by Ге́рман Вита́льевич Алфёров (Herman Vitalievich Alferov) and L.A. Indeev, the Mi-26 with an all-up weight of 56,768.8 kilograms (125,153.8 pounds) flew to a height of 2,000 meters (6,562 feet).¹ Later, they flew to a height of 4,100 meters (13,451 feet) with a payload of 25,000 kilograms (55,115.6 pounds).²

The Mil Mi-26 (NATO code name: Halo) first flew on 25 October 1977. It is a twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter, normally operated by a flight crew of five, and can carry up to 90 passengers.

The Mi-26 is 40.025 meters (131 feet, 3¾ inches) long, with all rotors turning, and has a height of 8.145 meters (26 feet, 8¾ inches). The eight-bladed main rotor has a diameter of 32.00 meters (105 feet) and turns clockwise, as seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the left.) A five-bladed tail rotor is mounted on a pylon, to the right side of the aircraft, in a tractor configuration. It turns clockwise, as seen from the helicopter’s left.

The helicopter has an empty weight of 28,200 kilograms (62,170 pounds), gross weight of 49,600 kilograms (109,350 pounds) and maximum weight of 56,000 kilograms (123,450 pounds). The fuel capacity is 12,000 liters (3,200 gallons).

The Mi-26 is powered by two Lotarev D-136 turboshaft engines which are rated at 8,500 kW (11,299 shaft horsepower), each. It’s cruise speed is 255 kilometers per hour (158 miles per hour) and the maximum speed is 296 kilometers per hour (183 miles per hour). Range is 620 kilometers (385 miles). The service ceiling is 4,500 meters (14,765 feet).

320 Mil Mi-26 helicopters have been built.

Г. В. Алфёров
Г. В. Алфёров

Herman Vitalievich Alferov (Ге́рман Вита́льевич Алфёров) was born at Moscow, U.S.S.R., 11 April 1934. He learned to fly at the Moscow Flying Club at the age of 16. I was a flight instructor at the Russian National Aeroclub Chkalov, the oldest flying club in Russia, from 1952 to 1954. He graduated from the DOSAAF flight/technical school at Saransk in 1954.

Alferov was a test pilot at OKB Mil Design Bureau from 1954 until 1982. He made the first flights of many Mil helicopters, including the Mi-1 KX  light helicopter in 1957, the first Soviet production turboshaft-powered helicopter, the heavy-lift Mi-6 (he was co-pilot), the twin-turboshaft Mi-2, Mi-10K flying crane, and the Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopter (co-pilot). He was the lead test pilot for the Mi-24 at the Arsenyev aviation plant at Aresenev, Primorski Krai, in the Russian Far East from 1970, and for the Mi-26 beginning in 1978.

Herman Vitalievich Alferov died at Moscow, Russia, 9 January 2012, at the age of 77 years. During his aviation career, he had been awarded the Order of the October Revolution, Order of the Red Banner of Labor (two awards), Order of the Red Star (two awards), Order of the Badge of Honor, and was named an Honored Test Pilot of the Soviet Union. He had participated in setting five FAI world records for helicopters.

¹ FAI Record File Number 9936

² FAI Record File Number 9909

© 2018, 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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