Tag Archives: World Record for Greatest Mass Carried to a Height of 2000 Meters

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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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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27 June 1988

Boeing 747-400 N401PW lifts off the runway at Moses Lake, Washington. (Boeing)
Boeing 747-400 N401PW lifts off the runway at Moses Lake, Washington. (Boeing)

27 June 1988: During flight testing of the first Boeing 747-400 airliner, N401PW, serial number 23719, test pilots James C. Loesch and Howard B. Greene took off from Moses Lake, Washington and climbed to an altitude of 2,000 meters (6,562 feet). The total weight of the airplane was 405,659 kilograms (894,325 pounds). This set a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Greatest Mass Carried to a Height of 2,000 Meters.¹

N401PW, the first Boeing 747-400 airliner. (Boeing)
N401PW, the first Boeing 747-400 airliner. (Boeing)

The 747-400 was a major development of the 747 series. It had many structural and electronics improvements over the earlier models, which had debuted 18 years earlier. New systems, such as a “glass cockpit”, flight management computers, and new engines allowed it to be flown with a crew of just two pilots, and the position of Flight Engineer became unnecessary. The most visible features of the –400 are its longer upper deck and the six-foot tall “winglets” at the end of each wing, which improve aerodynamic efficiency be limiting the formation of wing-tip vortices. At the time of its first flight, Boeing had already received orders for 100 747-400s. It would become the most popular version, with 694 aircraft built by the time production came to an end 15 March 2007.

The Boeing 747-400 airliner can carry between 416 and 524 passengers, depending on configuration. It is 231 feet, 10 inches (70.663 meters) long with a wingspan of 211 feet, 5 inches (64.440 meters) and overall height of 63 feet, 8 inches (19.406 meters). Empty weight is 394,100 pounds (178,761 kilograms). Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is 875,000 pounds (396,893 kilograms). While the prototype was powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW4056 turbofan engines, production airplanes could be ordered with PW4062, General Electric CF6 or Rolls-Royce RB211 engines, providing thrust ranging from 59,500 to 63,300 pounds. The –400 has a cruise speed of 0.85 Mach (567 miles per hour, 912 kilometers per hour) and maximum speed of 0.92 Mach (614 miles per hour, 988 kilometers hour). Maximum range at maximum payload weight is 8,355 miles (13,446 kilometers).

Northwest Airlines' Boeing 747-451 N661US on approach to Osaka Kansai International Airport, 11 June 2007. (Photograph courtesy of Dennis Lau)
Northwest Airlines’ Boeing 747-451 N661US on approach to Osaka Kansai International Airport, 11 June 2007. (Photograph courtesy of Dennis Lau)

After the test program was completed, the prototype 747-400 was outfitted for airline service configured as a 747-451. It was operated by Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines. It was been re-registered as N661US, and carries the Delta fleet number 6301.

Boeing 747-451 N661US, Delta Air Lines, landing at Tokyo-Narita International Airport, 25 July 2009. (Photograph courtesy of Kazuchika Naya)
Boeing 747-451 N661US, Delta Air Lines, landing at Tokyo-Narita International Airport, 25 July 2009. (Photograph courtesy of Kazuchika Naya)

N661US flew its last revenue flight 9 September 2015, from Honolulu (HNL) to Atlanta (ATL). It was then withdrawn from service. The first 747-400 is on display at the Delta Flight Museum near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia.

¹ FAI Record File Number 2203

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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