Length: 40 m (131.2 ft.)
Height: 8.14 m (26.7 ft.)
Weight: 28.2 t
Main Rotor Diameter: 32 m (104.9 ft.)
Engines: 2 x ZMKB Progress D136 turboshafts
Maximum Speed: 295 km/h (183.3 mph)
Service Ceiling: 4.6 km (15,091 ft.)
Range: 952 km (1,212.9 mi)
The Mil Mi-26 (NATO designation Halo) is a twin-turbine, heavy-lift helicopter and the world’s largest production helicopter. Development of this helicopter began in the 1970 with the goal of creating a helicopter with a load capacity twice the size of any other contemporary helicopter. The first Mi-26 prototype flew in December of 1977 and then made its first public appearance at the Paris Air Show in 1981. Russian squadrons first received the Mi-26 in 1982, but they were not considered fully operation in 1983. India became the first country to purchase the aircraft, followed by twenty other countries.
The Mi-26 “Halo” has a load capacity of comparable with that of a C-130 transport plane. With the rear ramp closed, its cargo area measures 12-meters long and 3.2-meters wide with a ceiling height of 2.9 meters. It can carry two combat vehicles weighing in at up to 9,988 kilograms each. This interior space may also be configured to seat 80 combat-equipped troops or 60 stretchers. The Mi-26 is flown and operated by a crew of four: pilot, copilot, flight engineer, and navigator.
The landing gear of the Mi-26 is a non-retractable tricycle-type with a steerable nose wheel. The main gear may be hydraulically adjusted to facilitate loading through the rear door. This feature is also used and adjusted when landing on varied surfaces. Sensors, which are attached to each of the main gears, determine takeoff weight; it is then displayed at the flight engineer’s station at liftoff. The retractable tailskid gives the helicopter unobstructed accessibility to the rear cargo-loading door.
The “Halo” is the first helicopter to successfully fly with a main rotor with eight blades. The rotor is 32 meters in diameter and is made of a composite of aluminum alloys that are edged with titanium. The tail rotor and main rotor head are both made of titanium. Two 10,000-horsepower ZMKB Progress D-136 turboshaft engines power the Mi-26.
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