The world’s heaviest-lifting commercial helicopter, the Mi-26T, produced by Russian Helicopters (part of State Corporation Rostec) has successfully completed a mission to transport the 14-tonne fuselage of a Mi-26 military transport helicopter from Yoshkar-Ola to Rostov-on-Don. The Mi-26(T) helicopter is the only model able to fly while carrying cargo this size and weight. The fuselage was transported by Rostvertol-Avia for repair work as ordered by Experimental Design Bureau Rostov-Mil.
“The operation to transport the fuselage took nine days,” Rostvertol-Avia Airlines’ crew commander Valery Chumakov said. “The route passed through Cheboksary, Ulyanovsk, Saransk, Penza, Saratov, Kamyshin, Volgograd, and Volgodonsk. There were various weather conditions along the route – from winter to summer – but that did not cause any difficulties. I have been working on Mi-26Ts for over 15 years and can say with confidence that this helicopter is ideally suited to operations like this.”
Similar operations, to transport several helicopter fuselages to Rostvertol locations for further repair work, were carried out in 2009. Thanks to these and other operations the Mi-26T has proved to be the most effective, and in some cases the only possible, way to transport large cargo boasting complex dimensions internally in its internal cabin or on its external sling from a range of remote locations.
Mi-26 helicopters are also used to transport paratroopers, the sick and injured, to deliver fuel and extinguish fires. Preparatory work is currently underway at Rostvertol for the series production of the upgraded Mi-26T – the Mi-26T2 helicopter with reduced crew and the latest avionics. These modernisations significantly increase flight safety, improve its ergonomics, and facilitate the work of the helicopter crew.