Russian Medium Twin Helo Program Resumes
Russian Helicopters (RH) said its second prototype of the Mi-38 medium twin started flight testing last week, an indication the program is resuming after a hiatus of several years. The aircraft performed seven hover and low-speed flights. The first prototype flew in 2003 and the RH subsidiaries involved (Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant and Kazan Helicopters) had provided no update since. The construction of the second prototype has taken into account the 80 flights the first one had completed, according to an RH spokesman. The hydraulic and fuel systems have been upgraded and the main rotor blades modified. The controls now have spring-feel mechanisms. Handling and stability are said to be improved. The Mi-38 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127/TS engines; Klimov TV7-117Vs will also be offered. AIN understands Eurocopter and avionics specialist Thales, once involved in the program, have walked away from it. The 34,400-pound-mtow Mi-38, pitched at civil markets such as aerial work, executive transportation and offshore operations, has seating capacity for 30.