A Russian Surprise

 - October 9, 2007, 4:21 AM

Making its surprise debut at last month’s MAKS airshow just outside Moscow, Kazan Helicopters’ Aktai is a roomy three-seat trainer with an aft cargo cabin similar to Western pickup trucks’ so-called “crew cabs.” Powered by a single 270-shp VAZ 4256 turboshaft, the Aktai has a mtow of 2,530 pounds, 97-knot max speed and a 13,000-foot ceiling. A surprisingly substantial rotorcraft for a trainer, the Aktai will be priced at less than $950,000 and make its first flight early next year, with Russian certification preceding European approval.