UTair accepted the first Mil Mi-171A2 on May 24. Speaking at the ceremony, held at HeliRussia 2018 in Moscow, Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky called the event “another milestone” for the Mi-171A2 project after the “A” type certification in August last year and an approval for extended temperature envelope in January 2018 permitting operations in extreme cold conditions, down to -50 degrees Celsius. “I hope that Russia’s largest commercial rotorcraft operator will operate this helicopter successfully and thus give a positive signal to the whole market for helicopter services,” he said.
Head of UTair group Andrei Martirosov expressed hope that cooperation with the local manufacturers will reach a new height with the induction of the Mi-171A2 into service. “We work to ensure further development of the domestic manufacturers in the way of new promising projects. The Mi-171A2 represents a new direction for our coordinated efforts,” he said.
Last year, UTair signed a contract for two of the helicopters, becoming the launch customer and first operator of this new type. The second is at the plant in Ulan-Ude, being prepared for delivery in June.
In addition, UTair signed with Russian Helicopters on joint promotion of the Mi-171A2 in the Russian market. Among other things, the memo calls for setting up a maintenance support base and improving the manufacturer’s documentation on how to operate the new type.
The Mi-171A2 is a next step in the evolution of the prodigal Mi-8/17 series. The crew is reduced to two pilots thanks to the KBO-17 digital avionics suite with a glass cockpit. The Klimov VK-2500PS-03 Fadec-equipped turboshaft engines and a new rotor system provide for higher speeds and greater payload.