Russian Helicopters demonstrated three versions of the Mi-38, including baseline for 30 passengers, military for 20 armed soldiers, and VIP for eight travelers (up to 11 optionally) at the MAKS 2019 show that ran from August 17 to September 1. The manufacturer characterizes the latter as “the first serial example with higher comfort cabin.”
The Mi-38 won type certification in December 2015, according to which this helicopter with a 15.6-tonne gross weight can carry a five-tonne cargo over a distance of up to 1,300 km. Two years later, the helicopter won a supplement permitting passenger transportation.
At MAKS 2019, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency “Rosaviatsiya” awarded the manufacturer a document approving “major change to the type certificate” for the VIP version. The civil aviation authority also issued approval for installation of reworked air conditioning system for the passenger and cargo cabin.
Speaking at the ceremony, Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky said: “The certification of the Mi-38 in the version dubbed the Saloon opens new perspectives for the type in the domestic and export markets. We are demonstrating this version for the first time at this year’s MAKS. Soon thereafter, this machine will go to a Russian buyer. We also expect foreign customers to turn up.”
On another occasion, Boginsky added: “The Mi-38 is a next step forward for the local industry. The combination of flight performance, fuel consumption, and payload-range capabilities make this type interesting for commercial and governmental operators. Testing of the Mi-38 with a higher comfort cabin has been completed, and we are ready to commence shipments of such helicopters. Negotiations are in progress with a leasing company to support their sales.”
In an official statement, Russian Helicopters highlighted recent improvements to the baseline design that include refined aerodynamic shaping of the fuselage and engine cowling, as well as reshaped shields on the main rotor mast and swashplate.
During MAKS 2019, two Mi-38s flew in a larger formation and occasionally performed a solo lasting up to five minutes.