Russian Helicopters will apply for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for its VRT500 coaxial helicopter this year and begin flight testing in 2020, according to company VR-Technologies general manager Alexander Okhonko. Russian Helicopters said serial production could begin as early as 2021 at its Ulan-Ude helicopter aviation plant at Buryatia in Siberia.
Russian Helicopters is presenting a mockup of the VRT500 light single at Milan Design Week, which runs through this weekend. The mockup is being displayed by ItalDesign, a previously unannounced development partner on the project. The five-passenger, single-engine VRT500 is being designed to achieve a top forward speed of 134 knots, a maximum range of 464 nm, and a payload of 1,600 pounds. It is intended to compete with the Bell 505 and Robinson R66.
The coaxial design features two three-blade main rotors with shaped carbon-fiber blades to cut noise emissions, extensive composite construction, glass-panel avionics, and sliding rear cabin doors. Plans call for its turboshaft engine to be Western-sourced, possibly from Safran. In 2017, Russian Helicopters received major financing from Russia's state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB) for the project.