Russians To Vie for EASA Certification of VRT500 Single

 - April 10, 2019, 3:10 PM
Russian Helicopters is displaying a mock-up of its VRT500 at Milan's Design Month. Flight testing is expected to begin next year.

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.