A new variant of Russian Helicopters’ Mi-171 designed specifically for the needs of offshore energy operators has made its first flight. Test pilots Alexander Klimov and Vladimir Kutanin put the Mi-171A3 through an initial 15-minute test card that included short vertical maneuvers while turning and moving the helicopter in all directions at various speeds.
The development of the Mi-171A3 began in 2018. The latest helicopter fully complies with the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers standards and meets the increased requirements for promoting the safety of flights over water. The A3 is designed to carry up to 24 passengers, has a maximum range of 540 nm, and is designed to operate in extreme climates in a temperature range from -58F to 120F. It is equipped with a full suite of digital avionics and automatic flight control systems.
The project was underwritten in part with a $14 million investment from the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. “The modern and competitive Mi-171A3 helicopter was developed in record time: the state contract for the development of a helicopter modification designed for flights to offshore platforms was signed by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade with the (Russian Helicopters) Holding in 2020,” said Russian industry and trade minister Denis Manturov.
Russian Helicopters estimates market demand for the new variant to be 100 units by 2035, according to Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Russian Helicopters’ parent company, Rostec State Corp. The final assembly of the Mi-171A3 will take place at the Ulan-Ude aviation plant with fuselage components from Kazan Helicopters.