The Mil Mi-38 testbed (Image © Russian Helicopters)

Russian chopper of the year: the Mi-38

With loads of flashy fighter jets, robust airlifters and hot looking attack helicopters around it is not easy to compete for fame. But meet the Russian helicopter of the year: the Mil Mi-38 designed for moving cargo and passengers.

The Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant won the Aviation Builder of the Year award on October 31st, 2013, for achievements in developing this new aircraft and its components by the non-commercial Russian Union of Aviation Industrialist. And although the Mi-38 looks unmistakeably like its family members, even we at AIRheads↑Fly feel it looks … rather cool.

The Mi-38 has been developed as a multi-role helicopter. For Russian standards it has a progressive construction and is noted by experts for the integrated architecture of its on-board equipment. The main parts of the Mi-38’s fuselage are made of aluminium alloys, and other parts and fixtures are made of steel, titanium and composite materials. The X-shaped tail rotor is supposed to give the Mi-38 better manoeuverability than the Mi-8/17s with which it might compete in future orders. A six-blade main rotor ensures a high tractive force and a low vibration level. The blades are made of composite materials and equipped with an anti-icing system. The hub construction uses elastomeric bearings which do not require lubrication.

The great thing about Russian helicopters like the new Mi-38 is that they are designed to operate in a wide range of climatic conditions and can be stored outdoors. Although the American Sikorsky Black Hawks will be roughly able to do the same, it is not a given thing if one looks to some of the western European products like the Aérospatiale (Eurocopter) Cougar and NH90.

The Mi-38 is to go into serial production in 2015 and the work on the chopper so far has already created high hopes for a big demand. The Mi-38 is primarily designed for the civilian market, but seems already perfect for several government, semi-military aviation units and the offshore industry.

© 2013 Marcel Burger with source information from Russian Helicopters

The Mil Mi-38 testbed (Image © Russian Helicopters)
The Mil Mi-38 testbed (Image © Russian Helicopters)