The Mi-8 is a legendary Soviet multi-purpose helicopter developed by the Mil Design Bureau, the most popular and recognizable twin-engine helicopter in the world’s military and civil aviation. The helicopter has found its wide use in more than 50 countries of the world, performing at that moment the tasks assigned to it.
It is hard to believe that the history of the helicopter began in the second half of the 50s of the last century and after several decades the aircraft has not lost its relevance and still uses its potential, laid down many years ago, and continues to fly in the world of modern technologies and inventions.
The machine replaced the Mi-4 helicopter, the modernized helicopter became twin-engine, radically changing the design of the fuselage, possibly with the exception of the tail boom and rear wheelbase. The country’s leadership set the task of developing a more functional helicopter, with increased power and speed reserves, carrying capacity, passenger capacity, a more durable, reliable and safe military transport helicopter.
The first prototype was equipped with a single turboshaft engine and flew in the summer of 1961. The second prototype of the helicopter took off after 1 year, in September 1962, equipped with two turboshaft power plants, which entered the subsequent mass production of the Mi-8T in 1965, less than 10 years from the start of development. In 1975, the helicopter underwent modernization and began to be produced under the Mi-8MT marking, known as the Mi-17 for export production. The engines were replaced with more powerful ones, hence the new main gearbox. The designers have strengthened the fuselage, the helicopter received a tail rotor from the Mi-14 amphibious helicopter, a number of systems and components have been modified to improve flight performance.
The Mi-8 helicopter is a unique machine capable of transforming for various purposes. The main task is the transportation of passengers and cargo to generally accepted and hard-to-reach places and areas. The helicopter flies day and night, in a wide range of overboard temperatures, as well as in difficult and extremely difficult meteorological conditions.
With the passenger layout of the cabin, it is able to take on board the provided 28 passengers, taking into account the weight of luggage up to 15 kg for each, a total of 420 kg, and in the absence of luggage, more passengers. With such a load, the board is able to cover a distance of up to 500-600 kilometers.
It’s hard to believe, but in the modification for air ambulance, in the medical version, the Eight is capable of transporting up to 12 bedridden patients on a stretcher, in comparison with the Eurocopter 145, which provides 2 lying places. But here you need to understand the difference in the medical equipment on board, since the 145th car is a full-fledged flying ambulance, a hospital in the air. But if we do not take into account the equipment and understand that transportation does not have a long time interval, then the number of simultaneously transported patients who do not require hardware support can play a decisive role.
Due to its flight characteristics, powerful engines, 5-bladed main and 3-bladed tail rotor with a heated leading edge, the familiar Eurocopter and Robinson do not have a heating system for the main and tail rotors, the Mi-helicopter is capable of lifting 3 tons of payload or 4 tons with less amount of fuel, while the maximum take-off weight should not exceed 12/13 tons. The weight of an empty helicopter in different modifications varies between 6900-7500 tons, fuel weight in the range of 2300-2700 liters. For this purpose, the helicopter is equipped with 4 fuel tanks: expendable 415 liters, left outboard 750 liters (extended 1130 l.), right outboard 680 liters (expanded 1040 l.) and additional tank 915 liters. in the cargo compartment.
The heart of a helicopter is its engine. On the Mi-8 helicopter, in most models and its extreme modifications, 2 x TV3-117VM / A are installed with a capacity of 2400/2800 l / s in emergency, 2200/2500 l / s takeoff and 1500/1750 l / s in cruising modes, and the dependencies from modification 117ВМ/117ВМА with a resource of 7500 hours. It is pleasant to note the fact that the majority of engines for Mi-8 helicopters are produced in the city of Zaporozhye.
The helicopter develops a maximum declared speed of 250 km/h, cruising speed of 220 km/h. It is well piloted, moreover, there is an autopilot capable of keeping the helicopter moving along the course, roll, pitch with a deviation of only 0.5 – 1 degree and the barometric altitude deviates up to 6 meters, and at a speed of no more than 10 k /h. Helicopter autopilot is unique in that it can be used in parallel with manual piloting.
The Mi-8 helicopter is a unique aircraft that has earned its reputation for thousands of flight hours. Mi eighth is difficult not to recognize, it cannot be confused with anything. The helicopter has been widely used in Ukraine, in transport aviation and the armed forces, and works daily for the benefit of citizens.