First production Mi-38 set for delivery
The first production Mil Mi-38 helicopter has been declared ready for customer delivery and will be operated by Russian Helicopter Systems, a privately owned Russian commercial operator.
Outfitted with a VIP interior, approved by the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, the helicopter has received two approvals from the organisation to enable operations in a configuration with up to 11 seats. The first of the approvals covers the new interior and the second refers to the newly installed cabin air conditioning system.
According to Andrey Boginsky, director general at Russian Helicopters, the certification of the Mi-38 with the VIP interior, opens news prospects for delivery of the 15.6t helicopter to both domestic and international customers.
Russian Helicopter Systems will also carry out initial experimental operations, intended to cure the type’s teething troubles.
Boginsky also hinted that the Mi-38 handover is slated, at the latest, for October, also revealing that talks are currently underway with an unnamed leasing company to commit to an Mi-38 order.
The long-running Mi-38 is one of the premier civil aircraft programmes developed by the Russian rotorcraft industry, with its first flight reported in August 2004.
The initial test and certification effort of the type was reported to be successfully completed in December 2015.
Since then Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, the type’s design authority, has been working on expanding performance; including speed, maximum landing weight, temperature range and IFR operations, as well as adding autopilot and anti-icing system functionality - in an effort to make the Mi-38 fit for commercial operations.
The Mi-38 is also offered in a passenger version accommodating up to 30 passengers and when used for cargo transport it is able to carry up to 5t of payload inside the cabin or on external sling.
The launch customer for the military type is the Russian MoD which ordered two helicopters of the Mi-38T variant in 2017. The first of these, built at the Kazan Helicopter Plant, flew for the first time in November 2018.
The two helicopters, outfitted in a tactical transport configuration for up to 40 troops, will be used for testing and evaluation purposes by the Russian Air and Space Forces, which is subsequently expected to place large-scale orders.
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