Helicopter is a rotary-wing aircraft, in which the lifting force and thrust necessary for the flight are created by rotating the screws. The main advantage of the helicopter is its ability to vertically take off and land, as well as moving in any direction and hovering in one place.
Helicopters often rank not in physical dimensions, but in weight. The largest devices of this kind were built in the Soviet Union, they were designed to transport large loads to remote areas. We will tell below about the largest helicopters of our time, although some of them existed in the piece series.
The maximum take-off mass of the giant was 105 tons. According to NATO classification the device is called Homer, it is also customary to call it simply Mi-12. This largest helicopter ever built was developed in the USSR in the 1960s. The first flight took place in 1968, and in 1969 a record was held on the carrying capacity for devices of this class, not beaten until now – to an altitude of 2,255 meters was raised 44,205 kg. The design of the Mi-12 is quite unusual – two rotors are at the ends of the large wing. The diameter of the main rotors is 35 meters. As a result, the distance between the extreme points of the blades was as much as 67 meters, which is more than the span of the wings of the Boeing 747! For the lifting of the car in the air, there were 4 engines of 6500 hp each. The maximum speed of the helicopter is 260 km / h. The fuselage is made in the form of a giant semi-monocoque. In front of it there is a two-storeyed cabin for 6 people. In the tail there is a gangway for the entry of equipment and loading of goods. In the center of the fuselage is a huge cargo compartment with dimensions of 28.15 * 4.4 * 4.4 meters. In total, two prototypes of such an aircraft were built. The Mi-12 received several awards, even from the Americans, because it surpassed the existing analogues in size by a factor of two, and by weight, four times. Practical application of the helicopter was not specified – it was too big and difficult to maneuver. In addition, despite its record-carrying capacity, its initial assignment (transportation of strategic missile components to hard-to-reach places) was no longer required. New problems were successfully solved by other models. As a result, the apparatus became museum exhibits.
The design of the V-12 was found unsatisfactory for the current needs, the Mil Bureau received the assignment to design a new transport helicopter. His first flight took place in 1977. The car turned out to be much more compact than the predecessor, the maximum takeoff weight was 56 tons. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 295 km / h. Today it is the largest serial transport helicopter. In total, more than 270 such machines were built. Nicknames Mi-26 received “Halo” from NATO and the unofficial “Flying Cow”. A single-screw circuit with two motors is used here. The carrier screw has eight blades and 32 meters in diameter. In the transport-landing version of the helicopter can accommodate more than 100 people. There is a possibility of use in a sanitary version (up to 50 wounded on stretchers), it is possible to transport cargo on an external suspension. The helicopter was used in large scale during the war in Afghanistan, as well as in the liquidation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. Mi-26 took part in the Chechen wars, with the participation of the largest helicopter air crash in world history – in 2002, as a result of the crash of a car knocked down by militants, 127 people were killed. Based on the Mi-26 developed more than 15 modifications. The helicopter acts as a fireman, as an ambulance, a fighter against submarines and a tanker. Mi-26 with success serve also in other countries – Kazakhstan, India, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Peru.
The creation of this and the following apparatus paved the way for larger subsequent developments of the Mile-B-12 and Mi-26 bureaus. In the second half of the 1950s, the Luna missile systems were adopted in the USSR, a heavy transport helicopter was required for their transportation.They became a Mi-6 gas turbine, which was launched into the air in 1957. The carrying capacity of the device was 44 tons, this was achieved by using two engines of 5500 hp each. The crew consisted of 5 people. The diameter of the screw was the same 35 meters, the same will be used later on the B-12. At that time, the helicopter, nicknamed “Hook”, was the largest in the world, putting in addition a number of records and speed. The maximum speed of the helicopter is 304 km / h. For its time, it was a very successful model, as evidenced by the construction of 860 vehicles in the period from 1960 to 1981. They were used mainly by the Soviet Air Force and civil Aeroflot. Today such a device is still in operation in a number of allied countries and heirs of the USSR. The helicopter has been used for more than 40 years, the number of veteran vehicles is gradually decreasing. But despite the age, the Mi-6 remains a remarkable model, one of the largest production helicopters.
This device is a worthy member of the family of its mentioned brethren. The helicopter, with a total mass of 38 tons, was in essence a narrowly specialized version of the Mi-6, it was called the flying crane. The device was introduced in 1963, the main goal was the same – the transportation of cruise and ballistic missiles. The Mi-6 adopted a power plant and a control scheme, but a new fuselage was created. A wide version of the predecessor was replaced by a narrower and lower one. Transportation of passengers was no longer the goal, although there could still be 28 people. The vacant seat could be used for additional fuel tanks. The fuselage also had remarkable 4 chassis racks, widely spaced and with increased length. Two schemes of fastening cargoes were used here: grapples (for containers with rockets) or on a cargo platform between the chassis. In total, about 55 such helicopters were built, due to the design features they were not widely used, and the main part of the functions was able to perform Mi-6. A modification with shorter legs was also created, especially for construction and assembly works, Mi-6 was also used as a direction finder and a jammer. The maximum speed of the helicopter is rather low – 190 km / h.
The fifth largest helicopter was built in the US, being the largest of those created in America. Model CH-53E Super Stallion is an enlarged previously created CH-53, for this in the design was added a third engine. The maximum weight of the device in flight is 33,340 kg. Initially, this heavy helicopter was developed for the US Marine Corps, but it was also used in the Navy, the Navy and allied countries. The carrier screw has about 24 meters in diameter, and power is provided by 3 engines of 4380 hp each. The crew of 5 pilots, and the helicopter can carry up to 55 people. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 315 km / h. The first flight took place in 1974, the whole fleet acquired 177 such vehicles. The helicopter is equipped with a night vision system, infrared surveillance, machine guns. Today, the CH-53E is also used in the Japanese Navy. It is noteworthy that the accident rate of this helicopter model is 2 times higher than the average. In the near future, the introduction of the CH-53K model with even more powerful engines and take-off weight up to 38420 kg is planned, which will allow to overtake the Mi-10.
This model is a variant of the popular CH-47 Chinook helicopter, which was also developed in the USA. The family began to be developed in the 1950s, and from the beginning of the 1960s it became widespread. In total, more than 1000 Chinooks have been built to date, models based on them are still produced. So, one of the most successful series of military helicopters of great payload appeared. Here there is a long and spacious fuselage, which is equipped with two engines of 5000 hp. and screws of 18 meters. Helicopters of this type are widely used for the transport of heavy military equipment and artillery, the supply of remote objects.The main consumers are the British Air Force and the US Army, but the CH-47 helicopters have been sold to more than 20 countries, and they have also been used by civilian operators. Unlike the traditional CH-47 model with a take-off weight of up to 22680 kg, the MH-47E / G models can lift up to 24,495 kg. In the crew of 3 people, it is possible to transport up to 44 infantrymen or 24 wounded. The maximum speed of the helicopter is 295 km / h.
This is the first model of the Hughes division, which in its appearance looks something like the Mi-10. There are also 4 long legs of the chassis, which help to transport large oversized cargo under the fuselage. The two-blade propeller has a diameter of 40.8 meters, which is a record. The device has a maximum weight in flight of 22680 kg. This prototype began to be built in the late 40’s for the transport of goods weighing more than 15 tons. In 1952, the first flight took place, but in the course of the study it became clear that the construction is rather cumbersome and can not be widely used. In addition, the helicopter could be used in a small range – only up to 64 km. Parts of the helicopter were borrowed from planes – front wheels from B-25, rear wheels from C-54, fuel tank from B-29, and cab from Waco CG-15. The design of the helicopter meant a small tail rotor compared to the main one. The maximum speed was 145 km / h, in the crew was 3 people. Hughes even developed an enlarged H-28, which maximized up to 47 tons, but this project did not even end because of the failure of its predecessor, leaving only a wooden model.
Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe.
This modification of the helicopter also has the design of an “air crane”, like its predecessor XH-17. CH-54 was designed to transport large loads below the fuselage. The first flight of the car took place in 1962. Unusual for the helicopter is the diameter of the main rotor of 22 meters. The cab has windows on the back of the machine, which gives them the opportunity to receive useful information. CH-54 received a very efficient design, which is compatible with loads of various configurations. The maximum take-off weight here is 21,320 kg, the lift is carried out by two engines with a capacity of 4800 hp each. The maximum speed of the helicopter is 240 km / h. The helicopter was originally planned for use in the army. The machine’s capabilities were widely used in Vietnam, in particular for the export of downed aircraft. For the fire fighting and logging industry, a civilian model was developed called S-64 Skycrane. A total of 105 such helicopters were built, although they are not currently used by the military, but still perform civilian functions. Since the 1990s, the US Army CH-54 has completely transferred its responsibilities to the CH-47.