What do you imagine when you hear the phrase “flying crane”?
It would seem that everyone almost certainly imagines something surreal in his imagination – at least his own tap from the bathroom, hovering in the air. But a person who has been interested in aviation at least once in his life knows – talking about the legendary Mi-10 helicopter.
Although the production of the Mi-10 was only five years old and only two dozen of these cars were produced, it is still remembered as a record holder.
Kapralian Rafail Ivanovich
In particular, in 1965, the Mi-10, piloted by test pilot Rafail Kaprelyan, lifted a cargo weighing 25 tons to 2840 meters unattainable for that time, and a cargo of 5 tons – to 7151 meters.
The idea of creating a helicopter crane came from designers in the 50s of the last century.
Developers have been pushed to her by the successful experience of using such machines for transporting bulky goods on an external sling.
The advantages of the crane helicopter are:
First, it does not need a lot of fuel, as the car transports goods over short distances and is not high from the ground.
Secondly, the possibility of “breaking the load” (the helicopter sits on it almost on horseback) significantly speeds up and simplifies the work, and most importantly, increases the payload capacity by at least 20% compared to similar “fuselage” helicopters.
The development of the “flying crane” began in 1958. According to the requirements of the government of the Soviet Union, such a helicopter was capable of transporting at least 12 tons over a distance of up to 250 kilometers, and at smaller distances up to 15 tons of cargo at a time.
Under the fuselage was supposed to carry everything from fuel tanks to passengers in specialized container-salons.
However, in the course of work on the project, the task was supplemented: they demanded that the helicopter be able to carry cruise and ballistic missiles. The latter became the main destination of the Mi-10.
The unique rocket launcher ZIL-135V (9P116) with an electric motor-wheels in a combat position
At the ZIL plant a helicopter launcher was developed, designated ZIL-135V (9P116 – GRAU index). Not only the most original and daring technical solutions and finds were realized in the installation, but also a no less bold tactical idea of covertly airborne a wheeled vehicle and its landing by landing method to the enemy’s rear or into difficult places to make a single sudden launch of a ballistic missile.
According to the calculations of designers, the distance from the point of take-off of the helicopter to the starting point was to be up to 270 km. For transportation of the launcher it was supposed to use the external rigid suspension of a heavy Mi-10 helicopter. The entire system (helicopter + launcher) received the name of the rocket-helicopter complex, or Mi-10RVK.
The Mi-10RVK rocket-helicopter complex with a ZIL-135V launch vehicle. 1963
Experts of the Mil Design Bureau (today part of Rostec) took the Mi-6 helicopter as a basis. From the predecessor of the Mi-10 got powerplant, bearing and tail rotors, transmission, control systems and hydraulics (except for the features associated with the installation of hydraulic clamps).
It can be said that only the fuselage was redesigned.
The cockpit of the helicopter Mi-10. Author: Dmitry Pichugin
A special television installation with a camera under the fuselage was placed in the cockpit – to simplify the “load-over” operations and monitor it in flight. In the cabin it was also possible to transport either a team of up to 28 people accompanying the cargo, or a cargo of up to 3 tons. A winch was attached to the inside of the fuselage, capable of lifting a weight of up to 15 tons to a height of up to 30 meters.
The design feature of the Mi-10 was the rotation of the part of the fuselage and the axis of the rotor relative to the vertical plane of the cockpit by 1 ° 30˝ to the right, which ensured the simultaneous separation of the wheels during takeoff and eliminated the possibility of roll. And so that the cabin and when parking was located horizontally, the right landing gear made a three centimeters shorter than the left.
The first prototype of the Mi-10 took off on June 15, 1960. The second “Flying Crane” was shown at the 1961 air show. In the same year, the helicopter set its first world record: the car lifted 15 tons of cargo to a height of 2,200 meters. The Mi-10 series was launched in 1964 at the Rostov helicopter plant No. 168 (now Rostvertol, part of Rostec).
In the USSR, “Flying Cranes” were used for transportation, with the installation of drilling rigs in the gas and oil field regions of Eastern Siberia and the Far North, for unique installation work during the construction and reconstruction of industrial enterprises.
These machines can significantly reduce the time of work and reduce their cost.
Subsequently, several modifications of the Mi-10 were created: the Mi-10GR for radio reconnaissance, the Mi-10UPL for transporting the universal field laboratory, and the Mi-10P to interfere with ground-based early warning radar and targeting aviation.
The first two helicopters remained in the prototypes. The third turned out to be more in demand: the Mi-10P served as part of helicopter and mixed regiments of the USSR Air Force.
Another, “short-legged” modification of the “flying crane” was designated the Mi-10K. Serial production of this civilian helicopter began in March 1974.
The machine was designed specifically for assembly and loading and unloading. The Mi-10K had a low four-post chassis and a suspended cockpit under the nose of the fuselage with mechanical control, as well as new radio equipment. Instead of cameras, the helicopter was equipped with a second, outboard, cockpit and additional control levers.
In 1965, the helicopter was shown at an aviation exhibition in Paris. A year later, a Dutch airline acquired the car, from which the Americans immediately bought it. In the US, the helicopter was successfully used in the oil fields.
Mi-10 with television installation (left) and Mi-8
In 1969, the mass production of the Mi-10 was discontinued.
The fact is that the specialists of the military-industrial complex decided not to use a helicopter to transport missiles. Not particularly useful Mi-10 and in the national economy. Difficulties were due to the fact that all the cargo had to be equipped with special grippers that fit the hydraulic lift of the helicopter.
In addition, from the cabin of the Mi-10, located too high, the pilots had little to see on the ground and the television camera did not solve this problem.
In all, Rostvertol produced 24 Mi-10 and 21 Mi-10K helicopters. The “short-footed” Mi-10K are still working in the national economy.
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