Berkut aims to revolutionise light helicopter market
Russian design bureau Berkut Aero is aiming to achieve certification of its light coaxial-rotor helicopter in 2014. The two-seat piston single - which will compete with the Robinson R22 - made its first flight in early 2012. Berkut had wanted the new helicopter to participate in the flying display at MAKS, but the aircraft was eventually relegated to the static line. The prototype has logged around 100 flight hours, with around 400h of ground testing. Russian certification is expected in mid-2014, Berkut says. The manufacturer is also evaluating pursuing type certification in the USA, but its strategy will become clearer by mid-2014, says Dimitri Rumyantsev, Berkut's business development director and an investor in the company. The prototype is powered by a Russian-made 147shp (110kW) AvtoVAZ piston engine, but in future the helicopter will be equipped with a 150hp Lycoming powerplant. While the Lycoming engine does not alter the aircraft's empty weight of 250kg (551lb), its maximum speed will increase from 86kt (160km/h) to 100kt. Additionally, its operating ceiling will rise from 11,800ft (3,600m) to 13,400ft, while range will grow to 460nm (850km). Berkut claims the coaxial rotor increases passenger comfort and improves the helicopter's handling compared with the use of a tail rotor. Maintenance and operating costs will also be lower, it believes.