Russia's fourth Mi-38 makes flight debut
Russian Helicopters has performed the first flight with a pre-series production example of the Mil Mi-38 transport helicopter, and will soon launch certification testing activities using the aircraft. After making its debut at Kazan Helicopters’ test centre earlier this month, the Klimov TV7-117V turboshaft-engined Mi-38 was transported to the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, where it will be prepared for certification testing. It is the second prototype to have been flown with Russian engines, following an example which made its first flight in November 2013. The Mi-38 programme’s first two prototypes were flown using Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127s, but Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database records the first of these as having been re-engined using the Klimov design. Enhancements introduced with the pre-series production aircraft include a shock-resistant fuel system and larger windows in the main cabin. “The Mi-38 development programme is making good progress,” says Russian Helicopters deputy chief executive Vadim Ligai. “Assembly production has already been launched on the fuselage of the first series-produced units.” It is unclear who the customer will be for these aircraft, however, with Ascend so far recording no confirmed buyers for the type. Russian Helicopters cites interest in the 15.6t-class Mi-38 as coming from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Africa, south-east Asia and Latin America. Applications for the rotorcraft include utility and VIP transport tasks, it adds, with the type capable of accommodating up to 30 passengers. The type can alternatively be used to carry a maximum internal cargo of 6,000kg (13,200lb).