The multipurpose helicopter Mi-171A3, designed by the Russian Helicopters Holding Company, has started its flight tests. The first flight in a hover mode lasted for 15 minutes and went routinely, all systems functioning properly. The aircraft is designed for offshore operations and servicing offshore drilling rigs.
During the flight, the crew, which included the test pilot, Hero of the Russian Federation Alexander Klimov, and the leading test pilot, the Order of Courage holder Vladimir Kutanin, performed a series of short vertical manoeuvres, as well as turning and moving the helicopter in every direction at different speeds.
“The modern and competitive Mi-171A3 helicopter was developed in a very short time frame: the state contract for the development of a helicopter modification designed for flights to offshore drilling platforms was signed by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade with the Holding in 2020. The total amount of state support for the project is 1 billion rubles,” said Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, Denis Manturov.
The development of Mi-171A3 has started in 2018. The latest helicopter fully meets IOGP (International Association of Oil and Gas Producers) standards, as well as the high safety requirements for over-water flights.
Mi-171A3 was designed entirely in digital format, allowing effective industrial cooperation of the Russian Helicopters holding company that involved the established centres of competence. Different parts of the fuselage are manufactured at Kazan Helicopters Plant, Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company in Russia’s Far East, and at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, where the final assembly is performed.
“The first flight is an important stage in the testing of the new rotorcraft. According to the pilots, the helicopter’s performance is up to the mark, it responds to control inputs, and avionics are working properly. We expect that the rotorcraft will be in great demand both among domestic and foreign companies in the fuel and energy sector. Market size for the new offshore helicopter is estimated at about 100 rotorcraft by 2035, but there are opportunities for improving this estimate: after the presentation at MAKS-2021 interest in Mi-171A3 from potential customers has increased significantly,” said CEO of Rostec State Corporation, Sergei Chemezov.
Mi-171A3 has the maximum take-off weight is 13,000 kg, it can carry up to 24 people, and the maximum flight range is 1,000 km. The helicopter is intended for all-weather operations in a wide range of climatic conditions, including maritime, tropical, and cold climate, with ambient temperatures ranging between -50 C to +50 C. The avionics of Mi-171A3 provides automated and manual control of the helicopter at all stages of flight, from take-off to landing, and automatic piloting for both air routes and non-regulatory airspace regardless of the degree of ground-based radionavigation.