A helicopter is a rotary-wing aircraft in which the lift and thrust required for flight are generated by the rotation of the propellers. The main advantage of the helicopter is its ability to take off and land vertically, as well as move in any direction and hover in one place.
Helicopters are often ranked not by physical size, but by weight. We will tell below about the largest helicopters of our time, even if some of them existed in piece series.
Miles B-12. The giant's maximum takeoff weight was 105 tons. According to NATO classification, the device is called Homer, it is also customary to call it simply the 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 there was a record in carrying capacity for devices of this class, which has not been beaten so far - 44205 kg were raised to a height of 2255 meters. The design of the Mi-12 is rather unusual - two rotors are located at the ends of a large wing. The rotor diameters are 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 wingspan of the Boeing 747! Four 6500 hp engines were responsible for lifting the car into the air. 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-storey cabin for 6 people. In the tail there is a ladder for 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 its counterparts existing there in size by two times, and by four times in weight. Practical use of the helicopter did not work out - it was too large and difficult to maneuver. In addition, despite the record carrying capacity, its original purpose (transportation of strategic missile components to hard-to-reach places) was no longer required. New tasks were successfully solved by other models. As a result, the devices became museum pieces.
Mi-26. The design of the B-12 was deemed unsatisfactory for current needs, and the Mil bureau was tasked with designing a new transport helicopter. Its first flight took place in 1977. The aircraft turned out to be much more compact than its predecessor, the maximum take-off weight was 56 tons. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 295 km / h. Today it is the largest serial transport helicopter. More than 270 of these machines were built in total. The Mi-26 was nicknamed "Halo" from NATO and our unofficial "Flying Cow". It uses a single-rotor design with two motors. The main rotor has eight blades and is 32 meters in diameter. The transport and landing version of the helicopter can accommodate more than 100 people. There is a possibility of using it in a sanitary version (up to 50 wounded on a stretcher), it is possible to transport goods on an external sling. The helicopter was used on a large scale during the war in Afghanistan, as well as during the liquidation of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The Mi-26 also took part in the Chechen wars, while with its participation the largest helicopter plane crash in world history took place - in 2002, 127 people died as a result of the crash of a car shot down by militants. More than 15 modifications have been developed on the basis of the Mi-26. The helicopter also acts as a firefighter, an ambulance, an anti-submarine fighter and a tanker. Mi-26s are successfully serving in other countries - Kazakhstan, India, China, DPRK, Venezuela, Peru.
Mi-6. The creation of this and the next unit paved the way for the larger subsequent developments of the Mil Bureau - the B-12 and Mi-26. In the second half of the 1950s, the Luna missile systems were put into service in the USSR, and a heavy transport helicopter was required to transport them. It was the gas turbine Mi-6, which took off in 1957. The carrying capacity of the apparatus was 44 tons, this was achieved by using two 5500 hp engines. The crew consisted of 5 people. The propeller diameter 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, setting a number of records in terms of 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 between 1960 and 1981. They were mainly used by the Soviet Air Force and the civilian Aeroflot. Today, such a device is still in operation in a number of allied countries and heirs of the USSR. The helicopter has been in use for over 40 years, and the number of veteran vehicles is gradually decreasing. Despite its age, the Mi-6 remains a remarkable model, one of the largest production helicopters.
Mi-10. This device is a worthy member of the family of its aforementioned brothers. The helicopter, with a total weight of 38 tons, was in fact a highly specialized version of the Mi-6, it was named a flying crane. Such a device entered service in 1963, the main goal was the same - the transportation of cruise and ballistic missiles The Mi-6 took over the power plant and control scheme, but a new fuselage was created. The wider version of the predecessor was replaced by a narrower and lower one. Carrying passengers was no longer the goal, although 28 people could still accommodate here. The vacated space could be used for additional fuel tanks. The fuselage also had a notable 4 landing gear legs, wide apart and with increased length. Here, two schemes for securing cargo were used - with hydraulic grabs (for containers with missiles) or on a cargo platform between the chassis. In total, about 55 of these helicopters were built, due to the design features, they were not widely used, and the main part of the functions was able to perform the Mi-6. A modification with shorter legs was also created, especially for construction and installation work, the Mi-6 was also used as a direction finder and jammer. The maximum speed of the helicopter is rather low - 190 km / h.
Sikorsky CH-53E. The fifth largest helicopter was built in the United States and the largest ever built in America. The CH-53E Super Stallion is an enlargement of the previously created CH-53, for which a third engine was added to the design. The maximum weight of the device in flight is 33340 kg. Originally designed for the US Marine Corps, this heavy helicopter has also been used by the Navy, Navy and Allied countries. The main rotor is about 24 meters in diameter, and the power is provided by 3 engines of 4380 hp each. The crew is 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 fleet acquired 177 of these vehicles. The helicopter is equipped with a night vision system, infrared surveillance, machine guns. Today the CH-53E is also used by the Japanese Navy. It is noteworthy that the accident rate of such a helicopter model is 2 times higher than the average. In the near future, it is planned to enter the series of the CH-53K model with even more powerful engines and a takeoff weight of up to 38,420 kg, which will allow it to overtake the Mi-10.
Boeing MH-47E. 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 back in the 1950s, and since the early 1960s has become widespread. In total, over 1000 Chinooks have been built to date, models based on them are still being produced. This is how one of the most successful series of heavy-duty military helicopters was born. There is a long and spacious fuselage, which is equipped with two 5000 hp engines. and screws of 18 meters. Helicopters of this type are widely used to transport heavy military equipment and artillery, and to supply remote objects. The main customers are the British Air Force and the US Army, but CH-47 helicopters have been sold in more than 20 countries, and they have been used by civilian operators. Unlike the traditional CH-47 model, which has a takeoff weight of up to 22680 kg, the MH-47E / G models can lift up to 24495 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.
Hughes XH-17. This is the first model of the Hughes division, which in its appearance somewhat resembles the Mi-10. There are also 4 long landing gear legs, which help to transport large oversized cargo under the fuselage. The two-bladed 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 40s for the transport of goods weighing more than 15 tons. In 1952, the first flight took place, but during the study it turned out that the structure is rather bulky and cannot 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 aircraft - the front wheels from the B-25, the rear wheels from the C-54, the fuel tank from the B-29, and the cockpit from the Waco CG-15. The design of the helicopter implied a small tail rotor compared to the main one. The maximum speed was 145 km / h, there were 3 people in the crew. Hughes even developed an enlarged model H-28, which lifted up to 47 tons in the air, but this project was not even completed due to the failure of its predecessor, leaving only a wooden model.
Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe. This modification of the helicopter also has an "air crane" design, like its predecessor, the XH-17. CH-54 was designed to carry large loads below the fuselage. The first flight of the car took place in 1962. Unusual for a helicopter is the rotor diameter of 22 meters. The cabins have windows to the rear of the car, which gives them the opportunity to receive useful information. The CH-54 has received a very efficient design that is compatible with loads of various configurations. The maximum takeoff weight here is 21320 kg, lifting is carried out by two engines with a capacity of 4800 hp. The maximum speed of the helicopter is 240 km / h. The helicopter was originally planned for use in the army. The capabilities of the vehicle were widely used in Vietnam, in particular for the removal of downed aircraft. A civilian model called the S-64 Skycrane has been developed for the firefighting and logging industry. A total of 105 of these helicopters were built, although they are not currently used by the military, they still perform civilian functions. Since the 1990s, the CH-54 in the US Army has completely transferred their responsibilities to the CH-47.