rchelicopterhub.com / rchelicopter.hu
14 December 2022

Happy birthday Halo

On this day 45 years ago: The Mil Mi-26 took off first time and made its first ever flight on 14th December, 1977. A new world record was born; Halo became the largest and most powerful helicopter in the world to have gone into serial production.

Happy birthday Halo
Mil Mi-26 / click for more

The Mil Mi-26 Hind was designed by Marat Tishchenko (Марат Николаевич Тищенко 1931-2015), who studied at Mikhail Mil (Михаил Леонтьевич Миль 1909-1970). The project launched in the early 1970s when Western and Eastern countries were competing with each other in building larger and stronger helicopters.

The Halo is both military and civilian heavy transporter capable to fly with 56 tons take-off mass. It is able to carry 80 soldiers or 20 tons, and the helicopter still holds the FAI world record for the greatest mass lifted by a helicopter to 2000 metres since 1982: 56768.8kg.

It has a massive 32 metres diameter 8 blade rotor head and a 5 blade tail rotor which is about the size of the main rotor diameter of a Bo-105 or an MD500. The helicopter can carry 15 tons fuel, which is not that much, because the two 8380 kW engines consume a massive 3 tons (approx. 3700 litres) in each hour. The RPM is unusually low, it is only 117, therefore the helicopter has no typical helicopter noise, it sounds more an airplane due to its two massive jet engines than a typical helicopter.

Halo is operated by a crew of 6: two pilots, a navigator, a radio operator, an engineer and a loadmaster. The Mi-26 is able to climb up to 4600 metres, its maximum speed is 295 km/h. Total service range is 1920 km. It can even fly with just one engine depending on the load. Albeit the helicopter was produced in a relative low number, there were more variants including tankers or anti submarine helicopters.

The helicopter entered into service at the Soviet Red Army in 1983 and it's still in service in more countries among others: Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Belarus, India, Peru, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Laos.

The Mil Mi-26 has had more iconic missions and carried a number of extraordinary loads like Chinook helicopters or even an airliner. This helicopter has got a major role in the rescue and disaster recovery operations at Chernobyl in 1986.

The Mil Mi-26 Halo has got even major film role in the Die Hard 5 in 2012 when one working helicopter and a scrap one played in the film.

The blades of the scrap one which was blown up et the end of the film are still at Tököl Airport, a former Soviet Military Airbase in Hungary.

Happy birthday Halo