A collection of the Russian/Soviet aircraft on display at the Helicopter Museum in Weston-Super-Mare, UK.
History: The Helicopter Museum
Photos: Tony Wilkins
Mil Mi-24D “Hind”, 96+26/421, C/N. 230270110073.
Built in 1981 as a ground attack/assault helicopter and powered by two Klimov TV-3-117 turboshaft engines. The Hind in the Museum collection is a Mi-24D variant, some 350 of which were built at factories in Arsenyev and Rostov-on-Don. Armament includes a 12.7 mm four barrel 9-A 624 machine gun, four Falanga anti-tank missiles and 80 rockets in four under wing pods. First flown on 2nd April 1981 it was delivered to the East German Army based at Basephol, North of Berlin. In early 1992 it was decided to disband the Hind squadrons and its last flight was on 24th February 1992. The German Government allocated it to the Helicopter Museum and a team went to Basephol in early 1995 to dismantle and transport it to the United Kingdom. It was delivered to the Museum on 20th February 1995 with assistance from Bristow Helicopters.
First flown in the early 1960s as Russia’s first turbine-engined medium transport helicopter and with a large open cabin with rear ramp access, more than 11,000 Mi-8 variants have been built to date. The Museum’s example is a rare Mi-8PS, initially delivered to the Polish Air Force in the 1970s for service in a VIP configuration. Externally identifiable by the square, rather than round, cabin windows the PS variant was built in limited numbers for heads of state and similar high-ranking VIPs but modified for a military Command and Control role and allocated to 37PST assault regiment at Leznica Wielka near Lodz. Retired in 2005 this is the first Russian Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter to go on display in the UK and the 18m (60ft) long aircraft arrived at the Museum by road on 5th February 2010.
Mil Mi-4 “Hound”, 9147, C/N. 09147.
The Mil Mi-4 assault transport was the product of an October 1951 ultimatum by Stalin for the design and construction of a transport helicopter within 12 months. Powered by one Shvetsov ASh-82V 14-cylinder two row radial piston engine. More than 3000 Mi-4s were built for military service with the Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces and for civil operations with Aeroflot over the following 15 years. The Mi-4 acquired by the Museum was probably built in the fifties and was last in service with the Czechoslovak Air Force. It was purchased by the Museum in 1992 and delivered by road in major sections during the first half of 1993. Reassembly and restoration began in 1995 and was finished in late 1996, but some missing parts are still required, especially in the cockpit area, to complete the restoration.
Mil Mi-1 “Hare”, 2007, C/N. 5112007.
The Mi-1 was designed by Mikhail Mil in 1945 to meet a Soviet requirement for a two/three seat helicopter and is powered by one Ivchenko AI-26V 7-cylinder radial piston engine. The Museum example is a Polish built SM-1 variant, completed by PZL-Swidnik, Poland in February 1959 and delivered to the Polish Air Force. Used primarily for pilot training from 1962 until the late 1980s, the aircraft was then grounded and used for ground instruction. The final log book entry is dated 29th November 1990. Purchased by the Museum in 1992 it was delivered by road in 1993. It is restored in Soviet markings as an example of the first Russian production helicopter.
I couldn’t be more of an anorak if I tried – Tony Wilkins