The Russian-built Mi-26 helicopter
is the world’s largest helicopter. There is no other aircraft
in this category that can rival its impressive size and power. It looks immense even when it is sky-bound but its sheer magnitude can be truly appreciated only when you look at it while it is on the ground. Designed & built by Mil Helicopters, the Moscow-based company, the Mi-26 is almost as tall as a 3-story building. Its massive rotors have the exact same span as an Airbus A320’s wings.
Since its 1st flight in 1977, this impressive Mi-26, which is popularly called the Halo, has been the stalwart within the ultra-heavy lift industry space. It is powered by a pair of 11,000 hp turbo-shaft engines, the Mi-26, & its 5-man crew can effortlessly transport upto 44,000lbs of cargo, or around 11 family cars, at one go. The power and the payload capacity of the Halo is more than double that of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter which is considered to be the U.S Army’s workhorse. As per Avia-Russia, the military versions of the Halo can carry upto 90 combat ready troops/63 seated civilians/ 60 stretchers. This easily puts the helicopter’s performance right on par with the classic transport plane – the Lockheed C-130 Hercules
The Mammoth Lifts A Mammoth
The Halo has a range of almost 500 miles and is put to use in situations where large payloads are required to be delivered to unusual or inaccessible places. In 2008, post the devastating earthquake in Sichuan China, a Halo delivered very heavy earth-moving equipment to extremely remote mountain gorges and ravines to prevent mudslides and flooding. In 1999, a Mi-26
hauled a frozen and 23,000-year-old mammoth out of the Tundra region in Siberia.