New Russian light helicopter to appear at MAKS

A new Russian light helicopter, the Berkut VL, will go on show for the first time at the Moscow Air Show at Zhukovsky next week, the machine’s maker Berkut said on Tuesday.

“We will show the first production standard Berkut VL, patented for mass production, at MAKS,” a Berkut representative said.

Berkut VL is a two-seat light commercial helicopter with a take-off weight of 740 kg, a 147 hp engine, a maximum speed of 174 km/h, and range of 380 km.

The machine is being produced at a plant in Tolyatti in central Russia. The factory can produce up to 15 a month. The Russian market is currently dominated by the US-made Robinson R22 and R44 light piston helicopters.

“Using a coaxial main rotor layout instead of the widely used classical layout with a tail rotor means the helicopter is easy to fly for new pilots. The absence of a tail rotor means the helicopter is much safer and if compared to a classical type helicopter it is uses less energy and has less drag,” Berkut’s chief designer Valentin Malkin said.

“These helicopters have no competitor in Russia,” Berkut’s development director Dmitry Rumyantsev said. “They are competitive with foreign helicopters in their technical characteristics, but are around half the price.”

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