How the largest helicopter in the world operates

The MI-26 is a record-breaking helicopter. With a carrying capacity of up to 20 tons, it is the largest helicopter in the world.

The MI-26 is a record-breaking helicopter. With a carrying capacity of up to 20 tons, it is the largest helicopter in the world.

SLAVA STEPANOV / GELIO
Take a look inside a helicopter as high as a three-storey building.
One of the main air carriers operating in northern Siberia is Skol. Its fleet consists of 37 aircraft, among them the MI-26.
Before each flight, six engineers check the technical condition of the helicopter and warm up the machine. Warming up usually takes one hour, but can take two hours or more when the temperature is below -30 C.
The MI-26 is one of just a handful of aircraft able to raise and carry its own weight in cargo up to a distance of 800 kilometers.
Place an MI-26 and a Boeing-737 side by side, and you’ll see that the helicopter is longer.
Thanks to its unique carrying capacity, this type of helicopter is popular in Russian and abroad.
Russia is a major oil and gas producer. The majority of its reserves are situated in the remote regions of northern Siberia, where there are no settlements or roads for hundreds of miles. The only way to carry heavy cargo in such parts is by helicopter.
The main rule of carrying cargo by helicopter is to avoid all settlements, even if it adds mileage to the journey.
The helicopter has two engines, each with 11,400 hp. They consume three tons of fuel per hour.
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