by: Adie Roberts [ ]
The Mil Mi-6 (NATO reporting name Hook), given the article number izdeliye 50 and company designation V-6, is a Soviet/Russian heavy transport helicopter that was designed by the Mil design bureau. It was built in large numbers for both military and civil roles and used to be the largest helicopter in production until Mil Mi-26 was put in production in 1980.
Following the incomplete development of the heavier Mil Mi-12 (prototypes are known as Mil V-12) in the early 1970s, work began on a new heavy-lift helicopter, designated as the Izdeliye 90 ("Project 90") and later allocated designation Mi-26. The new design was required to have an empty weight less than half its maximum take-off weight. The helicopter was designed by Marat Tishchenko, protégé of Mikhail Mil, founder of the OKB-329 design bureau.
The Mi-6 is Born
Experiments and Projects
The Mi-6 in Action
The Mi-6A in Detail
The Modeller's Corner (MIL' Mi-6)
Next-generation 'Big Lifter' Mi-26
Special Versions and Unbuilt Projects
The Mi-26 in Action
The Mi-26 in Detail
The Modeller's Corner (MIL' Mi-26)
The introduction is fairly brief (one page) yet it is still very well written giving some history into how it all started in Pranki (Moscow Region) in the late 1940's when the Moscow-based design headed by Mikhail Leont'yevich Mil was given their own facility which became OKB-329 (Opytno-konstrook-torskaye byuro experimental design bureau.
The preliminary design project was ready by the end of 1953. On the 11th June 1954, the Soviet Council of Ministers issued a directive officially sanctioning development of the giant helicopter which was now known as the V6
By the end of 1954 the Mil' OKB had completed the advanced development project (ADP) for V-6, was nearing completion having a formidable cavernous cargo cabin measuring 12 x 2.65 x 2.5 m which were similar in size to the Antonov AN-8 and AN-12 fixed-wing aircraft.
On the 5th of June 1957 Mil OKB project test pilot Rafail I. Kaprelyan made the first-ever hover in the Mil Mi 6 this was soon followed on the 18th of June was the first circuit of the airfield at Zakharkov, the Mil Mi' 6 is born. This part of the book has some nice photos showing some flying and some on the ground. One that caught my firefighting eye of the Mil Mi' 6 firefighting aircraft fires with foam!
Mil Mi'-6 in Action was used extensively with troop transportation which formed helicopter regiments, again there are some astonishing photos to get you to read on, one such picture shows a Mil Mi-6 flying with a Mig 15 two-seat trainer underneath it, with plenty of other photos to be able to get an idea of just how used it was. A small section on the Mil Mi'-6 in civil use before the part of most modellers to enjoy Mi-6A in detail.
Although compared to the previous chapters this one did not carry many pictures albeit the ones that there were did show some detail I would have hoped for more.
The Modellers Corner
This section is just like the other book in this series of Flight Craft that I have reviewed the Sukhi Su-15 in that it shows you all of the kits available in various scales from the common 1/72nd scale with kits from Sanger/contrail, A model, there are a couple of builds of the A model version one by Bernhard Pethe and another one from modeller Anatolly Lysenko. A third build of the A model kit is of the Mi-6 in civil use.
Some 1:100th scale shows somewhat look like very old model kits judging from the artwork on the box by East German specialists KVZ and several others include other former eastern block countries, as well as Russia 1/144th scale, includes two Eastern Express kits and one skytrex Model 1/300th scale? Very few aftermarket items are listed.
Mi-26 Next-generation 'Big Lifter'
By the early 1970's the complexity and scope of the tasks to be tackled by the Soviet Union's helicopter fleet had grown considerably and the Mil Mi 6 proved incapable of meeting them to the full. An increasing need arose for the transporting bulky cargoes weighing up to 20 tons.
The Mil Mi 26 certainly became a very large production no pun intended some of the pictures of the Mi-26 showing the prototype is huge just an incredible task they undertook. Plenty of pictures showing the prototype and, one of yellow nine in military colours. On the 12th January 1985, a civil version of the helicopter designated Mi-26T. The commercial version differed from the basic military Mi-26, primarily in the navigation avionics
There were a few special versions and unbuilt projects, the Mil Mi -26 turned out to be an extremely versatile helicopter several lines along which more or less specialised versions. One of the first of these versions was one of the most natural for the size of the helicopter a flying crane. A couple of pictures show the Mil Mi-26 in action in 1986 in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, several of the production Mil Mi-26s were changed to decontamination units, working in the areas affected by radioactive fallout. These were designated Mi-26s they carried a decontamination tank with special decontaminant fluid.
Mil Mi-26 in action sees various pictures of the famous huge helicopter in various guises from various camouflages delivering ammo supplies to the Russian front North Caucasus to support against a potential guerrilla attack. Mil Mi-26 03 yellow in medevac configuration at Kubinka airbase in 1991, 03 being very prevalent as 03 is the emergency number for the ambulance service in Russia. Several pictures of the Mil Mi-26 in United Nations work including black 5 being operated by the UN in Peacekeeping forces in the former Yugoslavia in 1995 to 1996.
Mil Mi-26 in detail, not as many pictures as I would have liked for such a well-known helicopter, however, what is there is particularly good, like the one picture showing the load space which starts to show just how enormous this helicopter is.
The modeller's corner, showing some of the kits that are available in various scales the main one for this particular model is 1/72nd with a couple in 1/144th scale. One of the kits box artwork south front kits had some nice artwork of yellow 68 flying over the Chernobyl nuclear power station. The go-to kit for me has to be the Zvezda kit, Zvezda have come along way with their moulds and have produced some very nice kits. I believe the Zvezda 1/72nd scale of the Mil Mi-26 is the best on the market for detail and accuracy and a kit I want to build, that said, “Zvezda it would be nice to see a Mil Mi -26 in a larger scale 1/48th or 1/35th would be fantastic”, although perhaps a bit too far to go with a 1/35th scale version? Some fantastic builds of the Mil Mi-26 six in total from one of the South Front kit with a civilian version, a Ukrainian military version yellow 61 Zvezda kit. Another Zvezda kit built as an Emercon of Russia Mi-26T, a CaseEvac duties Yellow 03 impressive build from Anatoly Lysenko. A UN version, Revell re-box of the Zvezda kit and the final build the Eastern Express in 1/144th scale
Aftermarket items follow a fairly small section with the usual companies that produce fret and resin, like Eduard, Begemont decals to name but two of them. Line drawings of the 26 and lastly the colour plates showing different camouflage schemes.
The book is very well written by two of the foremost authors on Russian Aircraft Yefim Gordon and Dimitriy Komissarov fantastic research material for anyone wanting to build one of these huge helicopters. I do feel that the modeller's corner could show more detail of the kits being built would be a great help to most model builders especially those new to the hobby. The two flight craft books that I have now reviewed, I have enjoyed, some of the photos are amazing and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!