As part of a flight testing program, the upgraded light helicopter Ka-226T has made its first circular flight at the flight-testing facility of the Mil & Kamov National Helicopter Center (part of Russian Helicopters).
The vehicle was taken off the ground by the Mil & Kamov National Helicopter Center crew, consisting of Alexander Cherednichenko, a first class senior test pilot, and Maksim Bespaliy, a first class test navigator. The Ka-226T spent 12 minutes in the sky, flying in circles at about 100 km/h at altitudes of up to 300 meters.
The modernized helicopter was first presented at the MAKS 2021 International Aviation and Space Salon; its foreign debut took place at the Dubai Airshow 2021. In November 2021, the Ka-226T, or the ‘Climber’, took off for the first time and performed a hover flight.
“Flight tests of the upgraded Ka-226T are successfully proceeding, and the first circular flight is one of the most important milestones in the development of the upgraded rotorcraft, which will be appreciated by Russian and foreign customers in the near future. The helicopter is maximally adapted for high altitude flights, which significantly expands the possibilities of its application and the range of tasks it can perform,” said Nikolay Kolesov, CEO of Russian Helicopters.
Due to its suitability for high altitude flights — a key feature of the helicopter — the Ka-226T upgrade project was dubbed ‘Climber’. Setting it apart from the previous models of the Ka-226 family is a new design of the airframe and fuselage with considerably enhanced aerodynamic characteristics. The hull is made of modern lightweight materials. The bearing of the vehicle has also been significantly upgraded – Ka-226T has a new rotor head, blades, and main gearbox, as well as a shockproof emergency fuel system which meets the strictest safety requirements.
The helicopter is also fitted with new flight, navigation, and radio communication equipment, and it can be furnished with oxygen equipment, cylinders, and an air conditioning and heating system if needed.
Ka-226T has a coaxial rotor design, which ensures good controllability in thin air, resistance to strong side wind and a high rate of climb and enables takeoff and landing at high altitudes. Ka-226T is also highly efficient when flying over water. It can take off and land on the decks of marine vessels, including small ones.
The vehicle is characterized by low vibration, ease and simplicity of operation, the ability to take off and land on sites of minimum size (including within the urban infrastructure), high accuracy of hovering even when working with externally suspended cargo, safe landing of passengers with the propellers on.