Air International 2015-08
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Main: Commercial
Krasnodar-based PANH is among the largest operators of the Mi-8T in Russia, which uses the type for a wide variety of utility roles.
This Mi-8T is operated by the Flight Research Institute at Zhukovsky for search and rescue and various research initiatives.
The Russian Air Force still operates around 100 Mi-8T/Ps, and a significant proportion are used for training at Syzran.
PANH, which operates this Mi-8T, believes there is still plenty of life remaining in its Mi-8T fleet.
The Slovakian company Techmont uses Mi-8T/P OM-XYC for a range of specialist transport services, including moving pipes.
The Mi-8T is a real workhorse in the extreme cold of Russia’s far northern territories and Siberia.
More than 600 Mi-8T/Ps are in commercial use in Russia, with another 100 held in storage that could be re-introduced following refurbishment.
Thirteen Mi-8MSBs have been ordered by Ukraine’s military and national guard for tactical transport.
The 1960s-era rotor blades on the Mi-8T/P are restricted to 3,000 hours or ten years’ service, making them a focus area in any future upgrade.
Most of the Mi-8T’s commercial operators in Russia, such as Karelia, are compelled to keep their old Mi-8Ts in service for as long as possible.
The Mi-8MSB is a re-engined derivative of the basic Mi-8T offered by Motor Sich of Ukraine with increased hot-and-high performance, range and payload, but no avionics and instrumentation improvements.
Only a handful of 'classic' Mi-8s are used by commercial operators in Europe. Most are operated by Heli Air of Bulgaria supporting UN humanitarian operations in Sudan and South Sudan.
The Mi-8’s spacious stand-up cabin can accommodate up to 24 passenger seats or bulky cargo.
The DC-8’s JT3D turbofans were replaced by these CFM56s in 1986 following its acquisition by NASA.
Some 100 small tube-shaped dropsondes were dispensed in-flight during the Iceland mission to obtain vertical wind profiles and transmit information on air temperature and moisture.
NASA DC-8-72 (N817NA) at Keflavik, Iceland, in May 2015 for the polar winds research flights.
After being dropped through the fuselage from around 19,000ft (5,800m), the dropsondes transmit data for up to 12 minutes.
Some scientific instrumentation is loaded onto the aircraft by using openings in the outer skin or replacing windows with plugs containing sensors.
The DC-8-72 worked alongside the German Aerospace Center's Falcon for the polar winds research flights.
Wing-mounted sensors.
NASA DC-8-72 N817NA at Keflavik, Iceland, in May 2015 for the polar winds research flights.
Two or three scientists are allocated to each experiment aboard - and close co-ordination is required with the flight crew to plan flight operations that are both safe and meet scientists’ requirements.
Despite its age and analogue cockpit, NASA research pilot Wayne Ringelberg praised the DC-8-72's solidity and performance.
Around 25 people can be carried in the very spacious cabin, where wide vintage first class seats are surrounded by equipment racks.
The DC-8-72 worked alongside the German Aerospace Center's Falcon for the polar winds research flights.
The new derivatives of the Mi-8/Mi-17/Mi-171, such as this UTair Mi-8AMT, are more expensive than the Mi-8T/P in price and direct operating costs. Most, if not all, existing Mi-8T operators do not see them as direct replacements.
The DA62 features a large ventral strake, dorsal fillet, and turned-down tailplane tips.
The engines are 180hp (134kW), 2-litre, liquid-cooled four-cylinder Austro Engine AE330 turbocharged diesels, fitted with three-blade constant speed, fully-feathering MT composite propellers.
The wings feature sensibly sized non-slip wing-root walkways.
The DA62 will be offered as either a five- or seven-seater, with the seats in either a two-three or a two-three-two arrangement.
The main doors do not completely cover the wheels when the undercarriage is retracted.
The engine nacelles are extremely elegant, even the exhausts feature sculpted fairings.
Access to the cabin is good as each pilot has their own door, and there are recessed grab handles above the instrument panel.
Ingress to the rear seats is via a big gull-wing door on the port side. Well located grab handles built into the roof interior make getting in and out of the back seats easy. The backs of the middle seats fold forwards to provide access to the rear seats.
The panel is dominated by the Garmin G1000’s dual multifunction display (MFD) screens, with back-up instrumentation supplied by an electronic standby attitude indicator that includes airspeed and altitude. Control sticks are unusual for a seven-seat twin; the pilot’s carries rocker switches for electric pitch trim along with push-to-talk and autopilot disconnect buttons. The power levers are in the centre console.