The Helicopter Museum
Eastern European Helicopters


The East European helicopter industry was dominated by Mikhail Mil who ranks as one of the world’s leading rotorcraft designers. Mil was the head of his own design bureau by 1947 having been head of the Soviet Air Force's 1st Rotorcraft Squadron during World War II. At one time Mil helicopters represented 95% of all helicopters in service in East Europe. Another major design influence in Russia was Nikolai Kamov who was working on helicopter designs as early as 1929. His designs all incorporated a  co-axial contra-rotating rotor system. Examples of both designers’ creations an example of which can be found in the Museum collection.

Mil Mi-1 "Hare", 2007, C/N. 5112007.
The Mi-1 was designed by Mikhail Mil in 1945 to meet a Soviet requirement for a two/three seat helicopter and is powered by one Ivchenko AI-26V 7-cylinder radial piston engine. The Museum example is a Polish built SM-1 variant, completed by PZL-Swidnik, Poland in February 1959 and delivered to the Polish Air Force. Used primarily for pilot training from 1962 until the late 1980s, the aircraft was then grounded and used for ground instruction. The final log book entry is dated 29th November 1990. Purchased by the Museum in 1992 it was delivered by road in 1993. It is restored in Soviet markings as an example of the first Russian production helicopter.

Mil Mi-2, SP-SAY, C/N. 529538125.
The first of two Russian designed Mi-2s first flew at the Mil test facility in September 1961. Following the completion of development trials the Mi-2 was put into production in Poland at the PZL-Swidnik plant. Over 5200 Mi-2s were built over a 40 year period from 1966, mainly for the former Soviet Union and other former Warsaw Pact nations. The Museum example is a production model built in Swidnik, Poland in 1985 and was operated by ZEUS, a civil helicopter charter company. Used for a wide range of civil and military roles the Mi-2 is powered by two 400shp Isotov GTD-350 turboshaft engines. SP-SAY was purchased in Poland by Helicopter International magazine in 1997 and donated to the Museum, where it  arrived on 24th November 1997.

Mil Mi-4 "Hound", 9147, C/N. 09147.
The Mil Mi-4 assault transport was the product of an October 1951 ultimatum by Stalin for the design and construction of a transport helicopter within 12 months. Powered by one Shvetsov ASh-82V 14-cylinder two row radial piston engine. More than 3000 Mi-4s were built for military service with the Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces and for civil operations with Aeroflot over the following 15 years. The Mi-4 acquired by the Museum was probably built in the fifties and was last in service with the Czechoslovak Air Force. It was purchased by the Museum in 1992 and delivered by road in major sections during the first half of 1993. Reassembly and restoration began in 1995 and was finished in late 1996, but some missing parts are still required, especially in the cockpit area, to complete the restoration.

Mil Mi-8PS,10618.
First flown in the early 1960s as Russia’s first turbine-engined medium transport helicopter and with a large open cabin with rear ramp access, more than 11,000 Mi-8 variants have been built to date. The Museum’s example is a rare Mi-8PS, initially delivered to the Polish Air Force in the 1970s for service in a VIP configuration. Externally identifiable by the square, rather than round, cabin windows the PS variant was built in limited numbers for heads of state and similar high-ranking VIPs but modified for a military Command and Control role and allocated to 37PST assault regiment at Leznica Wielka near Lodz. Retired in 2005 this is the first Russian Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter to go on display in the UK and the 18m (60ft) long aircraft arrived at the Museum by road on 5th February 2010.

Mil Mi-24D "Hind", 96+26/421, C/N. 230270110073.
Built in 1981 as a ground attack/assault helicopter and powered by two Klimov TV-3-117 turboshaft engines. The Hind in the Museum collection is a Mi-24D variant, some 350 of which were built at factories in Arsenyev and Rostov-on-Don. Armament includes a 12.7 mm four barrel 9-A 624 machine gun, four Falanga anti-tank missiles and 80 rockets in four under wing pods. First flown on 2nd April 1981 it was delivered to the East German Army based at Basephol, North of Berlin. In early 1992 it was decided to disband the Hind squadrons and its last flight was on 24th February 1992. The German Government allocated it to the Helicopter Museum and a team went to Basephol in early 1995 to dismantle and transport it to the United Kingdom. It was delivered to the Museum on 20th February 1995 with assistance from Bristow Helicopters.

WSK-Swidnik SM-2, 05.
The SM-2 helicopter was developed in 1959-60 as a Polish derivative of the four-seat Soviet Mil Mi-1. The Museum example was built in 1961 in Swidnik, Poland, as a 5-seat general transport helicopter and is believed to have been the sixth built. It is one of only a handful that still survive today. Power is provided by a Russian designed Ivchenko AI-26V 9-cylinder radial piston engine. The SM-2 was used as a utility and air ambulance helicopter to carry a crew of two, a stretcher and 50 kg of medical equipment. Withdrawn from service by the end of the 1970s most of the aircraft were scrapped soon afterwards. Originally a gate guardian at a Polish Air Force base, it was sold in early 1991 and subsequently offered to the Museum. It was delivered by road, using two vehicles in June 1991, then reassembled and  restored to static display condition.

Kamov Ka-26 "Hoodlum", D-HOAY, C/N. 7001309.
Designed by the Kamov design bureau in the Soviet Union the Ka-26 features a co-axial contra-rotating main rotor system with two three-bladed rotors, set one above the other and turning in opposite directions. 600 Ka-26’s were built and the Museum’s aircraft was built in 1973 in Russia as a utility and crop spraying helicopter, powered by two Vedeneyev M-14V-26 9-cylinder radial piston engines. Interchangeable units, which could be fitted behind the cockpit section, meant it was very easy to convert the aircraft from crop spraying to passenger carrying or crane work. The Museum example was originally purchased by Interflug in East Germany in 1973 and was stored in a museum in Berlin, together with another example. The Museum agreed to exchange a spare WS-55 Whirlwind Series 3 for D-HOAY, and later purchased a cabin pod to complete the aircraft. It then underwent a major restoration programme before returning to public display at the end of the summer 2002.

Click here to view the British manufactured helicopters in the collection.

Click here to view the American helicopters in the collection.
North American

Click here to view the European helicopters in the collection.
Western European

Mil Mi-1 "Hare", 2007

Mil Mi-2, SP-SAY


Mil Mi-4 "Hound", 9147




Mil Mi-24D "Hind", 96+26/421


WSK-Swidnik SM-2

Kamov Ka-26 "Hoodlum", D-HOAY
Kamov Ka-26 "Hoodlum", D-HOAY