Monster Machines: World's Biggest Transport Chopper Easily Hoists A 737

Our need for resources is driving development of some of the world's most remote regions. So how do we get the heavy machinery needed to explore areas where roads exist only as dotted lines on a map? You use a helicopter the size of a jumbo jet.

The Mi-26 Halo is the largest commercially-produced helicopter in the world. It was built by Soviet aerospace manufacturer Aeroflot in the 1970s from the earlier M-6 design to serve primarily in both military and civilian heavy-lift operations with a capacity twice that of other helicopters of the time. The Mi-26's cavernous cargo hold measures 3.20m wide, 3.15m high and 15m deep -- large enough to carry a pair of 10,000kg armoured troop transports or up to 100 civilians, 80 combat-equipped soldiers, or 60 stretchers. Overall, the Halo measures 40m long, stands over 8m tall and weighs 28,200kg empty -- that's just half its regular takeoff weight, which helps the chopper achieve its massive load capacity of over 20 tons. What's more, its capable of toting thes loads at speeds up to 295km/h and as far as 1915km.

Getting all this machinery off the ground is no easy feat. The Mi-26 relies on a pair of Lotarev D-136 turbo-shafts, each producing in excess of 11,000HP, to spin the helicopter's staggeringly-large eight-blade propeller. At 32m in diameter, the Halo's propeller is as wide as a 737's wingspan and the first to successfully use an eight-blade design in production. Controlling this behemoth requires a crew of four -- two pilots, a navigator, a flight engineer, a flight technician, and occasionally and additional cargo handler -- though the pilots do get some help from the flight control's redundant autopilot, stability-augmentation, and automatic hover systems.

While the Halo was exclusive property of the USSR for years after it was built, these choppers now operate in countries around the world -- at least in the 20 or so that can shell out the $US11 million it costs. [Wikipedia - FAS - Military Today - Aviastar]

Image: English Russia


    A helicopter that carries helicopters, well shit.

    Iv always thought it was funny that the Russians built all these giant aircraft Mi26, An124 and 225) either for a war with the west or to show the superiority of communism, and now the Antonovs are used to fly massive shipments of sneakers from Singapore to America, and the Mi26s are used to recover downed US military airctaft!

    y0 dog i heard you like choppers
    so i put your chopper under my chopper
    so you can fly while i fly

      I love your work.

    really though it looks like it would have been easier to just fly the Chinook than all that chaos

    The russians always could make 'em big, but they rarely made 'em pretty.

      I don't know it looks prettier than that freakshow the chinock,it has a sort of soviet era simplicity to it.

    A few very basic fact corrections . The Halo is not the size of a 'jumbo jet' (a jumbo jet generally being accepted as a 747 or even a A380). It is however roughly comparable to smaller passenger jets like a 727 or A320, so definitely big for a helicopter but not for an aircraft in general. It also cannot lift a 737 despite what the headline (and only the headline) says given that an early generation 737 had an empty weight of 28,100kg where the Mi-26 has a maximum cargo capacity of 20,000kg. Modern 737's are even heavier so the headline makes increasingly less sense.

    I suppose the crux of my post is that these were easily found figures even on Wikipedia, so it makes Gizmodo look less reliable on core subjects when it gets other subjects grossly wrong or writes them in a sensationalist way. And I want to be able to trust what is said in other topics I know less about since they read less sensational but I don't know when I read articles like this (usually aircraft or military ones)

    Hope this is taken in the constructive criticism spirit is was written in.

      I agree. Great video, no need for exaggeration.

      Halo lifting a Tu-137, think Russian equivalent of the DC-9
      But yeah, taking info from Wikipedia is unprofessional unless you know what your on about

    Please, get you facts first.
    "Soviet aerospace manufacturer Aeroflot"
    Very funny - it like to say that Qantas is an Australian manufacturer of Boeing and Airbus planes.

    In 1967 the Russians had a bigger helicopter, the Mil V-12. An interesting machine and worth searching for.

    Built by a company started by Mikhail Mil (Moscow Helicopter Plant), not Aeroflot. Aeroflot was the Soviet airline and they were a launch customer. It was designed to help exploit Russia's vast remote regions. The Russian airforce and other airforces that Russia liked were users of this machine also.
    I have 77 hours as a co-pilot on these, used for logging.

    When did it start being a 'halo' as opposed to a helo? They're not Halocopters.

      Halo is the NATO code for this machine...all Soviet aircraft got a code. I suppose the NATO tradition still applies post Cold War with new Russian aircraft.

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