10-Aug-2011 Source: HeliHub.com
A new Russian light helicopter, the Berkut VL, will go on show for the first time at the Moscow Air Show at Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport next week, the manufacturer announced yesterday.Â â€œWe will show the first production standard Berkut VL, patented for mass production, at MAKS,â€ a Berkut representative said.Â The company has not provided detailed information on how this variant differs from the standard Berkut shown at HeliRussia earlier this year.
Berkut VL is a two-seat light commercial helicopter with a take-off weight of 740 kg, a 147 hp engine, a maximum speed of 174 km/h, and range of 380 km.Â The machine is being produced at a plant in Tolyatti in central Russia. The factory can produce up to 15 a month, and they are aiming directly at the R22 market. Robinson have been very successful in Russia with both the R22 and R44.
Berkutâ€™s chief designer Valentin Malkin said that using a coaxial rotor format means that the helicopter is easy to fly for new pilots.
â€œThese helicopters have no competitor in Russia,â€ Berkutâ€™s development director Dmitry Rumyantsev said. â€œThey are competitive with foreign helicopters in their technical characteristics, but are around half the price.â€.Â The pricing is dependent on various engine options.Â With a Lycoming O-320 engine, the price is estimated around $130,000 with a “quantity discount” available – if you commit to ten airframes, the price reduces to 105,000.Â With a local Russian ConverVAZ engine, a much lower figure of $70,000 is being quoted.
HeliHub.com has not found a photo of the Berkut flying, so our view on the production status of the type is a cautious one.
Nikolai Vanesev – HeliHub.com Moscow correspondent