Evolution

The desire to fly is hardwired into us. The opportunities that flight gives us are truly boundless. Little wonder, then, that the first attempts to build flying machines were made several hundred years ago.

The first mention of helicopter-like machines came in China, in the 4th Century AD. Leonardo da Vinci designed aircraft in 1475. In 1920, Juan de la Cierva unveiled the autogiro.

Nikolay Kamov was one of the founders of the Russian school of helicopter manufacturing. He was the first to coin the Russian word for helicopter: vertolyot. Before then the word helicopter, with its Greek roots, was all there was. The first recorded official use of the Russian word came on 8 February 1929, in the minutes of the OSOAVIAKHIM Central Committee Engineering Commission meeting chaired by Boris Yuriev.

The intensive development seen in the helicopter sector testifies to man’s ever-increasing hunger for the opportunities that flight offers.


  • to 1940
  • 1940-1950
  • 1960-1991
  • 1991-2000s

1889
1902
1907
1907
1909
1929

Igor Sikorsky, Russian-American inventor and aircraft designer, responsible for creating the single-rotor helicopter, is born.

14 September


Nikolai Kamov, , Soviet aircraft designer who created the Ka helicopter series, is born.
29 September - First successful vertical take-off. It lasted one minute and took place with the helicopter tethered and without a pilot.

The helicopter, weighing 578 kg, rose 50cm above the ground. It was designed by the brothers Louis and Jaques Bregeut.
13 November

French engineer Paul Cornu successfully carried out a vertical take-off in a helicopter. The helicopter rose 50 cm into the air for a total duration of 20 seconds.
22 November Mikhail Mil, legendary Soviet aircraft designer and creator of the legendary Mi-helicopters, is born.

Nikolai Kamov, the brilliant designer, builds the first KASKR-1 gyroplane. The A-7 gyroplane was later built at the Central Aero-hydrodynamic Institute’s special construction centre.

1940
1945
1947
1948
1949
1951
1952
1953
1956
1957
1958
1959
Nikolai Kamov heads up the first plant building rotary-wing aircraft.
Nikolai Kamov begins work on the ultra-small one-seat coaxial Irkutyanin, fitted with an M-76 motorcycle engine.

Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute forms a helicopter laboratory led by legendary helicopter designer Mikhail Mil.

Test and construction bureau formed, led by Mikhail Mil.

First super-light Ka-8 built.

Light multi-role Mi-1 makes its maiden flight. Mikhail Mil started working on the light three-seater as soon as the Second World War ended.

Irkutyanin demonstrates truck-based take-off and landing at an air show in Tushino.

Nikolai Kamov’s construction bureau OKB-2, later to become the Ukhta Helicopter Plant, is officially founded.
First ultra-small coaxial Ka-10, known as the “flying motorcycle” built.
Mikhail Mil and OKB create the Mi-1, the first Soviet helicopter to go into serial production.

- Work starts on the Mi-4 transport helicopter. To this end, OKB-Mil absorbs the only specialised helicopter plant, factory No.3, in Moscow.
The Mi-4 multi-role transport helicopter makes its maiden flight, laying the foundations for Russian helicopter aviation.
Test pilot D.K. Yefremov makes the first flight of the multi-role Ka-15. Later, the pilot V.V Vinitsky won two world fixed-route speed records in the Ka-15.
Mass production of Ka-15 begins at aviation plant number 99 in Ulan-Ude.

Test pilot R.I. Kaprelyan makes the first flight in the heavy transport Mi-6, which paved the way for Russian superiority in civilian-use heavy helicopters.

The Ka-18 completes state testing and enters serial production: 111 are produced over a 20-year period.

The experimental V-7 series, with wing-mounted turbojet engines, enters production.

First experimental Ka-22 rotary-wing aircraft assembled, with transverse twin-screw engines.
Ka-22 rotary-wing aircraft makes its first flight under test pilot D.K. Yefremov.

1961
1962
1963
1965
1966
1967
1969
1970
1971
1973
1974
1976
1980
1982
1983
1986
1987
1991
The Ka-25, the first Russian naval helicopter, takes off for the first time.

Light multi-role Mi-2, for many years the basic training and sports helicopter, makes its maiden flight.

Maiden flight of the medium multi-role Mi-8, the heaviest mass-produced helicopter. More than 12,000 have been produced.

Maiden flight of the Mi-14, the world’s largest amphibian helicopter, able to take off from and land and be based on water.

Mi-6 takes off with a 20.1-ton load. At the time, it was the world’s heaviest-lifting and fastest helicopter. It has a maximum speed of 300 km/hr.
Fibreglass blades first made for the Ka-15.

Mi-6 officially adopted by the Soviet and other Armed Forces for military operations.
The Mi-10K, the “flying crane”, a high-tech transport helicopter, takes off for the first time.
More than 700 Mi-4s sold to 34 countries in a decade.
The V-12, the largest helicopter ever built, makes its maiden flight.
The Mi-24, the world’s most experienced attack helicopter, in service in more than 50 countries worldwide, makes its maiden flight.
Plant number 329 renamed the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant.
The V-12 – a four-engine, dual-rotor transport helicopter – is demonstrated to great acclaim at the 29th Le Bourget air show near Paris.
Test model of the multi-role transport Ka-27 takes off for the first time.
Ukhta Helicopter Plant given the name of its chief designer, Nikolai Kamov.
Prototype Ka-29, a military transport helicopter based on the Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopter, makes its maiden flight
The Ka-32 civilian multi-role helicopter makes its maiden flight.
Single-seat strike Ka-50 Black Shark makes its maiden flight.
Mi-1, the first Mil helicopter, officially withdrawn from use, having set 27 world records.
The multi-role and training Mi-34C – the only helicopter to have performed stunts – makes its maiden flight
Ka-31 early-warning radar helicopter makes maiden flight.
N.I. Kamov Ukhta Helicopter Plant renamed the N.I. Kamov Helicopter Scientific and Technical Complex

1996
1997
1998
2003
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012

Mi-28N night Hunter, a day-night all-weather military helicopter designed to carry out search and destroy operations against tanks, armoured vehicles and personnel, to destroy protected sites and defence installations, to fly search-and-destroy operations against boats and other small naval vessels; and to combat low-speed and low-altitude enemy aircraft, makes its maiden flight.

OJSC Kamov established

Light multi-role Ka-226, a modernised version of the renowned Ka-26, makes maiden flight
Multi-role Ka-60 produced for the Russian Air Force makes its maiden flight.

New ultra-heavy multi-role Mi-38 makes its maiden flight. The multirole Mi-38 helicopter can be used for passenger and cargo transportation, as a VIP transport vehicle, on search-and-rescue missions, as an airborne hospital, and in offshore missions.

Russian Helicopters group formed. The group comprises design bureaux, helicopter plants, entities working to build, service and repair components, and service companies that provide post-sale services within Russia and internationally.

The military Ka-52 Alligator goes into serial production.
Medium multi-role Ka-32A11BC certified for commercial use by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
Consolidation of Russian helicopter-building assets into Russian Helicopters group completed.

214 helicopters supplied, order portfolio stands at 430.
262 helicopters supplied, order portfolio doubled – rising to 859 helicopters, with a profit margin of 17%
Russian Helicopters companies produce 290 helicopters.