Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hoplite and the Hare

Before there was an Mi-2, there was an Mi-1.

After a first flight in 1948, the GM-1, designed by the Mil OKB, won a state competition to become the first operational helicopter in Soviet Military service. Publicly displayed for the first time in 1951 while U.S. helicopters were first being featured in newsreels during the Korean conflict, the Mi-1 was given the code name "Hare" by NATO.

The Mi-1 carried a pilot and three passengers and was powered by a seven-cylinder air-cooled radial Ivchenko AI-26V piston engine, providing 575 HP. The engine and transmission were located in the main fuselage, where the extended crew and cargo area of the Mi-2 (NATO code name "Hoplite") is found.

An estimated total of 1,800 Mi-1s were built in the USSR up to 1955, when production was transferred to the PZL factory at Swidnik in Poland. The factory, which later began production of the Mi-2 and larger helicopters is now known as PZL-Swidnik and still manufactures helicopters used in other countries throughout the world.

The instruments of the Mi-1 reflect simpler times and systems.

Mi-1 (Hare) ...................... Mi-2 (Hoplite)
While there are differences, the two Mil's share a design heritage.

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