I like airplane and helicopter sounds and I often look up as soon as I hear one. This Sunday, a particular sound was heard above Bratislava beside the privately owned small leisure aircrafts. A heavier and louder sound ... usually announcing a big flying beast incoming :-)
Some heavy and bulky transportation operations have been going on in Bratislava this Sunday and the big boy on duty was a Mil Mi-17. The aircraft is a 7.5-ton Soviet-designed and Russian built transport, search & rescue or medical evacuation helicopter family manufactured by Mil Moscow helicopter plant and Kazan helicopters. It is mostly used as a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter but there are airborne command post versions as well as armed military gunship versions including sophisticated and versatile weapon systems from machine gun over bombs or rockets to anti-tank guided missiles making it a proper war machine referred to as Mi-8. Production started in 1975 and modern variants are still produced today. The helicopter series is still the backbone of the Russian troop and gear deployment force today. About 12000 units (2007) have been completed.
It looks cool and pretty uncommon for western eyes but it is in fact one of the most prolific utility helicopters ever built and the third-most common operational military helicopter in the world. It's being used in over 50 countries for military and civil operations.
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