Biggest Helicopter Ever

The biggest helicopter ever made is the Mil V-12. It is also known as the Mi-12. It is 7.00 m (121 ft 4 in) long and 12.50 m (41 ft 0 in) high. The Mil-V-12 was developed by the Soviet Union.

Technical Specifications

The capacity is 30,000 kg (66,000 lb) STOL, VTOL 25,000 kg (55,000 lb) or 40,204.5 kg / 88,636 lb (record). The rotor has a diameter of 2x 35.00 m (114 ft 10 in).

The loaded weight is 97,000 kg (213,850 lb). The maximum takeoff weight is 105,000 kg (231,500 lb). The powerplant is 4× Soloviev D-25VF turboshaft, 4,048 kW (6,500 shp) each.

The biggest helicopter ever was piloted by six crew members; the navigator, radio operator, electrician, flight engineer, the pilot and the co-pilot.

Performance Specifications

The Mil V-12 can reach a speed of 260 km/h (140 kt). The service ceiling is 3,500 m (11,500 ft). The range is 500 km (310 miles).

Design and Development

Production of the V-12 started in 1965. As the specs indicate, it was designed to lift large components. The initial prototype was made on June 27, 1967. The helicopter has a two-rotor transverse scheme, so there is no need for the tail rotor.

The first prototype was given the name of SSSR-21142. Its maiden flight was on July 10 1968. It flew from the Mil factory pad in Panki. It landed in Lyubertsyat the Mil OKB facility. On February 1969, the helicopter carried a payload weighing 31,030 kg.

On August 6, 1969, the V-12 carried a payload of 44,205 kg (88,636 lb). The payload was lifted to a height of 2,255 m (7,398 feet). This record remains standing to this day.

The second prototype made its maiden flight in March 1973. As with the first prototype, the helicopter flew from Panki to Lyubertsy.
This prototype was registered as SSSR-21142.


The V-12 was recognized worldwide for its many records and achievements. It was the recipient of the Sikorsky Prize for contributions to helicopter technology.

However, the V-12 was never accepted by the Soviet Union Air Force. One reason was the costly design. Another reason was that the missiles it was supposed to deliver were already being phased out. All work on the V-12 ended in 1974.

Today, the biggest helicopter ever made can be found at the Mikhail Leontyevich Mil helicopter plant in Moscow. The second prototype can be seen in the Monino Air Force Museum, also in Moscow.

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