Page MenuHomeFeedback Tracker

Is it too late to get a helicopter designer to work on the Mi-48?
Closed, ResolvedPublic


The Mi-48 is a nice idea - mix of Kamov and Mil designs and technology to produce a general-purpose battlefield helicopter.

However, there are some design issues with the heli which stand out as making it unlikely ever to have left the drawing-board in even the wackiest Iranian design studio.

With a little work between someone who has actually designed helis and Bohemia's excellent graphics artists, a more-believable helicopter which could actually fly would be possible. See additional information for specific comments.


Legacy ID
Additional Information
  • a/c floor is exceedingly thin. Virtually all helis larger than a Bell 47 have their fuel stored under the cabin (any higher and conventional refuel vehicles/ FARP installations would not be able to fill the tank(s)). I suggest a floor at least 25cms thick under the cabin.
  • with the currently-modelled a/c, when static on ground (on its relatively-tall reverse-tricycle undercarriage) the main rotor thrust-line tilts aft of the vertical. All helis compromise between optimisation for work in the hover (vertical thrust line) or at higher speeds (thrust line tilted forward of vertical). No heli that I can think of is configured so that, once the rotors are turning, the a/c starts to move backward - as is the case with your Mi-48. Such a configuration would at best restrict available-forward-cyclic and at worst be uncontrollable even before take-off. I would suggest a low nose-wheel design to overcome this issue, possibly involving moving the Mi28-style 30mm turret up and forward to replace the under-nose sensor.
  • My tandem-rotor experience is restricted to 9 years/ 2700 hours on CH47 and I have absolutely no experience whatsoever on co-axial types. However, I understand that to control a co-ax in yaw during autorotation, significant inputs from vertical control surfaces (rudders) are required. Such rudders either need to be large surface area if close to the rotor thrust line (eg Ka25, 27, 32 et al), or (if small) need to be further away from the thrust line (eg Ka50) to achieve the necessary moment. The current Mi-48 V-tail appears not to offer very much in the way of yaw controllability in autorotation, but would definitely provide a large nose-down force in descent which would require considerable aft-cyclic to overcome. I suggest a conventional vertical surface/twin-tail combination to replace the current V-tail/small horizontal stab/small fin set-up currently fitted.

There are other observations which detract from the overall believability of the design, in particular the excessive height of the airframe (in targetting terms, it's a flying barn door; in aerodynamic terms it has excessive keel area forward of the head...) but the above points are those I suggest could be addressed to make the aircraft 'work'.

Event Timeline

Stan_Dandyliver edited Additional Information. (Show Details)
Stan_Dandyliver set Category to Visual-Vehicles.
Stan_Dandyliver set Reproducibility to N/A.
Stan_Dandyliver set Severity to None.
Stan_Dandyliver set Resolution to Open.
Stan_Dandyliver set Legacy ID to 717870884.May 7 2016, 3:14 PM
Byku added a subscriber: Byku.May 7 2016, 3:14 PM
Byku added a comment.Jul 16 2013, 6:50 PM

Nice points, but i suppose it's a bit too late :/

Actually, all points have major flaws.
1.Fuel tanks do not necessarily need to be below floor to be filled. A simple fuel pump will allow to refuel it in any case.
2.(Edited) Mi-28 has the same trait, see: Note the aft wheel is touching ground only after the heli tilts backwards while IN hover. Basically, it's not a requirement for a heli, it's a "nice to have" option.
3.Yaw control on coaxial helicopters is done NOT by rudders. It's done by applying AoA (angle-of-attack) differential to rotors - resulting moment will rotate the helicopter. (confirmation:, proof: Ka-50 manuals. See DCS: Ka-50 manuals).

Hence, the design is actually pretty believable.

Ta all for reading, and for the feedback. For DarkWanderer, in order of observation:

  1. If the fuel in the Mi48 isn't under the floor it's behind, ahead of or above the cabin. If one or both of the first 2 there would be considerable CofG changes as fuel was used, if the last then the aircraft would be exceptionally top-heavy and would probably blow over in the slightest wind. Manufacturers generally like to keep motion-lotion as low down in the airframe as possible for these reasons, as well as to stop the troops from complaining when the Iranian-manufactured fuel tanks start to leak through the roof onto their buttie-boxes.
  1. I agree that this is probably the weakest of my original observations. However, in attack helis like the Mi28 and AH64 the tail-wheel is at the rear of the aircraft. This location would resist rearward movement and would not allow any yaw-roll coupling on the ground. As the Mi48 currently exists, the combination of a short-track undercarriage and aft-leaning rotor head would give a real world aircraft some very real problems.
  1. Interesting - your first reference describes yaw control when power is applied, using raised collective on one head and lowered collective on t'other to achieve differential torque. Raising collective when the head is under power is fine; the governor or FADEC system will increase power output to that head to maintain RRPM. Raising collective when no power is applied to a rotor will cause a rapid loss of RRPM as drag increases, which will rapidly lead (if uncorrected) to blade stall and extreme blade flapping. My understanding from chatting to the Kamov demo pilot at Redhill in 1998 was that the aircraft still require vertical control surfaces to maintain yaw control in autorotation. However, when I'm back on shift at the Air Ambo on Friday I'll ring one of the 3 ETPS graduates who fly for our company and see what the Test Pilot view is on the subject. I'll try and get back here to post something after the w/end if I've learnt anything apposite.

Byku - I suspect you're right but if you don't ask you don't get, eh!? I hope I don't come across as whingeing about BIS and Arma 3, I think it's a wonderful iteration on a simulation I've been enjoying since 2001. A believable Mi48 would just be the icing on the (already pretty spectacular..) cake.

Well, I haven't got rotary-wing flying experience and/or any test pilot friends...
However, I've got some experience as a flight simulation developer (Rise of Flight title), creating aerodynamic models of aircraft, and I'm still not convinced ;)

1.I can think of at least one configuration where this would be a non-issue - two tanks ahead and behind the passenger cabin. This will negate all effects you describe - and, well, if this does not work, there are plenty of configurations to choose from. IIRC, F-16 has 4(!) internal fuel tanks - and no problems with balance.

2.What are the problems you're taking about? The aircraft basically resembles Mi-28 configuration, only with coax rotors - which does only improve things.

3.If what you describe was the case, you wouldn't be able to perform autorotation on any chopper - because the moment you raise the collective to give some AoA to blades (to "flare" or whatever it's called right before landing), the blades would be stalling instantly. Alas, that's not the case.
There is always some space for *temporarily* adding AoA while in correct autorotation - and while one rotor would be losing energy due to added AoA, another would make up for it due to having AoA decreased. And remember, they are connected through gearbox, so overall rotation speed would just stay approximately the same.
How do I know it? There's no decoupling of cyclic and pedals from blades angle when on autorotation in Ka-50. There are hydro-enhancers, but pedals are mechanically linked to the blades. Hence, you are always using it to change blades AoA even when not having power. And somehow, Ka-50 can perform autorotation in real life...

Hi again DarkWanderer,

Thanks for continuing to follow the conversation - it's good to hear informed views. My own aviation background (flying helis since 1977, instructing since 1984, sadly having to retire on age grounds from operational work (police/ HEMS/ lighthouse ops) next year to concentrate solely on instructing) still hasn't equipped me to answer the co-ax questions from my own experience so I still have to rely on others. Every day's a school day! Fortunately a search through the Tech Log pages on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network site ( came up with a gem:

When you read the replies, it's worth bearing in mind that Shawn Coyle has set up test pilot schools in America and the UK, while Nick Lappos is back at Sikorsky (where they're developing the X2 Co-ax...) having previously been the lead on Commanche test flying before moving to Bell for a while. I'd never heard of 2 Ka50s having been lost through "self mid-air collisions" before - it appears that high-G/low-G and even prolonged right-yaw manoeuvres can lead to excessive blade coning in the lower rotor which have had serious consequences. Anyway, back to the autorotation discussion with a quote from Shawn Coyle in the above link:

"Autorotations for co-axial rotors with mechanical flight control systems are a problem because of the way yaw control is mechanized. What works in the proper direction in powered flight for yaw is reversed in autorotation. So all the current co-axial machines use large vertical stabilizers and rudders and need to have forward airspeed to keep yaw working the 'normal' way. The KA-32 Flight Manual has a minimum airspeed in autorotation of about 60 KIAS if memory serves me well. Below this airspeed 'Special Techniques' are necessary."

A minimum of 60 kts Indicated Airspeed is not too restrictive - the EC135 I currently fly has the same minimum IAS in autorotation. The reference to 'current' co-axial machines is intended to differentiate between them and the possible-future rigid-rotor designs like the X2. I'd love to know what the Kamov 'Special Techniques' would be - a bit like the old constant-attitude autorotations we used to do in aircraft like the Whirlwind/ Gazelle, where your sphincter muscles received far more exercise than is good for them(!).

If I may just go back over your latest reply:

  1. Fixed wing CofG control - especially in an aircraft with active FBW - is a very different kettle of fish from rotary. They can move their CofG over a massive range relative to the Centre of Lift, whereas a heli with just one rotor mast will always hit control stops at extreme 'moments'. The F16's 4 internal tanks is nothing unusual - my old Wessex had 9, all under the cabin.
  1. I think we can agree to differ here. There is as you say an artistically-deliberate strong resemblance to a Mi28 with Kamov co-axial rotors, but I believe that the aft-tilted rotor mast combined with the SH60/Ka60-style mid-tail-boom undercarriage leg would lead to control difficulties on the ground.
  1. I don't think I used the word 'instantly'; I mentioned that in autorotation a raised collective 'left uncorrected' would lead to rapid RRPM decay because that's exactly what happens when we flare-check-level at the bottom of an engine-off landing. We trade the energy stored in the head to decelerate the aircraft vertically, knowing that if we mis-time things the landing will get interesting. You are right in saying that the 2 co-ax rotors are linked through the gearbox; the reduction of RRPM in one rotor would only lead to an equivalent reduction in t'other because there is nothing driving that other. In Kamov designs using articulated co-ax systems the yaw pedals are also connected to the vertical control surfaces on the tailplanes to achieve useful autorotative (I stress that word..) yaw control. The fact that they give impressive sideways-flying characteristics under powered flight is a very useful bonus.

But hey, listen to me blather on. What started as aesthetic observations on a minor part of a marvellous PC sim programme has become a bore-fest on helicopter aerodynamics. As Byku pointed out earlier I'm probably whistling Dixie at this late stage in the development of the programme. To add further insult to injury, I rarely use the helis in ArmA/ Op Flashpoint (too much like what we in the UK call a "busman's holiday") - I'm a frustrated wannabe infantryman who's in the game primarily for the ground activity. I really must let the whole Mi48 thing just wash over me, right?

z-boson added a subscriber: z-boson.May 7 2016, 3:14 PM

"Bohemia's excellent graphics artists" by this definition i should find some excellent graphics in this game...which of i course i don't...which is a shame...really a shame...

Hi there.

Always a pleasure to engage in conversation with someone posessing the skill of civilized argument. Unfortunately, it is quite rare in the internet generally and on this tracker in particular :P
I'm not in any case having a problem with your opinion - after all, opinions exist to have them. What I'm trying to convey is that the initial points you stated look more like "strange/questionable design decisions" than "unlikely to ever leave the drawing board" issues. After all, the original coaxial design met a lot of criticisms from established classic scheme pilots which later proved to be not true - like dual rotor overlap (which happens not much more often than rotor-tail collision on traditional scheme - someone posted the statistics on ED forums a while ago). And that is true for many innovative decisions.

Let's consider it a draw and call it a day :) You do have some good points, whether they are worth implementing is up to BIS to decide.

Very nicely put - it's been a pleasure exchanging opinions.

MadDogX added a subscriber: MadDogX.May 7 2016, 3:14 PM

Mass closing ancient tickets with no activity for > 12 months; assume fixed or too trivial.

If this issue is still relevant in current dev build, please re-post.