Title: The Mi-2 Helicopter
Authors: Michal Fiszer, Jerzy Gruszczynski, and Tomasz Bylica (Translation - Polish to English)
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The Mi-2 was the helicpter type which was manufactured at Swidnik in the greatest numbers, and the scale of its production is among the largest in the world. At the time when its production began in the nineteen sixties, the helicopter was an extremely modern design, powered by two turboshaft engines. Up to 1998, a total of 5418 Mi-2's were built, most of them for export to the Soviet Union. Until now a considerable number of the type remains in operation all over the world. All Mi-2's in operation come from the Swidnik factory, as the Mi-2 was never manufactured in the USSR, nor in any other country outside of Poland.

On October 10th, 1961, the Soviet Pravda published the first photograph of the prototype W-2 turbine-powered helicopter, still before its first test flight. The short note next to the photo caused a lot of interest at Swidnik, where production of the piston-powered SM-1 helicopter was expected to come to an end in the near future. Soon, at the initiative of WSK Swidnik, efforts were undertaken to start production of the new type of helicopter in Poland. As a result of negotiations held over the years 1963-1964, an agreement was signed, on the basis of which the production of the W-2 helicopter, which was later given the Soviet production type designation of Mi-2, was to be wholly transferred to Poland.

Slovakian Mi-2 Mi-2 used by Slovakian Ministry of Interrior Taken by: Milosz Rusiecki

Preparations for the production of the Mi-2 at WSK Swidnik, initially under the type designation of SM-3, started in 1964. Gigantic work began, not only related to the translation of endless volumes of Russian language documentation into Polish, but also resulting from the necessity of developing, practically from scratch, the series production documentation.

The W-2 first took off in the USSR on September 22nd, 1961, with G.W. Atfierov at the controls. Two prototypes were used for factory and government testing, but no further development work was done. Also, no changes or modifications were made in the Soviet documentation as a result of recommendations from the State Committee upon the completion of the government test program.

The first unit of the Mi-2 helicopter was assembled at Swidnik from parts delivered from the Soviet Union and test flown by Rafail Karapatian and Bielusov on August 26th, 1965. The first Mi-2 wholly built in Poland (ser. No. 520001) was test flown on November 4th, 1965, by a crew of three - Wieslaw Mercik, Kazimierz Moskowicz and Henryk Jaworski.

Polish Mi-2 Mi-2 of Polish Border Guard, photographed in 90s. Taken by: Milosz Rusiecki

After the test flight of the first Mi-2 helicopter, however, there was a break caused by the fact that the Russians delivered their own modifications to the documentation. This meant the necessity of redrawing all the documents again and adapting them for Polish production requirements. Like before, the leader of the team redrawing the documents for series production was Stanislaw Trebacz, and Jan Jonczyk was responsible for the development of the necessary production processes and engineering.

Series production started the following year, and the first production machine, serial number 510101086, was completed in August, 1966. At the end of December the helicpter was delivered to the Polish Air Force, to the 47th Wing of Liaison and Ambulance Aviation at Modlin which already operated a considerable number of SM-1 and SM-2 helicopters. It should be noted here that at the stage of beginning series production of the helicopter, the Polish type designation of SM-3 was given up in favour of the Soviet designation Mi-2. That change was made at the demand of the Soviet side.

Beginning with 1967, regular series production of the Mi-2 started. The helicopters were built in batches (series) of 50 units (typically), though that was not an absolutely strict rule. Altogether, a total of 5418 production helicopters were made, in 112 production batches, the last helicopter of the type being built in 1998.

The first Mi-2 helicopters built at Swidnik had a TBO of 200 hours, rapidly increased to 500 hours. However, beginning with the first helicopter from the fifth production batch ( S/N 510501027), which was test flown on March 19th, 1967, by Ryszard Kosiol, the TBO was extended to 1000 hours. That was a quantum leap in quality, as that level had never been reached with the SM-1. The helicopter mentioned was given the civil registration signs of SP-SDL and was used for tests.

Early Mi-2 Mi-2 in basic version used by Polish Ministry of Interrior (103rd MoIA Wing) in early period of service (70s). Taken by: Polish Armed Forces offic

In the years 1967-69, the Institute of Aviation conducted a program of tests on a Mi-2 helicopter with the civil registration of SP-PSC. On the basis of those tests the Ministry of Transport issued a Type Certificate allowing the Mi-2 to be operated by civil aviation.

In the course of production of the Mi-2 a number of different versions were developed, six of them considered as standards, as other specialized variants, developed to meet customer requirements, were based on the six. The six basic versions (standards) were the following:

  • Basic transport and liaison version (serial numbers beginning with „51");
  • Agricultural version (serial numbers beginning with „52");
  • Passenger version (serial numbers beginning with „53");
  • Dual controls training version (serial numbers beginning with „54");
  • Land and sea rescue version (serial numbers beginning with „55");
  • Armed (combat) version (serial numbers beginning with „56").

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