Mil V-12 Homer
The Mil V-12 (NATO reporting name Homer), given the project number Izdeliye 65 ("Item 65"), is the largest helicopter ever built. The designation "Mi-12" would have been the name for the production helicopter, and was not applied to the V-12 prototypes.
Construction of the first prototype was completed in 1968. A first flight on 27 June 1967 ended prematurely due to oscillations caused by control problems; one set of main wheels contacted the ground hard bursting a tyre and bending a wheel hub. The cause of the oscillations proved to be a harmonic amplification of vibrations in the cockpit floor feeding back into the control column when a roll demand was input into the cyclic stick. It was widely but erroneously reported in the Western press that the aircraft had been destroyed.
The first prototype, given the registration SSSR-21142, made its first flight on 10 July 1968 from the Mil factory pad in Panki to the Mil OKB test flight facility in Lyubertsy. In February 1969, the first prototype lifted a record 68,410 lb payload to 9,682 ft. On 6 August 1969, the V-12 lifted 97,455 lb to a height of 7,398 ft, also a world record.
The second prototype was also assembled at the Mil experimental production facility in Panki but sat in the workshop for a full year awaiting engines, flying for the first time in March 1973 from Panki to the flight test facilities in Lyubertsy. Curiously the second prototype was also registered SSSR-21142.
The prototype V-12s outperformed their design specifications, setting numerous world records which still stand today, and brought its designers numerous awards such as the prestigious Sikorsky Prize awarded by the American Helicopter Society for outstanding achievements in helicopter technology. The V-12 design was patented in the USA, Great Britain and other countries.
Despite all of these achievements the Soviet Air Force refused to accept the helicopter for state acceptance trials for many reasons, the main one being that the V-12's most important intended mission no longer existed, i.e. the rapid deployment of heavy strategic ballistic missiles. This also led to a reduction in Antonov An-22 production.