Air-Minded: Gunship Photoblogging

The Pima Air & Space Museum restoration team rolled out our Mil Mi-24 Hind gunship earlier this week. I mentioned this helicopter in an earlier post, after seeing it partially disassembled in the restoration hangar. I was particularly struck by the robust transmission, which would not look out of place in a battleship’s engine room. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-sized photos on Flickr:

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Mi-24 in restoration

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Mi-24 transmission

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Mi-24 switchology

Our Hind was originally a Soviet asset, later transferred to an East German aviation unit. It came to us sporting a combination of Russian cyrillic and German markings, all of which were retained and restored. Here’s what it looks like today:

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Mil Mi-24 on display

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Gunner forward, pilot aft

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Mi-24 gunner’s cockpit

Hinds went into service in the USSR in 1972. Until the late-1980s introduction of special operations Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk variants, there was no Hind equivalent in Western service. We had helicopter gunships and helicopter troop transports, but the Russians held the patent on a helicopter that could do both. The Hind is still very highly regarded as an attack helicopter, scary as hell even sitting still on the ground. “Hind,” of course, is the NATO reporting name for the type. Russian pilots called it the “flying tank,” also the “crocodile,” but it didn’t have an official name in USSR or Warsaw Pact service.

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DDR markings

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Strap-on flare dispenser

Mil Mi-24 Hind D
DDR unit insignia

Hind gunships remain in service in over 50 countries today.

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