Designer of Epic Mil Helicopters Dies

By Staff Writer | May 1, 2015
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At his retirement, Tishchenko had helped develop 75-80 percent of the Soviet Union’s helicopters. Photo courtesy of AHS Iternational.

Marat Tishchenko, the Mil Design Bureau’s chief designer from 1970 to 1991, died March 13 after a long illness, AHS International reports. He was 84.

“Perhaps the crowning achievement of his career was leading the design and development of the Mi-26, the world’s largest operational helicopter – even to this day,” the vertical flight technical society said. The Mi-26 made its first flight in 1977.
In 1967, Mil entrusted Tishchenko with developing the 230,000-pound V-12, the largest helicopter ever flown.


According to AHS, Marat Nikolayevich Tishchenko was born in the Soviet Union in 1931 in what is now Kharkiv, Ukraine. He specialized in helicopter construction at the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI). In 1954, while a student, he set a world record for flight duration of a model helicopter.

He joined Mil in 1956 as an aerodynamicist. In 1961, Mil placed him in charge of its aerodynamics team. Two years later, he began leading the preliminary design department. He then led the overall design department.

When Mikhail Mil died in 1970, Tishchenko was appointed chief designer, in charge of the design bureau’s 5,000 employees. Over the next 21 years, Mil would develop some of the world’s most capable helicopters. They included the Mi-28 attack helicopter and civil Mi-34 in the 1980s and continued modernization of the Mi-8, Mi-14, Mi-24 and Mi-26.

During Tishchenko’s 35-year career at Mil, the plant introduced or created major modifications of 36 military and civilian helicopters. At the time of his retirement, he had participated in the development of 75-80 percent of the Soviet Union’s helicopters.

In 1998, Tishchenko joined the University of Maryland’s Rotorcraft Center, where he served as a visiting professor. He contributed to early micro air vehicle (MAV) research there, while continuing to lecture at MAI in Moscow.

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