This is one of the most bizarrely designed helicopters ever produced in the world, the Kamov Ka-26 (NATO reporting name Hoodlum)

The Kamov Ka-26 was built as a Soviet light utility helicopter with coaxial rotors. It entered production in 1969, with a total of 816 built. The most noticeable point is the very large engines mounted on the sides of the fuselage. Like other Ka-series aircraft, the Ka-26 is a coaxial helicopter with two propellers on the roof, which helps the helicopter do not need a conventional tail rotor system.

The fuselage of the Ka-26 consists of a fixed, bubble-shaped cockpit containing the pilot and co-pilot, plus a removable, variable box available in medevac, passenger-carrying and crop duster versions. The helicopter can fly with or without the box attached for flexibility. Although it is a utility helicopter, the flight performance of this aircraft is nothing special except that it has good maneuverability thanks to the coaxial propellers.

Kamov Ka-26
Kamov Ka-26

The Ka-26 is powered by two 325 hp (239 kW) Vedeneyev M-14V-26 radial engines mounted in outboard nacelles. It can reach a top speed of 170 km/h, a cruise speed of 150 km/h, a range of about 400 km, and a service ceiling of 3,000 meters. The Ka-26 has a length of 7.75 m, a width of 3.64 m, a height of 4.05 m, an empty weight of 1.95 tons, and a maximum take-off weight of 3.25 tons.

On the Ka-26s that are still in use today, the steering system inside the cabin has been improved with electronic screens to help the pilot have better flight control and navigation compared to original dashboard system with just a few clocks. The Ka-26 is small enough to land on a large truck bed.

Currently, 8 countries are using this multi-purpose light helicopter for many different purposes. The 3 main operators include Russia, Romania and Hungary. Due to the limitations of the Ka-26, USSR and Romania agreed under the Comecon trade to build a single-turboshaft engine version, the Kamov Ka-126, with better aerodynamics and range. A twin turboshaft-powered version is the Ka-226.

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