TsAGI centenary in the history of aviation: the Be-200 amphibious aircraft
19 September 2018
The Be-200 amphibious aircraft’s merits are lengthy. They have been employed in firefighting in Yalta (Crimea), forest fires in Yakutia, fires in a village in the Amur region, and many other areas. In 2015, it helped search for the wreckage of the Airbus A320-216 in the Java Sea, and participated in the rescue operation for the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia after the trawler “Far East” disaster in the sea of Okhotsk. “Amphibious” in Greek means “leading dual lifestyle,” and the Be-200 fully meets the definition. The plane can take off from both land and water, even with waves of 1.2 meters.
The Be-200 is the descendant of another amphibious aircraft, the A-40 Albatros, developed by the Taganrog aviation scientific-technical complex (Beriev Aircraft Company). The Albatros performed research for TsAGI hydro-dynamists in the 1970-1980s. The boat had a very large length ratio; the additional seaworthiness came through the use of aerodynamic vibration dampers at pitch mode. But the aircraft did not see mass production, so these improvements were inherited by the Be-200.
The Be-200 is a high-wing, T-tail monoplane with a large boat-like hull. It is half the weight of the Albatross, allowing the Be-200 to be highly maneuverable during firefighting. For this purpose, specialists of the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) developed a water induction system. With the help of special water intakes the water is collected from the surface of a reservoir at a rate up to one ton-force at speeds of around 50 M/s as the aircraft skims the water. It has eight tanks under the floor of the aircraft, allowing it to take on up to 12 tons of water.
The Be-200’s first flight took place September 24, 1998. There are several variations of this platform for firefighting, search and rescue, and maritime patrol. The Be-200ChS is equipped with special navigation instrumentation, allowing two crew members to fly the aircraft, fight fires and c perform water intake.