Russian flight safety authority Rosaviatsia denies it has any plans to temporarily ground the nation’s fleet of Mil Mi-8T helicopters, the watchdog said on Wednesday following media reports that a ban was being considered.
The Mi-8 and its updated variant, the Mi-17, is the most widely produced helicopter in history, and hundreds remain in service throughout the world, particularly in Russia and the former Soviet Republics.
Recent media reports claimed that the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK), a CIS flight safety authority, had issued a recommendation to the Mil Moscow Helicopter Factory, the design authority for the Mi-8, that the machine should have modifications to protect passengers from parts of the engine which could break up in an accident.
“There is no discussion of a temporary grounding of the Mi-8,” Rosaviatsia said, and declined further comment.
RIA Novosti was unable to obtain comment from MAK, or Mil in Moscow.
The Mi-8 is a utility helicopter often used in passenger transport roles, particularly in Russia’s oil and gas industry and the armed forces.