||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2008)|
|First flight||18 August 1965|
|Developed into||Kamov Ka-126, Kamov Ka-226|
The Ka-26 entered production in 1969. 816 have been built. A variant with a single turboshaft engine was the Ka-126. A twin turboshaft-powered version is the Ka-226. (All the Ka-26/126/128/226 variants are codenamed "Hoodlum").
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 cropduster versions. The helicopter can fly with or without the box attached, giving it much flexibility in use. The Ka-26 is small enough and handles well enough to land on a large truck bed.
The main weakness of the Ka-26 is its engine. It is powered by two 325 hp (239 kW) Vedeneyev M-14V-26 radial engines mounted in off-board nacelles. The reciprocating engines, although more responsive than modern turboshafts, are relatively maintenance intensive. The Ka-26 is underpowered with its two radial engines, especially when used in cropdusting role, where excess payload is common. No other helicopter exists in the world that runs at constant 95% engine power for most of its flight regime. This leaves the pilot with little power reserve for emergencies. Due to frequent overloads, the interconnect shaft which joins the two engines is prone to breakage and requires frequent inspection.
The standard instrumentation of the Ka-26 resembles that of larger naval Kamovs and is considered excessive for civilian or cropdusting use. The large cockpit panel with its 18 main dials obscures a significant part of the right-downwards view direction from the cabin, which is crucial to avoid telephone and power lines in agricultural and other low-altitude roles. It is common practice to replace the instrument panel with a simplified layout, retaining only the six generally useful dials for better vision.
The low height of the lower rotor requires passengers and crew to approach from the rear when the rotors are turning, as it is low enough to contact a person's head at the front of the aircraft.
The Ka-26 was used by some WARPAC armies in the light desant or airborne role, but its slow (150 km/h) cruise speed compared with the Mil-2 (220 km/h) limits its military use but its shorter length (7,75m) compared with the Mil Mi-2 (11,9m) was an advantage when operating in an urban area, also a smaller rotor (13m) than the Mil-2 (14,6m) is an advantage, it has a longer range than the Mil-2 as well. It is, however, eminently useful for cropdusting. The coaxial main rotor configuration, which makes the Ka-26 small and agile, also results in a delicate airflow pattern under the helicopter, providing a thorough yet mild distribution of chemicals onto the plants. The Ka-26 is often used to spray grape farms in Hungary, where conventional "main rotor and tail rotor" layout helicopters would damage or up-root the vine-stocks with their powerful airflow. Hungarian Kamov operators claim that coaxial rotors of the Ka-26 creates an airflow which allows pesticides to settle underneath, rather than on top of, the leaves, this means a much more effective distribution of pesticides, as most pests and parasites do not live on the top side of foliage. Additionally, the coaxial vortex system is symmetrical, allowing the distribution of the pesticide to be more uniform. Symmetrical vortices
- Ka-26 Hoodlum-A
- One or two crew utility light helicopter, powered by two 325-hp (239-kW) VMK (Vedeneyer) M-14V-26 radial piston engine. 850 built.
- NOTAR technology testbed for the Ka-118 fitted with tail jet beams.
- Ka-126 Hoodlum-B
- One or two crew utility light helicopter, powered by one 720-shp (537-kW) OMKB "Mars" (Glushenkov) TVD-100 turboshaft engine. First flown in 1986, built and developed by Industria Aeronautică Română in Romania. 2 prototypes and 15 series helicopter built.
- A prototype light armed escort helicopter based on the Ka-126.
- One prototype, powered by a 722-shp (538-kW) Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 turboshaft engine.
- Kamov Ka-226
- Six or seven seat utility helicopter, powered by two 450-shp (335-kW) Rolls-Royce (Allison ) 250-C20R/2 turboshaft engines.
- West Copter 
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982-83 
- Crew: 2
- Capacity: 6 passengers (cargo/passenger pod)
- Payload: 900 kg (1,985 lb) (chemical hopper)
- 1,100 kg (2,425 lb) (flying crane)
- Length: 7.75 m (25 ft 5 in)
- Rotor diameter: 2x 13.00 m (42 ft 8 in)
- Height: 4.05 m (13 ft 3½ in)
- Disc area: 265.5 m² (2,856 ft²)
- Empty weight: 1,950 kg (4,300 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 3,250 kg (7,170 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Vedeneyev M-14 V-26 radial piston engines, 239 kW (325 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 170 km/h (91 knots, 105 mph)
- Range: 400 km (215 nmi, 248 mi) (7 passengers, 30 min reserves)
- Endurance: 3 hr 42 min
- Service ceiling: 3,000 m (9,840 ft)
- Disc loading: 12 kg/m² (2.5 lb/ft²)
- Power/mass: 150 W/kg (0.09 hp/lb)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- "Gazpromavia - fleet". gazpromavia.ru. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "West Copter "about us"". westcopter.ro. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 44". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Bulgarski voennovazdushni sili Ka-26". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- World Air Forces - Historical Listings Mongolia (MON). worldairforces.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-27.
- "Valstybes Sienos Apsaugos TarnybaLa-26". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "World's Air Forces 1981 pg. 346". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Magyar Légiero Ka-26". Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Taylor 1982, pp. 204–205.
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