Russian turboprop LMS-901 Baikal’s maiden flight to take place in 2022

Single-engine aircraft is considered a replacement for the legendary An-2 and had the first prototype presented at MAKS 2021

Russia is not only developing a new series of commercial aircraft, but also seeking a replacement for the legendary Antonov An-2, a radial-engined piston biplane that is still used today in remote regions of the immense nation.

The most likely candidate is the LMS-901 Baikal, a single-engine turboprop designed by Baikal Engineering. The aircraft had its first prototype unveiled at MAKS 2021 and should have performed its maiden flight this year.

But, according to a statement by Dennis Manturov, Russian Industry and Trade Minister, “This will definitely take place early [next] year,” in response to TASS on Wednesday.

Unlike other major projects, Baikal is not owned by United Aircraft Corporation but by Ural Works of Civil Aviation, based in Yekaterinburg (formerly Sverdlovsk).

LMS-901 Baikal

The company will begin series production of the utility single-engine in 2023, with expectations of reaching 300 aircraft by 2030.

The LMS-901 Baikal is equipped with an H80 engine developed by GE Aviation at its subsidiary in the Czech Republic. The aircraft can carry nine passengers or 2 tons of payload over distances of up to 1,500 km.

The turboprop is capable of reaching 300 km/h and is configured with a conventional landing gear, such as the An-2. Its main competitors are the Cessna Caravan and the Pilatus PC-6. The price of Baikal is estimated at $1.6 million.

Despite the modern design, the Baikal has a huge challenge ahead as the An-2 had more than 18,000 aircraft produced by 2001, a milestone almost impossible to overcome.

Antonov An-2 (Aleksandr Markin)
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