The increasing demands for air transport solutions to open up the remoter parts of Russia, convinced the Beriev design bureau that a twin turbo fan amphibian, the Be200, would provide a solution to those demands. The most appealing feature of its design was the possibility of operations from shallow inland water reservoirs and sea areas, (down to 6 feet in depth, at waves heights of 4 feet), and from unpaved runways of up to 1800 yds in length. With the ski landing gear installed, and low maintenance requirement, the aircraft could operate all year round from unprepared surfaces, making it especially desirable for Far North Siberian regions.
Beriev chose the Western Siberian aircraft manufacturer, Irkutsk Aircraft Production Association (IAPA) as its manufacturing partner. IAPA provided the technological development of the construction of the aircraft assemblies and units, permitting the use of progressive assembly methods and manufacture, combined with the advanced quality control methods, to ensure high reliability of the completed aircraft. After further analysis of aircraft market requirements, the decision was made to build the multipurpose jet amphibian. At the present time two amphibians have been built and flown, but their progress to Russian certification is not known.
The Beriev Be200 amphibian was designed for multi operating roles. The mission profiles were defined as; water bomber used for fighting forest fires, passenger operations, cargo transportation, air ambulance, and, search-and-rescue missions, patrol a 200-mile economic zone, service geological survey parties and expeditions, conduct sea fish and ice prospecting, detect oil spots on water surfaces, etc.
The aircraft can be easily converted to perform the different missions.
The version of the aircraft intended for fighting forest fires is fitted with four water tanks with water discharge hatches arranged in pairs in front of and aft of the step. The aircraft can draw up to 12 tonnes of water via its scoops by skimming over the water surface. The high density of the water 'drop' obtained due to the selected design improves effectivness of fire fighting, compared with other aircraft of similar application. The cargo cabin can accommodate 30 firemen with parachute equipment. The Be200 can drop up to 310 tonnes of water per fuel tank load at the distance of 125 miles from the base and a 6 mile water carry to the fire source.
In the passenger version, the cabin can accommodate 68 passengers in tourist class with a seat pitch of 29.5 inches. The amphibian is fitted with a toilet room, wardrobe and a gally/pantry. The crew consists of pilot, co pilot and two attendants.
In the cargo version, the cabin can be filled with containers and/or loose cargoes. The cabin floor is provided with guide rails and a cargo lifting winch. The payload of 8 tonnes can be carried over the range of 680 miles.
In the air ambulance version the cabin is laid out for 7 medical attendants, 30 stretcher cases or 40 seats for invalids.
The versatility offered by the Be200 makes it unique.
23 Oct 98
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