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VW Group Building Helicopters With Russian Tech Firm

ItalDesign Giugiaro / Comments

VW's Italdesign worked with Russian Helicopters on the new VRT500.

When the Volkswagen Group took over Italdesign, it surely had its eyes on the studio's automotive expertise. But as it turns out, the House That Giorgetto Built can do a lot more than just cars.

Like helicopters, for example. Russian aerospace concern VR-Technologies tapped Italdesign to help it develop the new VRT500, a new six-passenger, single-engine whirly bird just revealed. And from what we can see, it looks like a rather handsome set of rotors – just as we've come to expect from the design studio founded by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro.

The VRT500 represents the first foray from state-owned parent company Russian Helicopters into the light-helicopter category, which accounts for some 18 percent of copters sold around the world each year. The company hopes to gain 15 percent of that market, and to that end has developed an aircraft with the biggest passenger and cargo cabin capacities in its class.

With its counter-rotating blades, the VRT500 has a payload capacity of 1,609 pounds (for a total takeoff weight of 3,527 lbs), reach speeds of up to 155 miles per hour, and travel as far as 534 miles.

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It'll be offered in a number of configurations as well, for passengers, cargo, training, and medevac applications. And of course its styling doesn't hurt, either.

"Our Industrial Design Division has a wide-ranging and transversal know-how and is able to combine design skills and stylistic sensibilities together with technology and engineering in creative ways, which is why it remains a constant reference point worldwide," said Italdesign CEO Jörg Astalosch. "Over the years we have demonstrated we love facing new challenges and working with a technical, pioneering partner such as VR-Technologies is a stimulus to keep setting the bar of innovation pretty high."

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