Military Review

"Father of Russian Aviation"

"Father of Russian Aviation"In 1918, the Civil War raged in Russia, ruin reigned. Winter came and brought with it hunger and cold. Stopped transport, the streets in Moscow have long been not cleared of snow and ice. On these icy, snow-covered streets to the center of the city, an old man in a professorial coat, with a big beard, was making his way from his Yauza. He was in a hurry in the MSU auditorium, where several of the most persistent students gathered in the industrial premises. The aging professor Nikolai Ye. Zhukovsky gave them a course on applied mechanics, telling about the future successes of science, about the flight of man into the vast expanses of the ocean of air ...

And then a miracle happened. The new government remembered the dying aviation science in Russia. In December 1918, a government decree signed by V.I. Lenin (by the way, he called NE Zhukovsky “the father of Russian aviation”), the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) was created and Professor Zhukovsky was approved as its head. The impetus for this decision was the Civil War. The White armies had their pilots for aircraft supplied by France and England. Soviet Russia got a ruined fleet of aircraft. It was necessary to teach pilots and aircraft mechanics, because without them the plane would not fly. The Moscow Aviation College was created, then transformed into the Air Force Academy. To create this educational institution and attracted Zhukovsky. But Zhukovsky immediately raised the question of creating a scientific institute for hydroaerodynamics. And Lenin went forward: the authority of Nikolai Yegorovich Zhukovsky in the world of science was unusually great. The institute was created. First, in small rooms on the Yauza, within the framework of the same MVTU, and in the thirties, TsAGI stepped outside Moscow. The necessary site was found on lands previously owned by the Moscow-Ryazan road, in the vicinity of the quiet station Rest. The name suggests that earlier there were quiet summer cottages, but large aviation came here, and the village of Stakhanovo arose in the 30s, a test airfield was built. TsAGI has launched the construction of giant wind tunnels, the scale of which is now amazing.

During the war, Hitler ordered not to bomb TsAGI and its settlement at the request of German scientists, who believed that it was necessary to seize this outstanding scientific center named after Professor Zhukovsky as a whole. But they failed to capture it.

In 1947, the village of Stakhanovo received city status, it was called the city of Zhukovsky. In Soviet times, a huge number of aviation firms, research institutes and design bureaus budged off TsAGI and LII (Flight Research Institute). Here Soviet aviation and space science were forged, the legendary Buran was tested. Even the Cosmonaut Training Center was initially located on the territory of LII.

... I, who was born and grew up in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow, named after our great aerodynamic scientist, academician Nikolai Yegorovich Zhukovsky, from early childhood I remember a huge granite monument to this man in the central city square. His whole figure is filled with amazing power. At the foot of the monument, the words of N.E. Zhukovsky: "A man will fly, relying not on the strength of his muscles, but on the strength of his mind." We can say that Nikolai Egorovich was the embodiment of this power ...

He was a romantic. This somehow does not agree with the image of a venerable scientist, a theorist, but Nikolai Egorovich was never an armchair scientist. He was always in motion, he studied the flight of birds, the laws of motion of water flows, the movement of planets in outer space. Movement in nature in general and became the object of his close study, the main business of his life. This passion for the study of the mechanical laws of motion was passed on to Nikolai Zhukovsky, apparently from his father, a railway engineer who was famous in Russia in the middle of the 19th century. Then the first railways in Russia began to be built, and the father of the future scientist built the Nizhny Novgorod road. Under Vladimir, in the village Orekhovo, he bought himself a small estate. There 17 January (in a new style) 1847, and his son Nikolay Yegorovich Zhukovsky was born.

If his parents knew that exactly one hundred years later, in 1947, a city would appear in the Moscow region - the center of aviation science, named after their son! And probably they would be very surprised, because little Nikolai Zhukovsky didn’t shine at all with his learning abilities, for example, he was badly given a mathematician when he was sent to 4-th Moscow men's gymnasium, where Malinin, the famous textbook teacher, taught mathematics.

Anna Nikolaevna, the mother of a small high-school student, a devout woman, brought her son to the Moscow saint himself, Metropolitan Philaret, and he blessed the boy to study. A miracle, but in a young student a mathematical talent has awakened!

And it is possible that the fact that they began to teach geometry from the 3 class of the gymnasium there also played a role, and this visual science fell in love with Nikolai Zhukovsky, this corresponded to the practical cast of his mind. Since then, Nikolai Egorovich will be engaged in applied sciences all his life and will himself create a new science - aerodynamics.

But as for his romantic inclinations, then what could be more romantic in nature than the flight of birds, their soaring in the expanse of heaven? But where the poet, the namesake of the scientist, Vasily Zhukovsky saw "a light, light breeze that blows so gently," the scientist Nikolai Zhukovsky wanted to see the laws by which this breeze is capable of raising large birds and massive aircraft into the sky. Such, for example, as the apparatus of the famous German inventor Otto Lilienthal, with whom Nikolai Egorovich was well acquainted. He even purchased his glider for study at the Moscow Higher Technical School, where he taught mechanics. The road to this was, of course, not fast. After graduating from Moscow University with a degree in applied mechanics in 1867, he intended to continue his father's railway business and went to St. Petersburg to study at the Institute of Railway Engineers. But he did not succeed in this: he overstrained himself, became ill with a nervous illness, and doctors forbade him to work in sciences for a year. He went to the estate of his parents in the Vladimir region, where he regained his strength and decided not to leave Moscow anymore.

Moscow was his city. He taught physics at the 2-th Women's High School, and then, from 1872, he began to teach mathematics at the Moscow Technical School (the future famous Baumanka). MVTU and became his fortress, his scientific stronghold, which he will not change until the end of his days. There, within the walls of the Moscow Higher Technical School, the Aerohydrodynamic Institute was born, which began with a small laboratory located at first ... in the dining room of the professorial apartment of Zhukovsky, where his museum is now located, on the banks of the small Yauza River. But Zhukovsky also taught at Moscow University, where in 1882, he was awarded a Ph.D. in applied mechanics for the study "On the Strength of Motion".

As an applied scientist, Zhukovsky dealt with a variety of issues. He developed the theory of the motion of ships with jet propulsion. At that time, the first large steel vessels, armadillos, and then battleships began to be built in Russia. For them, it was necessary to find the best hull shape and parameters of the propeller. All this had to be calculated, to carry out numerous tests. As an applied mathematician, Zhukovsky was unparalleled; it seems he could calculate everything, including the laws of water movement in water pipes. The first water supply system was built in Moscow - a consultation of a scientist was needed because the pipes could not withstand the pressure of the water, they collapsed, it was necessary to identify the reason for this. Zhukovsky is developing a theory of water hammer, proposes new valves and taps for water, so that they do not immediately block the water, thus giving rise to this notorious water hammer, but gradually, smoothly. So there were those cranes that we use so far.

In general, the scientist owns many inventions, which he did not patent, but did in general possession completely disinterestedly, publishing them in open reports. This, too, was a feature of this person that was strange to our present "market" consciousness - selflessness, a feature, however, always peculiar to the best representatives of the Russian intelligentsia.

And by the way, it was always their habit to dream, to direct their eyes towards the sky, to imagine a time when a person would gain the ability to fly. Perhaps this has always been inherent in the Russian consciousness, for it is known (from the manuscript of Daniel Zatochnik) that even in the 13th century, on holidays, the Russian people made wings on wooden frames with silk fabric stretched over them and jumped from high towers, landing safely. It was kind of popular fun.

It has been several centuries since those times, and in the Vladimir places, local peasants could see a certain man on a bicycle rolling on rural roads ... with wooden wings fastened behind their backs! And it was the young scientist Nikolai Zhukovsky, who thus studied the lifting force of the artificial wing.

It is known that before him the lifting force of the apparatus was heavier than air was studied by his predecessor in aviation science, naval officer A.F. Mozhaisky, who built something like a huge kite, and, accelerating on a troika of horses, rose on the kite into the air. Subsequently, he built the world's first aircraft with a steam engine, which flew several tens of meters. However, the documents of this invention were laid on the shelf, classified, and Zhukovsky did not know anything about the work of Mozhaisky, he had to start everything from scratch. That is why he was so interested in the experiences of Otto Lilienthal and was very worried about his death in 1896. The death of Lilienthal, which crashed during one of its flights, was the first death of a "flying man", the first victim on the way of all mankind to the sky ...

Maybe Lilienthal, who was not a scientist, but rather a practicing enthusiast, would have survived if he had studied the works of the Russian scientist Zhukovsky on flight theory. And Zhukovsky in 1890 published his first study, “On the theory of flying,” and then the work “On the soaring of birds” in 1891. This was the beginning of aviation science. But the main discovery of the aerodynamics scientist was the work "On the attached whirlwinds", where Zhukovsky derived the lifting formula - the main condition for the flight of the device is heavier than air. Further, up to 1918, Zhukovsky developed the theory of the propeller. These works of the scientist have not lost their relevance to this day.

Gradually, a circle of young scientists, his students, who actively began to study aerodynamics, a new science created by their teacher, formed around Zhukovsky. From this circle came the future great Soviet aircraft designer Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev, who raised aviation in the USSR to an immeasurable height. It so happened that Tupolev opened a monument to his teacher in the city of Zhukovsky in 1969 year. But the path to this was still very far away. The development of aviation immediately required huge investments, which only the state could give. It required the construction of huge laboratories, powerful wind tunnels that created a stream of air of such strength that would reproduce the stream of air that flows around the aircraft in flight. It means that powerful fans were needed, huge costs of electricity. Before the revolution, the state did not invest money in the development of aerodynamic science; in essence, it did not go beyond the boundaries of university laboratories.

Found a representative of domestic business, which helped Zhukovsky. He was a famous member of the richest family of Old Believers merchants, Dmitry Pavlovich Ryabushinsky. A talented young scientist, he studied with Zhukovsky at the Department of Applied and Theoretical Mechanics at Moscow State University, opened the Aerodynamic Institute in Kuchino near Moscow (now the district of Balashikha) with his own money.

A few workshop hangars, the scope, of course, is small, but this amateur institute, or rather, a laboratory taken out of the city limits, was a prototype of the future TsAGI, but it also lacked funds for full-fledged scientific developments. However, the institute successfully worked until 1920, produced five collections of his works, which, we note, is not enough for a reputable scientific institution, then was nationalized at the request of Ryabushinsky himself and attached to the State Geophysical Research Institute. This institute had no significant influence on the scientific fate of Zhukovsky himself. Nevertheless, his native MVTU and the department of mechanics at Moscow State University always remained the main platforms for Professor Zhukovsky, where the first large wind tunnel for testing aircraft models was built by him and his students in the university laboratory.

... In 2009, the famous Air Force Engineering Academy named after Professor Zhukovsky was eliminated by the former leadership of the Ministry of Defense, apparently out of use ... Now, unfortunately, it is badly stunned, it was revived in Voronezh as the Air Force Academy named after Professor N.Ye. Zhukovsky and Yu.A. Gagarin.

Yes, now aviation science in Russia is in a certain corral. Aviation institutes remained, but the number of personnel working in them was greatly reduced. The test airfield LII is converted into a commercial airport "Zhukovsky". Now there are very few new models of domestic aircraft. For some reason, even the name of our great scientist Zhukovsky is called a plane from the Boeing series. But does this diminish the glory of Nikolai Egorovich? And did he ever chase fame? .. He did everything he could in his life and died quietly after a serious illness in March 1921. He was buried at Donskoy Cemetery of the capital. At his funeral, his student, academician SA Chaplygin, Zhukovsky’s successor as TsAGI director, said: “With his bright, powerful personality he united both the highest mathematical knowledge and engineering sciences. He was the best combination of science and technology, he was almost a university.

Not distracting anything transient, only to the best of inevitable necessity, paying tribute to the needs of life, he devoted all his gigantic powers to scientific work. His whole nature was devotedly devoted to this work. This is what explains the tremendous wealth of the heritage that passes from him to us.

With his clear, surprisingly transparent mind, he was sometimes able to resolve and bring such light into dark, seemingly hopeless questions with one stroke of the pen that after his word everything became convex and clear ...
He created not a school, but schools. "

And he was a man flying into the future - we add from ourselves. There would be more such people in Russia today!

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. parusnik
    parusnik 22 January 2017 15: 31
    And then a miracle happened. The new government remembered the dying aviation science in Russia.
    And not only .. In 1918 to 1921, the State Physical-Technical Institute of the GIPT, the State Optical Institute of the State Optical Institute, and the State Radium Institute of GRI were established in Petrograd. The Institute of Physics and Biophysics, the Research Institute of Physics and Crystallography, the Physics and Mathematics Institute, and the Main Geophysical Laboratory were created in Moscow. At that time, the Nizhny Novgorod Radio Laboratory, which was created in Tver in June 1918, and in August of the same year it was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod, began to expand its activities in Nizhny Novgorod.
  2. gridasov
    gridasov 22 January 2017 17: 04
    The evolution of human knowledge of nature and the possibility of using them for applied purposes is like an algorithmic process when one genius must replace another. Zhukovsky worked in the spirit of the requirements of his time, and new times are signified by new tasks. This means that new unique ideas that are not divorced from the realities of their embodiment should appear. However, there has always been a disagreement when ideas appear and are positioned in front of people and when they are accepted and I begin to understand their importance and the need for implementation.
  3. Dekabrist
    Dekabrist 22 January 2017 17: 18
    The flight of Mozhaisky's plane remained a controversial issue. If the flight took place, then in the summer of 1883, or even in the summer of 1885. By this time, Alexander Fedorovich himself asked to create a commission of members of the Russian Technical Society. Such a commission, chaired by M. A. Rykachev, met. She got acquainted with the plane and in the decision signed on February 22, 1883, noted that the first Russian plane of Mozhaisky was "almost ready". At the same time, she pointed out the insufficient power of the power plant on the aircraft and "recommended the ratio of lift to drag force to be taken equal to 3.7, instead of 9.6, (as declared by the inventor), in connection with which the required engine power was determined at 75 horsepower, and not 30 ". The purges at TsAGI showed that the commission of M.A. Rykacheva assessed the characteristics of the "device" much more realistically than the author of the project himself.

    In July (it has not yet been precisely determined which year. The studies indicate the time interval from 1882 to 1885), Mozhaisky tried to fly the aircraft in the presence of representatives of the military department and the Russian Technical Society. The mechanic I.N. Golubev piloted. During the take-off run on horizontally laid wooden rails, the plane tipped and broke the wing. Nevertheless, there are still occasional claims that the first Mozhaisky plane took off from the ground. Messages of this kind first appeared in the newspaper in 1909, were repeated in an article about Mozhaisky in the "Military Encyclopedia" of 1916, and then were widely put into circulation at the end of the 1940's - the beginning of the 1950's.

    The opinion about the perfect flight of the aircraft was also formed thanks to the testimonies of eyewitnesses found by various authors in the archives. There is also a hypothesis about the flight, which could be carried out under the current weather conditions on July 20. But since the exact date of the flight has not yet been established, all this information should be recognized only as hypothetical.

    Tests of the aircraft model conducted in 1979 — 1981. TsAGI showed that the first plane, in principle, was unable to fly into the air - there was not enough traction. It should be noted that after the first unsuccessful experiments, Mozhaisky orders more powerful engines at the Obukhov Steel Plant. With these new engines, TsAGI concluded in the 1982 year, there would be enough power to take off. Both new Mozhaisky engines were only ready at the beginning of the 1890 year. They, along with the first two machines removed from the aircraft after its testing, were transported to the Baltic Shipyard, where they were stored in a warehouse. However, Mozhaisky failed to install new, more powerful machines and test them - he died in March 1890.
  4. Dekabrist
    Dekabrist 22 January 2017 17: 28
    The author once casually mentioned the theory of water hammer. To date, it is the basis for solving problems associated with the phenomena of water hammer, and at one time brought the author world fame.
    In 1899 he published a major work "On hydraulic shock in water pipes", which considered a very complex issue of the causes of accidents in the main pipes of the water supply. Zhukovsky established that the cause of these accidents is a water hammer, that is, the phenomenon of a sharp increase in pressure in the pipes when the valve in the pipe is closed. On the basis of many experiments, he revealed the physical essence of the phenomenon of water hammer and gave formulas for determining the time required to safely close water pipes (without the appearance of a water hammer), as well as a way to protect the water supply from damage due to water hammer.
  5. Pushkar
    Pushkar 22 January 2017 17: 50
    Now, unfortunately, greatly shook, it was revived in Voronezh as the Air Force Academy named after Professor N.E. Zhukovsky and Yu.A. Gagarin.
    What is there "revived"! The entire faculty, the entire scientific base, everything remained in Moscow. Decades are needed for the revival, and even then it is not known what will happen far from scientific centers.
    1. Aviator_
      Aviator_ 22 January 2017 20: 13
      The Academy was defeated. In Voronezh, they are trying to do everything anew. Years through 30, maybe they will. And Marshal Taburetkin is not in poverty, he is looking to liquidate it.
  6. midshipman
    midshipman 22 January 2017 17: 56
    Thank you Stanislav for the article. I am also sorry that our aviation institutes are in miserable condition. We devoted a lot of energy to the tearing aviation academies and universities. Already after returning from Moscow (I worked there for 35 years) I teach at GUAPE - the former LIAP (head of the part-time department). Without young specialists, we won’t be able to raise aviation science. I have the honor.
  7. Oldenburg
    Oldenburg 22 January 2017 19: 04
    Two strongest Mans of the Universe met Zhukovsky and Lenin and understood each other. Each one made his dream easily without straining. And each in his work took his soul away in full.
  8. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 22 January 2017 20: 16
    TsAGI is not the best of times now - in 2017, almost the entire social network was thrown off the balance: the Korablik kindergarten, the Meteor sports complex, the sanatorium, the Salut recreation center in the village of Volodarsky. So far, only the clinic remains. Yeltsin's cause lives on and wins!
  9. avt
    avt 22 January 2017 22: 38
    He was in a hurry in the audience of Moscow State University, where several of the most persistent students gathered in the frozen premises.
    wassat what And this is when he taught there after the revolution of the 17th ??? No, I heard about the fact that he defended a dissertation there. And he taught at MTU, well, the future of MVTU, where he organized an aerodynamic laboratory. Was he after the 10th year at the Moscow State University taught at the Department of Mechanics?
  10. Nitarius
    Nitarius 23 January 2017 07: 19
    Well, what do you want ... when the Romanovs were dominated by foreign pseudoscientists ... but right now I look again this trend ... Foreigners come and begin to teach children all nonsense
  11. Vitalson
    Vitalson 25 January 2017 15: 13
    And how is the professorial coat different from the boyar one, for example?