While there were experiments with parachutes, Grokhovsky began work on a new project, however, also associated with the landing. Pavel Ignatievich invented special cradles that could be hung under the wings of airplanes. The people of this invention immediately dubbed the "coffins." By and large, the device really was a coffin, which Pavel Ignatievich called the “automatic ejector of the Red Army men”. In the cradle went soldier with a parachute. And when the plane (twin-engine bomber TB-1) reached the desired point, the pilot turned the handle (as if dropping bombs). And in a moment the “coffins” turned over, and the Red Armymen fell out of them. In this case, the parachute opened automatically, thanks to a special exhaust cord.
Full tests, as well as the subsequent use of "coffins" were to be held in an airborne mechanized unit, which was formed thanks to the efforts of Mikhail Nikolaevich Tukhachevsky. And it was located in the Leningrad Military District.
Of course, Grokhovsky had many opponents and enviers. And all this fraternity believed that the “automatic ejectors of the Red Army” were a perilous undertaking that would bring nothing but the victims. Some of them were not limited to shaking the air, but began to write reports on Grokhovsky to the new Chief of the Air Force, Yakov Ivanovich Alksnis. He, I must give him his due, did not begin to chop off his shoulder, but decided to sort things out. Pavel Ignatievich, together with the engineer Nikolai Efremov, were the first to experience the work of tilting "coffins" and the system of automatic opening of parachutes. Since everything went well, after only a few hours, eleven people had already landed from the cradles attached under the wings of the TB-1. Another interesting thing: all these paratroopers were employees of Oskonbyuro Grokhovsky. Even the draftswoman Lidia Kuleshov was not afraid to take the jump. And soon the experiment was repeated by the next group. It was already the wife of Grokhovsky. So, both Lydia became the first female parachutists of the USSR.
Here is what Lidia Alekseevna recalled about this invention of her husband: “I thought with horror about those unfortunates who would have to lie down in the cradles, and did not know that in a year I myself would take part in the landing of the first parachute assault from these“ coffins ”, like their jest called ".
And these are her memories of a significant event that took place on the fourteenth of July 1931: “We began to fit into the cradles. Under my head - a parachute, like a stiff pillow. Above me is the wing of the TB-1 bomber. Motors roared. A whirlwind swept over the cradle. It was my first flight, and everything entertained me. Here they left the ground, the neighboring buildings flickered. One circle, the other - higher and higher. I stuck my head between the side of the cradle and the wing of the plane and looked at the ground with interest. From the next cradle, they shook me with their fists: take away, they say, head, tear off when overturning! Feeling - terribly sweet. Rather, she pulled her head and in the same second found herself in the air. I did not even notice how the parachute opened ... "
Several test "emissions" were successful. But, unfortunately, we could not manage without victims. During the exercises, which were held in Gatchina near Leningrad, political commissar Kuznetsov was killed. But still, the main reason for the refusal of the introduction of the “automatic ejector of the Red Army” in the USSR Air Force was not this. The main role was played by the soldiers who felt like the living dead, while in the "coffins". Grokhovsky treated this with understanding, and the project was soon officially closed. However, Pavel Ignatievich, of course, did not reject the idea of developing landing forces. And he proposed a new project. This time, the designer came up with gliders towed by airplanes. As conceived by the creator, they were supposed to house the soldiers.
Speaking of Oskonbyuro Air Force Red Army. When Tukhachevsky was appointed deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic for armaments, he became acquainted with the “work” of Grokhovsky Design Bureau. What he saw impressed him, so he approved the regulation on the creation of a Special Design and Production Bureau. And of course, Pavel Ignatievich was appointed his chief and chief designer.
In the list of works Grokhovsky there is an interesting airborne vehicle, which was called the "airbus". It was a passenger vehicle with two wheels in front and stops - “crutches” - at the back. These stops had sharp tips that stuck into the ground. Also in the back of the "airbus" was the tail. The passenger compartment was divided into several parts, in which there were paratroopers (in a supine position, by the way). Another interesting thing: this machine, according to Grokhovsky, was intended for the parachute-free landing of soldiers, ammunition sets and supplies. It was attached between the aircraft’s landing gear and dropped at a height not exceeding twelve meters.
Trial tests "Airbus" were successful. And from a low altitude, on a low-level flight, the plane dropped not only weapon or some items, but also dogs. After Grokhovsky was satisfied with the result, it was time to test his invention in humans. Not wanting to risk his subordinates, Pavel Ignatievich climbed into the “airbus” himself. True, he didn’t succeed in testing alone - Ivan Titov made him company.
Fortune and this time was on the side of a bold designer. After several experiments, Grokhovsky decided that the landing vehicle should also be "plowed". And while this process was going on, Pavel Ignatievich took up another important problem - the dropping of heavy loads. The fact is that for this it was necessary to use a parachute with a diameter of sixty meters. A few test dropping technology ended prosaically, even such a large parachute could not withstand the load and burst. Not improved the situation and the increase in its size. Grokhovsky understood that the dome corny does not withstand a dynamic load jerk. Therefore, the designer decided - it is necessary to get rid of the jerk. Thinking, he proposed the original method - first of all, to release a parachute, and to land a heavy load on the opened dome. Grokhovsky himself called this solution to the problem "the method of breakdown."
But the bureaucratic machine did not allow him to conduct the tests. He tried for a long time to get permission from Alksnis and, finally, began to act without a green light from the authorities. The tests were successful, as Grokhovsky reported to Yakov Ivanovich Alksnis, commander of the Air Force. This is how Kazakov described the conversation in his story: “Grokhovsky immediately contacted the Air Force directorate by telephone and, standing at attention, reported:
- The reset of the “object forty four” today at fourteen twenty one was completed successfully. He flew Anisimov. Reports Grokhovsky.
Alksnis, a sample of exposure and correctness, lost his temper. Even Urlapov, standing not far from Grokhovsky, heard his angry voice rumbling in the receiver.
- But how dare you go on this, without an order? What did you expect, Grokhovsky? You thought the winners are not judged? Judged! Judged, to others it was not known! - shouted the head of the Air Force.
- Comrade Alksnis, understand me! I could not wait for your ban! I tried this method at other sites and was confident of success. And in case of failure, one would answer. If I had not decided on this, the landing would have been left without heavy weapons! - justified Grokhovsky.
The conversation was long and tense, but in the end Alksnis relented and ordered everything to be stated in an explanatory note, to present the act with the results of the experiment on the whole form.
In the evening, Alksnis reported to Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky about an unauthorized experiment.
- What's again?
- Again .. - spread his hands the head of the Air Force.
- Yakov Ivanovich! You're a big boss. Try not to press Grokhovsky ... We have two ways out: to abandon his ideas or to discard, in relation to him, the existing norms. Now there is no more useful person than Grokhovsky for the construction of the Airborne Forces. Hurry it up, pushing because we are with you. And demanding initiative from people, we, leaders, in difficult moments should take them under protection, take a blow upon ourselves ... ”
Probably, Pavel Ignatievich understood that the matter would not go further than the notation, therefore he acted without permission. He was respected and appreciated. So Grokhovsky’s “amateur performances” had no effect on his future work. A "method of failure" was approved by a special commission.
I didn’t knock him out of a rut and failure during the testing of the Kukaracha G-39 aircraft. Testing a new car was entrusted to Chkalov. When he was in the cabin, he said: “Look, and the truth is like a cockroach. Well, I'll try. ” But even such a master could not lift the plane into the air. Chkalov drove him through the airfield until he ran out of fuel. Then he said: “And the truth is a cockroach! And cockroaches do not know how to fly. You missed something, dear sirs. Or overdone ".
* * *
In 1937, they arrested and then shot Marshal Tukhachevsky. Grokhovsky was left without his influential patron. It is not surprising that Oskonbyuro was soon disbanded, and Pavel Ignatievich himself was transferred to the post of head of the economic department of the Central Council of Osoaviakhim.
This place absolutely did not look like a designer. The only place where he was able to somehow realize his talent, was ... magazine "Technology Youth." So on the pages of the publication the apparatus for the development of the seabed, a spherical polar station, an installation that allowed extracting moisture from the clouds and much, much more, came to life. But without a real everyday practice, Grokhovsky, according to the memoirs of contemporaries, is literally a lot in sight.
A wave of repression began, which, of course, could not help but worry Pavel Ignatievich. He knew that sooner or later, but they would get to him. Prerequisites were enough. For example, almost all of his inventions, which were previously approved by a special commission, were heavily criticized and soon went to "landfill." And since 1938, the airborne troops in the Soviet army have practically ceased to take part in major exercises. Only in August, 1941, the Office of the Airborne Forces appeared.
When the Great Patriotic War began, Pavel Ignatievich was trying with all his might to obtain permission to resume work on the creation of equipment for landing. But he did not succeed. Moreover, reports were even rejected, where he asked to be sent to the front. Probably, then the designer understood what fate they had prepared for him. And no mistake. In early November, 1942, Grokhovsky was arrested on a false charge. Then his wife fell under the rink of repression.
According to the official version, Pavel Ignatievich died four years after his arrest from pulmonary tuberculosis. But in fact, he was shot at the end of May 1943, at the Kommunark landfill. He was rehabilitated and reinstated in the party posthumously in 1957. Then his wife was released.
But it went quietly, unnoticed. Therefore, for several more years, the memory of the designer and inventor Grokhovsky was “in hibernation”. During this time, many of his development successfully found new "owners" who did not shun to pass them off as their own.
The memory of Pavel Ignatievich was aroused by polar pilot Mikhail Kaminsky, who personally tried to understand the “Grokhovsky case”. Here is what he wrote: “There was not one who denied or questioned the fact that it was Grokhovsky, and no one else, who was the author of most of the developments of the landing craft. And that these developments laid the foundations of airborne assault as a new weapon for the army. All agreed that this was indeed the great merit of Grokhovsky. However, no one could give me an answer, why this “great” merit is not made public. Everyone just shrugged. ”
In his book "In the Sky of Chukotka" Kaminsky quoted the Hero of the Soviet Union, Major General aviation Lyapidevsky: “Describing the almost forgotten page of Soviet aviation, which tells about the creation of parachute-landing equipment, which became the basis of a new kind of troops in our army - the airborne landing, the author, as far as I know, is the first to show us the patriotic activity of the remarkable inventor and impudently brave man P. .AND. Grokhovsky. I know about the merits of this man in the creation of the landing technique and I consider it correct that his name was raised from oblivion. "
As for Grokhovsky’s inventions, neither the G-31 nor the G-37 have become serial. But the tests of these aircraft were successful. And LK-2, which they had not even managed to raise to the sky at least once, was simply rolled out of the hangar and destroyed. Perhaps, only the “Light Cruiser” by Pavel Ignatievich gained fame due to the fact that he became the prototype of several aircraft that fought with the Germans in the sky. The sad fate befell both the submarine-baby (by design, it was necessary to drop it by parachute), and the projects of the flying tank and vertical take-off aircraft. All this turned out to be unnecessary.
And finally, the recollection of Grokhovsky’s cousin Raisa Semyonovna Fedorova: “Pavel and I were the same age. I studied at the Mariinsky Gymnasium in Tver, and he is in a real school. Pavel was known to all Tver, he was a real bastard, did not recognize any authority. Even adults were afraid of him, because he could have done something that others were afraid to even think about. One day, fleeing from the policemen, Pavel rushed to the old Volzhsky Bridge and suddenly, right in the middle of it, he suddenly rushed into the river. Everyone was sure that the boy had drowned, and Pavel had safely reached the shore and was like that. ”
Pavel Ignatievich can be considered a madman who tried to bring all his bold ideas to life. In fact, he was guided by the words that he often repeated to his colleagues: “This is necessary for our Motherland. Remember this, and you will not be difficult in a moment of danger. "