Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky (1889 - 1972) was born in a family of doctors. Father - Ivan Alekseevich, was a famous psychiatrist, professor at Kiev University, a leading specialist in the treatment of stuttering. Mother - Maria Stefanovna (nee Temryuk-Cherkasova), worked as a general practitioner. The son did not follow the path of his parents. Young Sikorsky received secondary education in one of the classical gymnasiums of Kiev, in 1903 - 1906. studied at the St. Petersburg Maritime School (Naval Cadet Corps), which trained personnel for fleet. After his graduation, he entered the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. He also attended lectures in mathematics, chemistry and shipbuilding in Paris.
Since childhood, Sikorsky was interested in mechanics. At the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, Igor became interested in building aircraft, he created and headed a student aviation society. Back in 1908, Sikorski first tried to build a helicopter. This experimental helicopter, equipped with a 25-strong engine, became the basis for the subsequent work of an engineer with helicopters. By the year 1910 was built a second helicopter, he had two propellers that rotated in opposite directions. The payload of the device reached 9 pounds, but none of the helicopters could fly with the pilot. Slow apparatus took off only without a pilot. The device was presented at a two-day aeronautical exhibition in Kiev in November 1909. Sikorsky will return to the projects of helicopters only in 1939 year.
In the same year, Sikorsky switched his attention to the aircraft, and created a prototype of his biplane - C-1. It was driven by a 15-strong engine. In 1910, an engineer lifted into the air a modernized C-2, with a 25-strong engine. This plane went up to 180-meter height and set a new All-Russian record. Already at the end of 1910, Sikorsky built a C-3 with a strong 35 engine. In 1911, Igor Sikorsky received a pilot diploma and built C-4 and C-5 airplanes. These machines showed good results: during the tests, the pilot reached an altitude of 500 meters, and the flight duration was 1 an hour.
At the end of 1911, the Russian aircraft designer built the C-6 and in the spring of 1912, upgraded it to C-6А. At S-XNUMHA, Igor Sikorsky won first place in the competition, which was organized by the military. Among the eleven aircraft that took part in the competition, several were represented by such famous aircraft manufacturers as the Farman, Newpore and Fokker. It must be said that all the Sikorsky aircraft, which the designer had created before C-6, were built by young scientists in a barn on the territory of the Kiev estate, which belonged to his parents. Subsequent aircraft, starting with C-6, were built at the aircraft factory of the Russian-Baltic Carriage Plant (R-BVZ) in St. Petersburg. The Russian-Baltic Carriage Works built an aviation department to build Russian-built aircraft. This allowed the Russian designer to more successfully do what he loved.
Sikorsky built his first cars at his own expense. In addition, the young inventor was supported by her sister, Olga Ivanovna. Pilots G. V. Yankovsky and G. V. Alekhnovich, designer and builder A. A. Serebryannikov helped the Russian-Baltic Carriage Works, the designer and builder A. Serebryannikov, he was a student of the Polytechnic Institute and engine mechanic V. Panasyuk. The first aircraft built by Sikorsky on the R-BVZ was the monoplane (aircraft with one bearing surface, one wing) C-7. He was later acquired by the pilot Lerche.
At the Russian-Baltic Carriage Works in St. Petersburg, C-7, C-9 and C-10 aircraft were manufactured, and they were equipped with Gnome rotary engines. C-10 Hydro was supplied with floats and was intended for the Russian Navy. C-10 was a direct heir to C-6. It was a single-engine double biplane (aircraft with two bearing surfaces, wings), mounted on two main and one auxiliary floats. The C-10 had a small steering wheel. By the fall of 1913, 5 aircraft built with Argus engines on 100 l were built. with. They were used as reconnaissance and training machines.
At the beginning of 1913, the inventor built the C-11 monoplane. The cabin was a double, for the pilot and passenger. Engine "Gnome-Monosupap 100 l. with. under the metal hood. The device was built for the competition and the pilot Yankovsky ranked second in the competition in the Russian capital. In the spring of 1914, Igor Sikorsky designed and built the C-12 biplane. It was specially designed as a training aircraft and could perform aerobatics. This elegant monoplane had a Gnome 80 hp engine, with a twin-wheel chassis characteristic of many designs of the inventor. 12 March 1914, the pilot Jankowski tested it, the aircraft showed excellent flying qualities. Yankovsky, flying on this machine, took the first place in aerobatics during aviation week, it was held at the Kolymazhsky hippodrome. On the same C-12 test pilot set the All-Russian record, rising to a height of 3900 meters. True, the first unit did not exist for long - 6 June 1914 of Yankovsky crashed the car, but did not die. The military department was so pleased with the C-12's flying qualities that when the contract for the production of Sikorsky 45 machines was signed, they included a new model. During the First World War, these aircraft entered the armament of a squadron of aircrafts and in the 16 corps squadron.
Already during the war, Sikorsky invented and built: the C-16 project - a fighter with an 80-strong engine Ron and a 100-strong Gnome-Mono-Supap, at a speed of 125 km per hour; C-17 - Double Scout; C-18 - heavy fighter, which was supposed to cover long-range bombers and carry bombs to support the Muromtsev strikes; the plane could serve as a strike fighter without bomb load; C-19 - attack aircraft, he had all the quality attack aircraft - powerful armament (up to six machine guns), booking the most vital parts, and layout that provides maximum survivability and invulnerability of the machine (spaced cab, which reduced the likelihood of simultaneous destruction of pilots, one engine covered the other ); The C-20 is a single-seat fighter, with a 120-strong engine and a top speed of 190 km per hour. During the First World War, some Sikorsky aircraft were in service in the armed forces. However, despite the good flight qualities and breakthrough solutions, these planes were not widely used, which was due to the fascination of the Russian powers to all foreigners.
Even in the pre-war period, the inventor came to the conclusion that the future is not for small single-engine airplanes, but for large aircraft with two or more engines. They had an advantage in flight range, transportation and security. An airship with several crew members and several motors was safer; if one motor broke, the rest continued to work.
Igor Sikorsky spoke about his plans to build a large airship to Mikhail Vladimirovich Shidlovsky, who was the head of the Russian-Baltic carriage company. Shidlovsky listened attentively to the young inventor, studied his drawings and gave permission to work in this direction. During this period, most experts did not believe in the possibility of creating a large aircraft. It was believed that a large aircraft could not fly at all. Sikorsky built the world's first four-engined aircraft, the predecessor of all modern large aircraft. The work was going fast, enthusiasts working on 14 hours a day. In February, 1913, all parts of the aircraft, which the factory people, generous with all sorts of nicknames, called "Grand", which meant "big", were basically ready.
It should be noted that Shidlovsky played a prominent role in the development of Russian heavy aircraft. A nobleman and an officer in the navy, he graduated from the Alexander Military Law Academy, after retirement, served in the Ministry of Finance and proved himself a talented entrepreneur. He became a high-ranking official, joined the Council of State and was appointed commander of the Squadron of Aircraft. The squadron became a special unit, which during the war flew Ilya Muromets bombers of I. Sikorsky. As chairman of the R-BVZ Shidlovsky quickly increased the productivity and profitability of the company. In addition to launching the production of Sikorsky aircraft, Shidlovsky directed the production of the first and only vehicles of the Russian Empire, included in history as "Russo-Balt". These cars performed well during the First World War. Another contribution Shydlovskogo in the defense of the empire - the production in 1915, the first and only Russian aircraft engine.
Thanks to Shidlovsky, the Grand project was launched and fully justified itself. By early March 1913, the general assembly of the aircraft was completed. It was a real giant: the span of the upper wing was 27 m, the lower one was 20, and their total area was 125 square. The aircraft’s take-off weight is more than 3 t (with a load up to 4 t), height is 4 m, length is 20 m. Four German Argus engines according to 100 l were to take off the plane. with. They were located on the lower wings, two on each side of the fuselage. The machine could carry a load of 737 kg and fly at a speed of 77 km per hour (maximum speed 90 km). In the crew - 3 person, 4 passenger seats. For the first time in the world, the aircraft had a large closed cockpit and passenger cabin with large windows for the crew and passengers. Pilots from the cockpit could go to the balcony, which was located in front of the car. In addition, there were also side outlets that led to the lower wings, which provided access to the engines. This created the possibility of repair in flight.
Igor Sikorsky on the front balcony of the Russian Vityaz.
The bow of the "Grand".
After several test trials, 13 (26) of May 1913, around 9, in the morning, on the meadow adjacent to the Peterburg airfields, aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky and 4 passengers made a brilliant, quite successful flight on the “Grand” (“Big”) aircraft . The plane climbed to a height of about 100 m and half an hour (not at full power of the gas) reached a speed of up to 100 km / h, very well made several large turns and landed smoothly. The crowd watching was delighted. On this flight, Sikorsky clearly refuted the predictions of many “specialists” that the “Big” would not be able to fly ... ”. Many foreign aviation specialists abandoned the idea of building a large aircraft. However, the Russian inventor visually destroyed all their theoretical constructs. It was the triumph of human ingenuity and the victory of the Russian designer over numerous critics and spiteful critics.
May 27 "Bolshoi" made another flight. On board were Sikorsky, Yankovsky and four mechanics. Flights have given a huge amount of information and good food for thought. The tests of the “Grand” became the basis for the creation of a more sophisticated aircraft - the “Ilya of Murom”. A certain role in the development of the project was played by the emperor. Being in the Red Village, Nicholas II expressed a desire to inspect the car. The plane overtook there. The king examined the plane outside, climbed aboard. Vityaz ”made a great impression on the emperor. Sikorsky soon received a memorable gift from Nicholas II - a gold watch. The monarch's positive opinion protected the aircraft from attempts to tarnish the reputation of this amazing project.
Sikorsky set about creating a second aircraft, which he called the “Ilya of Murom”. The construction of the second warrior aircraft began in the fall of the 1913 of the year, and was completed in January of the 1914 of the year.