With all his boundless love for the sky, Oleg Antonov was a truly earthly man. He was married three times and managed to bring four children to the people. On his days off, he loved working either in the garden or in the carpentry shop. Also one of the hobby of the aircraft designer was writing pictures. He even called one of them “The Catastrophe”. Usually, aviators do not like to talk about air tragedies, and if they have to, they can use the term - a severe flight accident. And then a man who devoted his entire life to the development of aircraft, painted a picture with a very sad storyline: in the distance, at the end of the runway, there is a pile of debris from a crashed plane. In the foreground of the picture is a large piece of duralumin sheathing and near it an elegant woman's shoe. More expressively than the plot, in order to convey the tragedy of the situation, it would be difficult to come up with. Antonov himself was well aware of all the responsibility that lies on him, so his planes have always been distinguished by exceptionally high reliability.
The future aircraft designer was born in the noble family of Konstantin Konstantinovich and Anna Efimovna Antonov. His great-grandfather Dmitry Antonov was a Decembrist, who was close to the revolutionary poet Kondratiy Ryleev. Father Konstantin Antonov was a well-known architect who was associated with many leading artists of his time. Houses and bridges, which were designed and built by Konstantin Antonov, are still in use in St. Petersburg and other cities of the Russian Federation. In the future, fearing possible obstacles to entering the institute, Oleg Antonov will be forced to hide his noble origin.
In 1912, the Antonov family moved to live in Saratov, on the banks of the Volga. Here little Oleg first heard about the aircraft, which his cousin told him about. In those years, there was almost no literature on aviation in Saratov. Therefore, Oleg Antonov collected all information from magazines and newspapers, independently compiling a kind of reference book. Subsequently, he recalled that this meeting served him a very great service, having taught him to view aircraft from different angles. Together with his peers, Oleg created the Aviation Fans Club in Saratov, published a handwritten magazine about various aviation equipment. The passion for flying always puffed up by the sky guys at a military airfield, where they got closer acquainted with the design of the aircraft, and also studied their fragments on the outskirts of the airfield, as well as the local book market, where it was possible to find random books on aviation. It is worth noting that in the 1921 year, being a 15-year-old boy, Oleg survived the famine that swept the regions of the Volga region.
Since 1923, Oleg begins active work in the "Society of Friends of the Air fleet", He quite actively creates gliders. In particular, he created a training apparatus, called the “Pigeon”. For the successful design of the airframe, he was even awarded a diploma. The indefatigable creative nature of Antonov, as well as the tenacious memory in which he could keep the designs of almost all aircraft known at that time, allowed young Oleg Antonov, a student in the hydroaviation department of the ship department of the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, to create successful training gliders, among which are: OKA-3 , "Standard-1", "Standard-2", OKA-7, OKA-8, as well as the first record-breaking glider called "The City of Lenin".
At the end of 1930, after completing his studies at the institute, Oleg Antonov set off towards the capital, where the Central Glider Design Bureau was organized. In those years near Moscow Tushino a glider plant was built. In 1933, its construction came to an end and the young Antonov was appointed his chief designer. In those years, the Rot-Front series gliders, designed by Oleg Antonov, achieved record flight ranges.
In order to enter the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, the young man, as we already wrote above, was forced to hide his noble origin. However, later, already in 1937, the NKVD bodies nevertheless got to the bottom of this information. Aircraft designer Alexander Yakovlev saved the repressions of the future illustrious designer. Under his direct supervision, a young and promising engineer grew up to the first deputy of the experimental design bureau. Initially, Yakovlev invited him to become a leading engineer for the development of training aircraft. However, the Great Patriotic War made adjustments. Antonov received a government assignment to organize the mass production of the A-7 multi-seat airborne transport glider, which he designed back in 1940. In October 1941, the plant was evacuated in Siberia to the city of Tyumen. Here were collected more than 500 such transport gliders. At the same time, Antonov was engaged in the creation of a “winged tank"- the original glider designed to transport a light tank. Piloted by S. Anokhin, he flew in tow behind a heavy TB-3 bomber, but this unusual and interesting project did not reach serial production.
In 1943, Antonov returned to the Yakovlev Design Bureau, where he was offered the post of deputy. Oleg Konstantinovich gave a lot of power to the improvement and modernization of the Yak family of fighters - one of the most massive domestic aircraft of the war period. Subsequently, recalling the work in the Yakovlev Design Bureau, he loved to say: “For the rest of my life, I remembered the credo of this remarkable aircraft designer — all that is needed is to be done.” At the same time, the young designer never lost his dream of developing his own aircraft designed for a peaceful sky.
After the end of the Great Patriotic War, Oleg Antonov turned to Yakovlev with a request to release him to independent work. In October 1945, the request was satisfied, and he went to Novosibirsk, where he headed the Yakovlev design bureau at the local aviation plant. May 31 This branch of 1946 was transformed into a new design office by a decree of the government of the Soviet Union. At the same time, Antonov was appointed his chief designer, having received the task to develop a light agricultural aircraft CX-1, which is now known around the world as An-2. In September 1946 of the year on Antonov, in addition to the leadership of the KB, also laid the duties of the head of the Siberian Research Institute for Aviation. The efficiency and energy of the designer allowed him to combine these two positions and cope with all matters. The firstborn of the design bureau for the first time rose on the sky already 31 August 1947 of the year.
During his first flight in Zhulyany in 1947, this aircraft made a very strong impression on Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine. Seeing that An-2 was able to take off and sit across the runway, the head of Ukraine enthusiastically exclaimed: "Yes, this dragonfly will be able to sit on the fields of my hat." At the same time, Khrushchev offered Antonov, whose design bureau was located in Novosibirsk in the post-war years, to move to the capital of Ukraine. In the 1952 year, both Antonov himself and the leading specialists of his design bureau moved to Kiev, where they created a team and the necessary production base from scratch.
It is worth noting that the An-2 was the only aircraft in the world that has been mass-produced for more than 50 years. This car won the love and respect of many pilots and earned the status of extremely reliable. For all the years of operation, several hundred million passengers, millions of tons of various cargoes were transported on this plane, more than a billion hectares of forest land and agricultural fields were handled. The plane traveled to almost all corners of our planet. For the creation of the An-2, Oleg Antonov and his staff were awarded the USSR State Prize.
Having moved to Kiev in 1952, the design bureau eventually grew into the country's largest aviation complex. In 1962, Oleg Antonov was appointed its general designer. Over the years of his leadership in the design bureau, such famous aircraft as the An-8, An-12, An-22 Antey, An-26 and An-32 aircraft were developed and built; An-72 and An-124 “Ruslan” transport jets; passenger aircraft An-10, An-14 "Bee" and An-24; An-3 and An-28 multi-purpose airplanes; A-11, A-13 and A-15 gliders.
Indicative was история presentations of the An-22 aircraft at the Le Bourget air show in 1965. The car with its size and power caused a storm of admiration from the audience and the press. To hold a press conference, Oleg Konstantinovich did not even need a hall, she was held directly in the cargo compartment of Antey. During the press conference, one of the foreign journalists called the new Soviet aircraft a military one. "And you know that even an ordinary bottle of lemonade can be weapons? - Oleg Antonov parried - in the years of the Second World War, people found filling the bottles with combustible mixture and destroying the fascist tanks! ” All those present responded to the words of Antonov with applause. However, the irrepressible opponent decided to accuse the designer of the fact that the plane is not beautiful enough and elegant. To this, the aircraft designer replied: “Beautiful is what is functional. Why is considered a beautiful woman with a luxurious breasts and wide hips? Because she can give birth and feed a healthy child! ”. After these words, the audience just burst into applause.
Heavy transport aircraft An-124 "Ruslan" was the last aircraft that was created under the direct supervision of Oleg Konstantinovich. It is worth noting that the An-124 turned out to be extremely successful aircraft. It managed to set 30 records, and all in all, the Antonov Design Bureau had more than 500 of various world achievements. After the death of an outstanding designer, the Design Bureau, which received his name, brought his ideas to life and developed them by the hands of followers. Orienting the team of his design bureau to solving new problems and challenges, Oleg Antonov said in his recent speeches: “We can move on only in a revolutionary way, mastering new ideas, and, as we know, there are no limits to the new technology.”
All my life in Antonov's soul lived a passion for soaring flight and gliding. The son of the designer Andrei Antonov recalled how, in 1980, he and his father came to Kaunas to a serial factory, on which Antonov's construction gliders were built. Oleg Konstantinovich, who at that time was already 74 of the year, again took up the old - he climbed into the airframe and flew. Then Andrei Antonov was also struck by his father’s firstborn, the An-2 labor aircraft. The "old man" grunted with his motor, slowly rolling on the grass of an ordinary flat mowed field, and suddenly took off from the ground and went up.
Years that further and further separate us from Oleg Antononov, make his image all the more vivid and complete. Antonov was not just an outstanding Soviet designer, but also a particularly warehouse man. He received a very good upbringing and possessed his own style - elegant, distinctive and confident. The designer had a special charm that combined at the same time greater seriousness with gentleness and natural elegance. In this man a noble soul and a powerful mind are united.
Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov was a figure who did not fit into the everyday notions of a major leader from the Soviet past. He was a resolute and courageous person who could speak freely on any, even the most acute topics. The basis of his creative activity was the multifaceted engineering knowledge that he possessed. Antonov knew about all the major advances in technology, and, of course, everything related to aviation. The designer’s astounding memory kept all the information about the planes of the past and the present; he was fluent in English and French. It cost him to ask about something from the field of aviation, and you could hear a real story-lecture with details about aircraft, forgotten sensations and past events of the aviation world.
Throughout his life, Antonov was fond of sports, it was possible to safely call him a sports man. He skied, flew gliders, loved ping-pong and tennis. “In old age, sport is especially necessary for the body, believe my life experience,” the designer liked to say. Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov was one of those people who was not created for old age, to understand this is simple - such creative fury, such a temperament, could not accept the restrictions imposed by age. Aircraft "burned" for some two weeks, as he lived - rapidly and rapidly. The creative nature of Antonova seemed to be matched by death — there was not the slightest hint of a slow and somewhat humiliating wilt. He passed away on 4 on April 1984, at the age of 78, and was buried in Kiev at Baikovo Cemetery.
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