In March 1963, Rostislav Alekseev was elected deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, he added many new responsibilities. His secretary, Maria Ivanovna Grebenshchikova, sorted the increased mail every day into three large groups: those directly related to the affairs of the bureau, “doctoral” ones related to various scientific consultations, and deputy letters.
And Alekseev included deputy procedures in the district executive committee every month in the schedule of urgent matters. The area caught him difficult, the center of the city, he was overcome by housing requests.
Alekseev was afraid not to have time to do everything that was intended. But he had his friends, time-tested, although they sometimes went the distance. Ivan Ivanovich Erlykin long ago entered the four of the founders, who walked with Alekseev from the very beginning of the journey. True, Erlykin had a long break in the design work, when he was elected secretary of the party committee of the plant. It was not so easy for him to return to creative activity in a few years, to head a large department. Erlykin held the exam on the “Seagull”, introducing a water jet engine on a new ship.
The Seagull, however, like every Alekseev’s ship, became the laboratory of the new. Her diesel engine and water jet engine developed almost a hundred-kilometer speed, and a ship with such aviation he could move swiftly through shallow water, as he had a draft of only twenty to thirty centimeters. And this opened up the blue paths of the country's countless small rivers in front of the river bus.
In the summer of sixty-third year, the Seagull went to Moscow, to Khimki, but the river crew unaccustomed to such speeds at first feared to release it through the canal and the reservoir, where there are always closely large and small ships.
On July 21, members of the party and government delegation of the Hungarian People’s Republic headed by Janos Kadar, together with the leaders of the Soviet government, rode along the Moscow Canal on the Maxim Gorky motor ship.
The day was clear, the clouds, which had delayed the sky in the morning, scattered, the green outskirts of Moscow situated opened from the board of the motor ship. From the quay of Lesnoe, the return trip was done on board the swift hydrofoil ship “Meteor-3”. The participants of the walk admired the pine groves and meadows, the picturesque banks of the canal, where there were many bathing, and on the surface of the reservoir they slid the white-winged birds of the yacht.
But it so happened that the same course as the "Meteor" passed through the channel "Seagull". She moved almost twice as fast as her older winged brother.
Slipping on the water literally "like a fleeting vision," "The Seagull" quickly disappeared from sight. The leaders of the party and the government expressed their desire to explore this new ship, which for the first time in the world has reached a hundred-kilometer speed.
In the meantime, the ministry approved an order for a series of marine “Komet”: Komet-3 was manufactured.
And I also pleased “Whirlwind”: I successfully walked along the Odessa line - Kherson.
In the Soviet Union, the construction of hydrofoil ships is widespread. Every year, the Central Design Bureau released new models. But Alekseev himself is already busy with another project.
Alekseev had another idea. The sixth model is a winged turbojet. This is an unprecedented ship with a gas turbine aircraft engine, with water-jet propellers, at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour. It was a step to the ocean.
Ocean! Winning for their ships of the river and the sea, Alekseev had long thought about the ocean.
For him, the road to the ocean began on the Volga, in the harbor of the plant. The dream about the ocean inspired the student projects of the pupils of the Gorky Polytechnic Institute. Now, after more than twenty years, the Black Sea became the prologue to a poem about the ocean.
Yes, winged ships will go to the ocean. Alekseev did not doubt it. Once a student, he presented his first draft of the ship. But how could he have imagined then that his audacious dream would soon become a reality!
Winged Ocean Fleet! He will! What speeds will float above the waves? What new and unprecedented shape of the hull ships will give birth to the imagination of designers? What engines and energy sources will tell these ships a mighty power to fly over the ocean? I still have to think about it.
And the timing? Ten, five years? Who will take to accurately determine this in an age of incredible acceleration of technological progress?
It is said that the person who has creative ideas about ten years ahead is happy. Alekseev would have had enough time to perfect only one of the river cruise ships, which brought him fame. But he did not stop, he went further into the sea, the ocean. He intended not only to develop the idea of winged ships. He was looking for new, revolutionary ideas in shipbuilding. Such is the restless nature of genuine innovation.
In 1960, the documentary Winged Ship was released. The film is small, just 10 minutes. The story begins with the haulers on the Volga and somewhere in the middle the main character appears - the winged ship. Expert Sergey Dadyko, specialist in stories Russian shipbuilding and water transport, commenting on the film, said that the development was carried out in different countries, but the priority belonged to our country. This merit Alekseeva. For example, the American company "Boeing" tried to create something similar, but it failed. Created ship "Jetfoil" could carry only 250 passengers at a speed of about 90 kilometers per hour.
Along with the civil courts, active work was being done on military models. At the beginning of the 50-s, several torpedo boats were manufactured, called “K123K” project. Underwater wings stood in the bow. This was another idea Alekseev, which was finally brought to life. After all, even in 1940, Alekseev sent a report to the Navy Directorate. He talked about making a boat with speed in 100 nodes. It is almost 200 kilometers per hour.
The first hydrofoil battleboat was made in 1945 year. The navy of the country received a completely new type of torpedo boat. For this work, Alekseev was given the Stalin Prize and his own laboratory in 1951.
And Alekseev created a unique car - ekranoplan. In an atmosphere of secrecy, the prototype of the machine was shown to Nikita Khrushchev. None of the entourage of the general secretary on this day did not fully understand what kind of car it was. Alekseev reported: “The combat vehicle will be several times larger, with a cruising speed equal to that of an aircraft. Will be able to carry weapon, hundreds of tons of cargo. And summing up his speech, he said: "There are no analogues in the world." It was the idea of Dmitry Ustinov - to demonstrate a demonstration flight to the first person of the state. The commander-in-chief of the Navy, Gorshkov, could not believe his own eyes and asked the designer: “So is this a ship or a plane?” But the shipbuilding minister Boris Butoma could hardly restrain his irritation. He did not like the prospect of building these exotic cars. And everyone was waiting for what Khrushchev would say. And Khrushchev was shocked by this demonstration. “We need this car,” he said.
“This is all written with water with a pitchfork,” said the shipbuilding minister Butome, where conservatism has been vital for centuries. It was very difficult to break the used system.
- You know, maybe I know less about your technique, but I believe people. Alekseev created ships on hydrofoils, I'm sure he will create this development, ”Khrushchev replied.
The direct head of Alekseeva, Minister Boris Butoma, was displeased. He climbs over his head, he thought.
Alekseev did not yet know that he had made an enemy for many years. But the ingenious designer worked, despite the bureaucratic machinations. Wing ships have a speed limit. So, we must go further. Overcome this barrier. Back in his youth, when Alekseev received prizes for winning the race on yachts from the hands of Chkalov himself, he heard from the pilot about the mysterious screen effect.
This effect was discovered at the dawn of aviation. He was a curse for aviators. Often became the cause of their death. A few meters from the ground, the air seemed to push the car off the ground, preventing planes from landing. It is not by chance that only an experienced pilot could fly at a low altitude; only an experienced pilot could hold the plane on the wrong air cushion.
In 1927, in Leningrad, Valery Chkalov flew under the arches of the undiluted bridge. The trick was a hooligan. But from those that are within the power of the master.
Scientists argued: you can not use the screen effect for the benefit. But since his youth, Rostislav Alekseev could not tolerate the words "impossible" and "impossible." He was a practitioner. He believed in the power of experience, experiment.
“They teach everyone to read, but unfortunately they don’t watch,” Alekseev liked to repeat.
He very carefully studied everything that is connected with the theory of the wing in water and air. And it is impossible to draw a clear line in time: here Alekseev was engaged in hydrofoil vessels, and here - an ekranoplan. Everything went side by side.
Among the many drawings Alekseeva made them in 1947 year, there is one, which shows the project of an unusual apparatus. Signature: "Ekranoplan". And next: "It was decided to devote his life to creating a new type of transport." The country hardly rises from the knees of the post-war devastation, and he comes up with a fantastic car of the future for it, which in fifteen years makes it a reality.
Alekseev completely pulls the ship out of the water. Makes it glide over the water, the ground. A dynamic air cushion arises below it, which itself holds the multi-ton apparatus, which proceeds at the speed of the aircraft. The ship was no longer dependent on water resistance. He became flying. The path to the new speeds has been opened.
It was the rarest case when one person pulled out two completely new technical directions.
New car Rostislav Alekseeva discusses the meeting of the country's top leadership. No one until the end knows all the capabilities of an airplane. But the general designer in the car sure. The state program of ekranoplanostroeniya is being adopted.
In August, the 1963 of the year in Gorky at the plant laid the first ekranoplan with the working title "Ship-layout", or simply KM. This is how a new, grandiose project of a designer usually started, and with it a new direction in world shipbuilding.
Begins the shortest (only five years), but the happiest period of life Alekseeva. Its golden time. Now Alekseev has his own design office, his own experimental plant, a unique test base. All the work of the Central Clinical Hospital on ekranoplan is classified.
In 1963, Korolev, Tupolev, Myasishchev come to Gorky to Alekseev. They want to see what the designer ship creates for the unprecedented technique. The impudence of his ideas amazes even aviation luminaries. A huge flying ship is being built on the slipway of the plant. Length - 100 meters. Weight - 500 tons, ten turbojets. Even today, what Alekseev proved in practice is impossible to calculate on a computer. Does not work. He had a tremendous engineering intuition.
He was taciturn. Diaries not led. But his drawings speak volumes. Tall, under two meters, it attracted everyone's attention.
In the work on the WIG, he needed the help of two industries - aviation and shipbuilding. We needed special alloys, engines. Sometimes it came to absurdity. Shipbuilders ordered to hang anchors, aviation officials were looking for a chassis.
- Where's the chassis? Without a chassis is not solid, - said the ranks.
The Ministry of Shipbuilding Industry considered that an ekranoplan was an airplane. And there is nothing to do here — contact the Ministry of Aviation Industry, where this aircraft will be made quickly. And there they thought the same way.
Alekseev was torn between Gorky and Moscow. In 1964, he came to Brezhnev. The visa of the secretary of the Central Committee, who oversees the country's defense, was needed for some important paper. Brezhnev refused to sign. Alekseev told him that Khrushchev would complain. Brezhnev began to shout at the designer.
- Complain, complain! - Brezhnev repeated with some kind of inner pleasure.
Soon the Central Committee Plenum elected Brezhnev as first secretary. Khrushchev was dismissed. Alekseev was left without an all-powerful patron.
But while the country's leadership Alekseeva saves. His name is one of the six names of designers, who, by order of the Central Committee, are prohibited from testing the equipment themselves. But Alekseev violates the ban. He learns to control the aircraft, then to sit at the helm of the wig.
Need a completely different driving technique. After all, the pilot, out of habit, would jerk the steering wheel at himself and thereby deprive the ship of the screen and destroy himself. This is exactly what happened 25 August 1964 of the year. That morning, under Gorky, they tested a self-propelled model, the CM-5, the prototype of the future large WIG. The model has already come off the water, as suddenly the pilot pulled the steering wheel towards him. The car lifted up its nose, swayed and a few seconds later collapsed into the water. The pilot and engineer died. All work was immediately stopped. The Moscow Commission worked for several months. Could close the whole topic. But they limited themselves to reprimand the chief designer and allowed to continue the work.
22 June 1966, a strange cigar-shaped apparatus was lowered into the water, which is dragged at night for reasons of secrecy to Kaspiysk. Upon arrival, hang wings and prepare for testing.
14 August at four o'clock in the morning Alekseev sits in the left seat of the commander. Ekranoplan flew. Speed - 400, 500 meters. Then the car spotted a spy satellite. The best Pentagon analysts did not believe that such a thing could be built. Five years later, Alekseev creates the first military landing ekranoplan "Eaglet". It was built three "Eaglet".
Then the first rocket ekranoplane "Lun" was created. But this Alekseev did not see. His ideas were ahead of time for many years. And so he remained an unrecognized genius.