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Sikorsky Russky Vityaz

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

Russky Vityaz
Improved version with four propellers.
Role four-engine passenger aircraft
Manufacturer Igor Sikorsky
Designed by Igor Sikorsky
First flight May 10, 1913
Number built 1

Early version with two propellers.
Early version with two propellers.

The Sikorsky Russky Vityaz ("Русский витязь" in Russian, or Russian Knight), also called Le Grand, was the first four-engine aircraft in the world, designed and built by Igor Sikorsky in Russia in the spring of 1913.

Sikorsky conceived the Russky Vityaz in 1911, when no known aircraft could lift more than 600 kilograms. The carrying capacity record belonged to a French pilot Ducis, who had flown 800 meters with a load of 600 kg. On hearing about the ongoing construction of the Russky Vityaz and its capabilities in the early spring of 1913, the experts and the media around the world were predicting its complete failure. However, the first aerial test of the Russky Vityaz on May 10, 1913 was successful. At the time, many people in other parts of the world considered it to be a newspaper hoax, and did not believe it. Observers believed that an aircraft with such dimensions would never leave the ground.

The Russky Vityaz was a four-engine multi-stanchion biplane with different-sized wings. The dual-spar wings had a rectangular form and a depth of 2.5 m. The distance between the wings was 2.5 m as well. Its fuselage represented a girder with a rectangular section, trimmed with plywood sheets. The aircraft had a cabin with a duplicated steering column, two passenger cabins and a storage room for spare parts. There was also an area in the pilot's cabin equipped with a searchlight and machine gun. The ailerons on the upper wings secured the aircraft’s stability. The Russky Vityaz was equipped with four engines, installed in tandem (it was designed as a two-engine plane).

After the Russky Vityaz's first test flights between May 10 and May 27, 1913, it was established that a passenger could even walk around the cabins without causing any problems to stability. The aircraft left the ground after a 700-meter takeoff run.

Unfortunately, Sikorsky’s aspirations for the Russky Vityaz proved to be short-lived. While parked on the runway, the aircraft was crushed by an engine, which had fallen off a landing one-passenger Morane aircraft. Sikorsky decided not to repair the seriously damaged Russky Vityaz and began working on his next brainchild – the famous Ilya Muromets.

Specifications (Russky Vityaz)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 20 m (65 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan:
  • Top wing: 27 m (88 ft 7 in)
  • Bottom wing: 20 m (65 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 4m ()
  • Wing area: 120 m² (1,290 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 3,400 kg (7,495 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 4,000 kg (8,820 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 4,940 kg (10,890 lb)
  • Powerplant:Argus Motoren inline engines, 75 kW (100 hp) each


See also

Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.

Published in July 2009.

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