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Sikorsky S-21 Grand / Rusisan Knight

Igor Sikorsky made the first flight of the first in the world of a multi-engine aircraft on May 26, 1913. The young engineer created this aircraft as an experimental aircraft for long-distance reconnaissance. It could accommodate both two and four motors. The plane was originally called the "Grand" or "Big Baltic", and after modifications that increased the number of motors from two to four, got the name - "Russian Knight". On August 2, 1913, the aircraft set the world record for the duration of the flight - 1 hour 54 minutes.

This aircraft, which surpassed in size and take-off weight all the machines built up to this point, became the basis for a new direction in aviation heavy aircraft construction. "Russian Knight" became the ancestor of all subsequent heavy bombers, transport workers, intelligence officers and passenger airliners in the world. The four-engined Ilya Muromets aircraft, the first copy of which was built in October 1913, became the direct successor of the Russian Knight.

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 safety. 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 aircraft to Mikhail Vladimirovich Shidlovsky, who was the head of the Russian-Baltic carriage company. Shidlovsky listened carefully 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 forerunner of all modern large aircraft. The work was going fast, enthusiasts worked 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.

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 meters, the lower wing was 20, and their total area was 125 square meters. m. The take-off weight of the aircraft is more than 3 tons (with a load of up to 4 tons), height is 4 meters, length is 20 meters.

Initially, the aircraft was conceived as a twin-engine and was called Le Grand. In 1913, Sikorsky moved the rear pushing engines to the front edge of the lower wing - making them pulling. Thus, all four engines were placed in a row. The plane with the new scheme received the name "Russian Knight". Test flights at the Korpusnoy airfield showed that passengers can walk in the cabin without disturbing the stability of the aircraft. For takeoff, the plane required a length of 700 m. The plane had to lift four German Argus engines of 100 liters each. from. They were located on the lower wings, two on each side of the fuselage.

The aicraft could carry a load of 737 kg and fly at a speed of 77 km per hour (maximum speed of 90 km). The crew - 3 people, 4 passenger seats. For the first time in the world, the plane had a large closed cockpit and a 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. Besides, there were also side exits that led to the lower wings, which provided access to the engines. This created the possibility of repair in flight.

The crew of the "Russian Knight" consisted of three people, there were also four passenger seats. It was the first aircraft in the world with a spacious, enclosed cockpit and passenger cabin, as well as large windows in both compartments. Pilots from the cockpit could go to the balcony, to the front of the aircraft, side exits were also provided, which led to the lower wings, which provided access to the engines. This allowed the repair work during the flight.

On September 11, 1913, at a military aircraft competition, an engine crashed from a Sikorsky Meller-II plane flying over a biplane and fell onto the left box of the Vityaz wings. Igor Sikorsky, who at that time was already focused on creating the Ilya Muromets bomber, decided not to restore the damaged aircraft.

The aircraft "Russian Knight" played an important role in the history of aviation - it was the prototype of all further heavy aircraft with engines installed in a row on the wing, regardless of their scheme. The plane was successful and is the subject of a well-deserved national pride of the Russian people. Its direct successor is the Ilya Muromets aircraft, the first copy of which was built in October 1913.

Length 20 m
Maximum wingspan 27 m
Wing area 120 m
Height 4.00 m
Power plant 4 Argus Motoren engines
Power of each engine 100 l. from. (74 kW)
Cruising speed 77 km / h
Max speed 90 km / h
Range of flight 170 km
Number of seats 3 crew members + 4 passengers
Practical ceiling 600 m
No load mass 3400 kg
Weight with load 4000 kg
Maximum weight 4940 kg

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Page last modified: 20-10-2018 18:44:01 ZULU