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Bartini VVA-14

Robert Ludvigovich Bartini (Roberto Oros di Bartini), the aircraft designer and scientist, was born on May 14, 1897 in Fiume, Italy (now Croatia). Joining the Italian Communist Party in 1921, Bartini graduated from officer school (1916), flying school (1921) and Milan Polytechnical Institute (1922). After the Fascist revolution in Italy, in 1923, Bartini was transferred undercover to the USSR as an aviation engineer. Bartini fully tasted all the joys and sorrows of life in the USSR. Bartini occupied several engineering and command positions, and became a head of department of amphibious experimental aircraft design in 1928. Bartini was a head of design department of NII GVF, general designer (chief designer), by 1930. Bartini was unjustly prosecuted, and imprisoned in 1938-1946. Bartini continued his work on new aircraft designs as prisoner in TsKB 29 NKVD and in OKB-86 on the territory of Dimitrov Aircraft Factory and Beriev Aircraft Company in Taganrog (1946-1952), then in SibNIA, Novosibirsk. R.L.Bartini was rehabilitated in 1956.

From the middle of the 1950s the USSR began the process of the forming of antisubmarine aviation - the new kind of forces, intended specially for actions against submarines. Naval aviation had earlier solved similar problems with respect to aircraft carriers, but in connection with the creation to the USA of atomic submarines the fight with the threat came to the foreground. Atomic power plants radically changed conditions and nature of armed struggle at sea. Submarines became underwater in the true sense of the word. The application of nuclear energy revealed in effect unlimited possibilities of an increase in the cruising range by complete underwater motion. The new long-range homing torpedoes and ballistic missiles immeasurably increased the impact possibilities of atomic, which now in many respects began to determine the power of fleet.

The USSR proved to be practically defenseless with the introduction to combat patrols in the beginning of the 1960's American atomic submarines, armed by the Polaris ballistic missiles. Boats in the underwater position approached the Soviet coast, they could at any moment produce a rocket volley, applying colossal destruction. All this required an immediate and effective answer. The fight against atomic submarines for the purpose of averting nuclear missile attacks becomes one of the priority tasks set before the Navy. In this connection the role and the value of the anti-submarine aviation, capable of achieving an effective fight with the submarines of the enemy, rose sharply.

Studying the problem of an increase in the seaworthiness of the seaplanes, R.L.Bartini proposed a new concept of takeoff and splashdown. He proposed a non-traditional approach, landing and taking off vertically. The proposed catamaran design guaranteed stability on float, even during waves of 4-5 meters, which made it possible to use this machine in the open ocean. Much in the new machine - aerodynamic layout, march and lift power plants, control system in the transient regimes and in flight, landing gears with two pneumatic floats and many other elements of construction were too uncommon for their time.

Bartini developed another great idea: the creation of a large amphibious aircraft vertical takeoff and landing, which would allow to cover the transport operations of most of the Earth's surface, including the eternal ice and deserts, seas and oceans. They were working on the use of ground effect to improve takeoff and landing characteristics of aircraft. Projects of VTOL-2500 with a takeoff weight of 2,500 tons and shipborne VTOL Kor.SVVP-70. Realization of ideas in a draft anti Bartini VTOL amphibious VVA-14 ( "Vertical soaring amphibian"), the development of which started by the decision of the government in November 1965 on Ukhtomsky helicopter plant (Uralvagonzavod), and then was continued in the bureau GM Beriev Taganrog, where staff Bartini moved from the suburbs in 1968. There are two aircraft VVA-14 (M-62) were built in 1972. In 1976, one of these devices has been transformed into a winged version which received the designation 14M1P.

In the mid-1960s Bartini reported to the Central Committee of his analysis of the prospects for the development of transport. He said that each vehicle has a number of indicators: speed, range, load-carrying capacity, the degree depending on the weather, and cost. Bartini mathematically reduced the figures of each means to the three generalized, postponed generalized on the axes in the normal coordinate system and postponing the length, width and height, drew a box with the maximum values with the hypothetical rectangle. The speed and range of the unreal, but in principle presentable means - like a spaceship, load capacity - like a ship of the ocean, depending on the weather - no more than a heavy train ... and it was evident that the real boxes, individually and collectively, amounting to occupy only a small fraction of the volume of the hypothetical.

On 11 November 1965, the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and CC CPSU #935-320 "On the creation of the new air facilities of fight with the rocket-carrying submarines" authorized the beginning of the full-scale development of the amphibian aircraft VVA-14 (vertically taking off amphibian with 14 engines). This decision followed the MAP [MInistry of Aviation Industry] order 371 dated November 26, 1965. and operational requirements for the amphibian VVA-14 with two sustainer engines D-30M and twelve lift RD36-35PR affirmed on June 7, 1966 by the Commanders of the VVS and Navy.

VVA-14 had to become the part of the aviation antisubmarine complex that consisted of the aircraft, the search- aiming system "stormy petrel", the antisubmarine weapon and the refuelling system on float. Complex was intended for detection and destruction of the submarines of the enemy of located in the regions of separated from the place of the departure by 1200-1500 km both independently and in interaction with other forces and facilities the Navies.

The fuselage with the cockpit passed into the center section, along sides of which were arranged two enormous sections with the floats and the system of their supercharging. Diverse arrow-shaped horizontal and vertical tail assembly. Detachable wing sections were attached to the caisson of center section. For the originality of construction the aircraft obtained nickname "Fantomas".

In the period from 12 to 14 July 1972 the first taxiings and the running through of aircraft on the test ground of the factory airfield began. For the first time in air VVA-14 rose on September 4, 1972. with the crew in the composition of the test pilot Yu.M.Kupriyanov and instructor navigator L.F. Kuznetsov. The flight, which continued almost hour, showed that the stability and the controllability of machine in air in the limits of standard and is not a bit not worse than in traditional aircraft. The flight tests of the first stage were completed to the summer of 1973.

Here is what he said about this! Developing designer himself: "The plane flies well, but lands badly. Helicopter easily rises and sets, but slowly flies. Out of these contradictions - in this construction of the airframe, which achieves a unity of opposites, such features as a function of the wing, fuselage and empennage. I believe that over time, under the body will start to use the device aerodynamic shield. Formed with the airbag will make the aircraft of the future - WIG - or, if you will require an airfield he will be able to sit down and take off all over the place."

According to the memoirs of Leonid Fortinova, a cadre of the OKB, the VVA-14 was a unit unusual scheme: with a large center section - a" flying wing ", along which the sides in special compartments placed inflatable floats chassis 14 -meter length, 2.5 meters in diameter and the volume of 50 cubic meters each. They were designed to take off and land on any surface: water, snow, ice, marsh and sand. These floats are also provided buoyancy of the aircraft. When filled, they were released to the outside, and in the retracted after takeoff automatically fit into the side compartments of center. As such, the VVA-14 was no different from the aircraft to land.

The fuselage of the amphibian was on the bottom front of the machine axes, and on top of the rear of the center wing on pylons equipped with two main engines of P.Soloveva design. VVA-14 was supposed to equip 12 turbofan lifting power units RD-36-35PR P.Kolesova designer placed in the thickness of center. The plane VVA-14. Amphibian had a trapezoidal wing, spaced vertical and horizontal tail. Control of the aircraft was provided by aerodynamic and jet rudders. The crew, consisting of three people, was placed in a detachable cockpit in case of an accident.

Bartini decided to make take off his plane in two stages: first a powerful lift motors pulled the device out of the water and then to cruise at the necessary speed. Soon the plane was ready, but the lift motor, as usual, was not available in time. They decided to just check out the volatility of the machine, since it is not carried out floats test shear load, then fly them to run, like sit, it was not possible. Therefore, the floats were replaced by bicycle wheel chassis.

The first flight of the VVA-14 was made September 14, 1972. It was picked up into the air by test pilot of the aircraft factory Yu.Kupriyanov and navigator L.Kuznetsov. There was also a perfect flight on a closed track length of 200 kilometers. According to the recall of the test pilot, the aircraft was fine.

Later, the VVA-14 aircraft was modified by hovercraft using a gas-dynamic effect of blowing, which it set at the forward fuselage ancillary engines with a device for deflecting the gas jet engines under the center section. Aircraft in this modification under the name 14M1P was tested on the Sea of Azov, which were confirmed by the characteristics of the gas-dynamic blowing for seaplanes take off from rough surfaces.

Experimental studies and missions had shown high efficiency of blowing on takeoff and landing modes, improving navigability on takeoff. The problem of protection from sea spray was solved. However, in the process of testing to identify and negative aspects of the use of blowing under the center section on the landing modes: it led to the emergence of a large part of accelerating and increased landing distance, which is several times higher than the take-off.

Therefore, to improve the seaworthiness it was decided to use partial blowing, reducing aircraft weight by 50-60%, as well as the display mode during takeoff and landing. However, the fate of the VVA-14, as the fate of many Bartini aircraft, was sad. After the first flight on the final design work dragged on amphibians and gradually disappeared in connection with the death of Robert Lyudovigovicha. After the death of Bartini work on these aircraft were discontinued due to congestion at Beriev, which worked on the A-40 and A-42 flying boats.

The prospects of obtaining real, not "paper", lift engines remained very indeterminate, so there was finally prepared the pneumatic landing gear ([PVPU]). Floats [PVPU] had a length of 14 m, the diameter of 2,5 m, the volume of each composed 50 [m]3. The floats and the system of their release was literally stuffed by different unique devices and systems; therefore they proved to be very complex in the finishing and the adjustment, which continued entire spring and the part of the summer of 1974.

However, by this time the interest of customer in VVA-14 was noticeably reduced. Primary attention was paid to the improvement of those aircraft already entered into service - Be-12, Il-38 and Tu-142. It became finally clear that lift engines with the acceptable characteristics will not be available even in the distant future. Therefore Bartini made the decision to finish the prototype as an aerodynamic air-cushion vehicle with blowing of air from the additional engines under the center section.

According to American experts, the Soviet Union for 10 years went forward in the development of WIG, achieving incredible load capacity. Shortly before his death Bartini made a report in which it proposed to create hydrofoil carriers. They would have a speed up to 600-700 km/h, so that the plane could sit without damping rate. When Bartini made his report, the famous designer of the Sormovo WIG Alexeyev declined to act, citing the fact that his report was worse.

Works initiated in this direction led to the creation of the experimental air-cushion aircraft 14M1P, but its tests began without BBartini. Robert Lyudovikovich died in December 1974. Flight tests, by inertia, were continued in 1975.






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