Aviation Pioneers

Igor Ivan Sikorsky – Dream of Helicopter

Igor Ivan Sikorsky was born on May 25, 1889 in Kiev- Russian Empire [now in Ukraine]. Sikorsky’s father was a physician and professor of psychology. His mother also was a physician but never practiced professionally. Fascinated by the paintings of Da Vinci and the stories of Jules Verne, Sikorsky was able to create a rubber band-powered helicopter at the age of 12.

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With the financial support of his sister in 1909, he went to Paris to study aerodynamics and to buy the components to form his helicopter, and then he returned to Kiev with a three-cylinder 25 hp Anzani motorcycle engine and built his first helicopter. However, this attempt did not succeed. In February 1910, he used the same engines on a small plane called the S-1, but the S-1 never managed to take off. Although the S-2 and its larger S-3 could only take off for a short time, the S-5 with its 50 hp engine managed to take off in May 1911. The S-6, which has a 100 hp Argus engine, started flying in November 1911.

In 1912, Igor Sikorsky became chief engineer of the Russia Baltic Railroad Automobile Plant in Petrograd. He received a small order from the Russian army for the S-6-B he produced and began work on a large four-engine aircraft. When the S-21 took off on 13 May 1913, Igor Sikorsky gained the status of the world’s first four-engine airplane pilot. The S-22, a larger model, began carrying passengers in December 1913. The bomber version also went into operation in 1914, and in 1915 the Russian Empire joined the war with the Air Force. Igor Sikorsky, who had to leave both his position and his homeland due to the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, settled in New York in 1919.

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Established on a farm near Roosevelt Field, Long Island, and collecting army supplies and parts dumped in junkyards, Sikorsky made the first flight of the S-29A, manufactured by Aero Engineering Corporation for America, in 1924. In 1925, the company was renamed Sikorsky Manufacturing Corporation and implemented several new designs, including the S-34, an example for future amphibious aircraft and seaplanes. Sikorsky’s steadfast work on helicopter controls eventually gave the world a robust, useful, versatile flight vehicle.

-In 1929, the company produced a two-engine amphibious aircraft named S-38.

*In the 1930s, he developed flying boats belonging to Pan American Airlines (Pan Am).

-In 1931, he pioneered mail and passenger flights with the first aircraft named S-40 American Clipper.

*In 1937, he developed an improved model of Le Grand for Pan American Airlines. This four-engine aircraft, called the S-42 Clipper, has started transoceanic flight.

In the late 1930s, with the change of military and commercial air transport requirements, Sikorsky turned to work on helicopters again, and developed the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300, America’s first reliable helicopter, equipped with a rotor system similar to the helicopters used today.

Igor Sikorsky passed away in 1972 at the age of 83, after a life of dignity of struggles and success.

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