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Russian Personalities

People well-known in art, sport, film, fashion

Igor Sikorsky – aircraft designer

Igor Sikorsky - aircraft designer

Igor Sikorsky – aircraft designer

Igor Sikorsky was a Russian and the American aircraft designer, scientist, inventor, philosopher, engineer, pilot, and entrepreneur. He was the creator of the world’s first: four-engine airplane Russian Vityaz (1913), a heavy four-engine bomber and the passenger plane Ilya Muromets (1914), a transatlantic seaplane, single-rotor helicopter (USA, 1942). His single-rotor design, a major breakthrough in helicopter technology, remains the dominant configuration in the early twenty-first century. The winged-S emblem still signifies the world’s most advanced rotorcraft.
Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky was born on May 25, 1889 in Kiev, Russian Empire. He was the youngest of five children in a family of well-known psychiatrist, professor of Kiev University in the Department of Mental and Nervous Diseases – Ivan Sikorsky (1842-1919). While still a schoolboy the boy built several model aircraft and helicopters, as well as bombs.
From 1903 to 1906 Igor studied at the St. Petersburg Naval Academy. In 1907 Sikorsky entered the Kiev Polytechnic Institute where he became a member of aero club.

In 1908-1911 he built his first simple helicopters but later he began to construct planes. In 1911 he became a pilot.
From 1912 to 1917 he worked as chief designer in the department of Russian-Baltic carload factory in St. Petersburg.
In 1912-1914 he created Russian Vityaz and Ilya Muromets.
On March 27, 1912 Sikorsky managed to set world speed records – 111 km / h with two passengers on board and 106 km / h with five passengers.
For two years, Sikorsky’s airplanes won main prizes in the competition of military aircraft.
On February 18, 1918 Sikorsky went first to London and then to Paris.
In March 1919 Igor emigrated to the United States where he worked as a Math teacher in New York.
In 1923, he founded an aviation company – Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation. It is known that the prominent Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff was personally involved in his enterprise, he was the vice-president. In the early twenty-first century the corporation manufactures helicopters for sale around the world. Continually designing aircraft, Sikorsky received many other patents, including patents for helicopter control and stability systems.
In the 1930s, Sikorsky designed and manufactured a series of large passenger-carrying flying boats that pioneered the transoceanic commercial air routes in the Caribbean and Pacific.
In the 1950s Sikorsky was one of the leading manufacturers in the field.
In 1963 Sikorsky was awarded the highest scientific award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers – ASME Medal.
Igor Sikorsky died on October 26, 1972 in Easton, Connecticut, USA.

Sikorsky on the cover of Time magazine

Sikorsky on the cover of Time magazine

Igor Sikorsky – aircraft designer