Pyotr Nesterov – legend of Russian aviation
Nesterov was born on February 27, 1887 in Nizhny Novgorod into the family of a military academy teacher. Pyotr graduated from the military school in Nizhny Novgorod, and in 1904 went to the artillery school. Nesterov was fond of reading books about the adventures and legendary commanders of the past.
In 1909 he was sent to an aircraft manufacturer, where he built his first glider and learned to fly it.
In 1912 Nesterov became a military pilot. He was an experimenter and innovator who once flew from Kiev to Saint Petersburg and back in one day! It was great for 1913.
On September 9, 1913 he became the first pilot to fly a loop. Nesterov did it in a Nieuport IV monoplane in front of a large audience. “For risking government property” the pilot was disciplined with ten days of close arrest. The loop made him famous overnight. Nesterov became a national hero and was awarded the golden medal.
During the First World War Nesterov suggested using planes for bombing and ramming and became the first pilot who destroyed an enemy airplane in flight. Eager to destroy enemy aircraft, he damaged his own plane as much as the enemy’s and both planes crashed. The next day (on September 8, 1914) Nesterov died of his injuries.
Nesterov’s ramming method (known in Russian as taran) was used during the Second World War by a number of Soviet pilots with success and without their loss of life.
The name of Nesterov was given to an asteroid discovered by Soviet astronomer Tamara Smirnova in 1973.