The Kostantin Oleksandrovich Kalinin portrait occupied the honorary place in the gallery of outstanding graduates Kyiv Polytechnic. And this place belongs to him by the right. However not everyone today remembers what this person is famous for. And this is not a wonder, because the aircraft designer Kalinin in late thirties was arbitrarily arrested and later shot. Therefore, for a long time only one letter from his name – the first one – remained in the names of developed by him aircrafts. These airplanes like the workhorses carried on travelers throughout all the Soviet Union.

Later they were replaced by the new, modern airliners, where the Kalinin’s know-how were used as trivial engineer solutions. Then these airplanes also were replaced by the new ones… And yet, his name returned from nothingness.

April 20, 1925, in Kyiv the protocols of the successful flying tests of the new passenger airplane K-1 were signed. It was recognized to be accepted in civil aviation as the one, which fully meets all the requirements to the passenger machines. The day before May 1, the test – pilot of Kyiv Aircraft Repair Plant “Rempovitria-6” Stanislav Kosinsky made the first successful flight on this airplane by the route Kyiv-Kharkiv-Moscow.

It is interesting that the airplane K-1 was constructed, so to speak, “without prior arrangement”. Small team of engineer and technical personnel of the plant “Rempovitria-6” in their spare time, under the leadership of the designer and KPI student, former pilot Kostantin Kalinin, enthusiastically worked on the construction of the new passenger airplane. Soon after, they were joined by the plant’s workers. Drawings, calculations, details and components of the future airplane were made on the evenings and weekends. The first tests were carried out on the field in vicinity of the plant, which was located at that time on the corner between Brest-Litovsk motorway( Peremogy avenue now) and street Garmatna. The work for the plant was out of plan, because the main task was repairing outdated, mostly foreign, aircrafts. However, the workers of the plant managed to create the plane so successful, that it became at once serial, and order to produce it was given not only to the Kyiv plant, but also to workshops “Ukrpovitriashlakh” in the then capital Kharkiv.

There were in the design of K-1 several new technical ideas, which later became classic: the plane fuselage first time in the USSR was made from the steel tubes, the wings were adjusted with wire’s bracings, the passenger cabin and the front part of the fuselage were covered by light and sturdy, corrosion resistant material – aluminum. With its full load – three passengers and a pilot – the plane reached the speed up to 160 km/hour with a maximum flight altitude – 3 thousand meters.

Successful tests of the K-1 airplane coincided in the designer’s life with the graduation Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. The new made engineer got an assignment for the work in Kharkiv. He had an order to head the aircraft design bureau, with was created on the base of mentioned above workshops. This bureau was later transformed in the USSR first civil aircraft design bureau.

It worth be noted, that the life and, as he proved, professional experience of Kostantin Kalinin fully corresponded with his duties. In 1925 he was 36 years old. He had orphaned childhood: his father, a regimental clerk, died in 1892, when the boy was only three years old. The mother died in 1900. His Russian name the Ukrainian designer obliged to the father street’s name – that up to his conscription was teased in the village by the name “Kalina-Malina”. Some Polish official changed his name into Kalinin. The boy lived in Poland, in the birth-place of his mother. He externally graduated from the school, then – pedagogical institute, in 1909 he was admitted in Odessa military school. At that time he saw for the first time a flight of an airplane – during the exhibition flights of the first Russian aviator Michael Efimov. From that time he fell in love with the aviation. Soon after Kalinin has obtained an assignment to study in Gatchina school of aviation. In 1918 he was conscripted in the Polish Army, but soon after, having the real Ukrainian national consciousness, he sided with the Central Council of Ukraine. In 1919, being disappointed with the Council policy, he sided with Red Army. The following year he was admitted in the Institute of Engineers Red Air fleet of M.E.Zhukovsky (now outstanding the Air Military Academy). For the soldier’s son, it seems, the broad road to implement all his dreams was opened. However, not so long past – officer rank, conscription in the Polish Army and, particular, taking part in the UNA activities, was felt. He was “cleaned out” from the Institute and had to leave Moscow. He settled in Kyiv, where he was admitted in the fourth year of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. As most of that time students he combined an education with the work. The above mentioned airplane K-1 became a result of such combination, one of the first domestic plane to carry passengers and civil cargo.

In Kharkiv for a short time the collective of the design bureau and workshops, headed by Kalinin, developed and constructed a new improved passenger airplane K-2, then- first in the world special sanitary airplane K-3. The next airplane, K-4, was constructed in three modifications: passenger, sanitary and the version for the aerial photography. The sanitary version of the airplane was exhibited on the International aviation exhibition in Berlin, where it was awarded the gold medal and was admired by the aviation specialists, because there were no any sanitary airplanes in the world practice at that time. In August of the same year the passenger airplane K-4 “Red Ukraine” under control of the pilot M.Snegirev, made an unprecedented flight on the route Kharkiv-Moscow-Novosibirsk-Irkutsk-Moscow-Kharkiv with the aim to beat the USSR record on the maximal flight distance, an investigation of the possibility of night flights with airplane control through devices only, test for the astronomical orientation of the plane, to find out the maximal speed in the long distance flight, and an acquaintance the public with domestic designers achievements. This flight showed exorbitant qualities of the new machine. Soon after it was started to be produced serially .

The following development of the K-5 plane became really triumphal for the DB Kalinin and Kharkiv aircraft construction plant (former workshops). The new machine could carry eight passengers and half tone of cargo on the distance 800 km with the speed 180 km/h, and after equipment with the engine M-17 – up to 200 km/h. The planes were produced from non-deficient materials: wood, plywood, pipes, fabrics, they can make takeoff and landing on the small airfields, were simple in construction and in control. They were more economical than other domestic and foreign planes. So they became the most used civil planes in the USSR and were used up to 1940, totally driving out all the foreign planes. The Kharkiv plant constructed 260 such machines in total.

The following development of Kostantin Kalinin , heavy airplane K-7, became a real breakthrough in the world technical think of that time. Those all-metal 40 tone giant was equipped with seven engines was designed to carry 128 passengers and 29 crew team. K-7 was the biggest airplane in the world and continued the tradition of “Ilia Murometz” of Igor Sykorsky, which in our time is continued and developed in the planes of DB Oleg Antonov “Antey”, “Ruslan” and “Mria”. However, unfortunately, the level of the industry could not make it possible to start a serial production of that airplane. So it remained a bright page in the history of aviation.

The audience of the aviation parade 1937 in Tushino met with applause the appearance of fantastic Fire-Bird, which proudly flew over them in the blue sky. This was painted in chimeric colors aircraft, absolutely unusual in its appearance. It had no… tail. In the place of the tail there was cockpit of the back-gunner. The fuselage protruded from the back edge of the big and broad trapezoidal wing, with the vertical keels. The experimental machine was designed by the Kalinin design bureau. This construction proved that aircrafts built by the scheme “without tail” could be in future fearsome bombers, which are protected better from behind from the fighters’ attacks then any regular bombers of that time.

One more experimental development was jet aircraft K-15, which was thought to come close to supersonic speeds and overcoming the gravitation.

Simultaneously with the work in DB Kostantin Kalinin many of his time dedicated to the organization, than the work of new-created Kharkiv aviation Institute, where he was the first head of the Department of aircraft construction. One of the best his student was outstanding Ukrainian aircraft designer Joseph Nepman, who, after departure of Kalinin in Voronezh, became a head of the Department and Chief Designer of Kharkiv aviation plant.

All the same, the talent, merits before the state, the project of the new much needed airplanes could not save K.Kalinin from the wave of repressions, which hit him April 1, 1938. After an arrest, everything put against him: Odessa cadet school, the officer rank, the service in UNA, even the expelling from the Institute of Engineers Red Air Fleet of Zhukovsky. He was added by the accusations to be a spy and wrecker. The accusations which were the more offensive that all his efforts and health he gave to the country. Even today there is no exact data about his death. The most probable is thought that after humiliation and torture he was shot November 27, 1938 in the Voronezh prison. And the name, which is known to the world, was forgot in the homeland for the long time.