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Konstantin Kalinin. Interrupted flight.

КПІ - 1925. К-1 перед головним корпусом

Among the giant aircraft that were built at different times in different countries of the world, a place of honor belongs to structures created in Ukraine. Everyone is familiar with the aircraft, "Ilya Muromets" developed from Kiev Igor Sikorsky in the early twentieth century, the giant of the sixties - Antonov "Antey" (An-22), the hero of the eighties "Ruslan" (An-124) and no one has surpassed "Dream" (An -225) nineties. However, few people know about the heavy-duty aircraft K-7, designed and built in the 30s of the last century in Ukraine, and its designer Konstantin Kalinin. In the twenties - early thirties he was considered one of the most promising Soviet aircraft designer. His plane made on the aerodynamic configuration "flying wing", formed the basis of future supersonic aircraft.

Desire to fly

Future aircraft designer was born Feb. 5 (January 24 OS) 1887 in Warsaw at the homeplace of his mother - Marianne Friderikovna. His father, Aleksey Kirilovich hails from the province of Voronezh, a career officer of the tsarist army, for excellent service got a noble title. He died in 1892, when the child was not yet five years old. Therefore he was raised by his mother.

Konstantin Kalinin lived in Poland until 1909. As an external student he graduated from school in Warsaw, and later with honors - Teacher Training Institute in Andreev. In 1909 he entered the Odessa elite infantry cadet school, which he graduated in 1912. There he first saw the flight of the airplane, piloted by Russian aviation pioneer Michael Efimov. Since then, Konstantin Kalinin was possessed by the desire to fly.

During the First World War Kalinin was drafted into military service. He participated in the battles of the Dvina, was awarded by the Order of Sv.Stanislav. But all this time, the dream of aviation did not leave him and in the beginning of 1916 he obtained an assignement to study in Gatchina military flying school.

He was lucky to have as a teacher well known aviation professional Colonel Sergei Ulyanin, who trained a galaxy of outstanding airmen. The name of this pilot and aircraft designer was at one time in the Russian Empire almost as legendary as the names of Sergei Utochkin, Mikhail Efimov and designer and pilot Igor Sikorsky. Among students Sergey Ulyanin except Konstantin Kalinin, were such vivid personalities as famous Pyotr Nesterov, Eugraph Kruten - known air fighter and one of the first developers tactics fighter, Alexander Kazakov - the famous ace of the First World War, Jan Nagursky - the first in history polar aviator, and many others.

Gatchina flying school Kalinin graduated in October 1916, receiving the rank of a military pilot and rank of captain. After that, he was again sent to the front. He fought in the inferno, one of the first Russian aviators began to use radio communications to adjust artillery fire from the air. Due to fighting skill, determination and courage Kalinin was enhanced in the rank and got two military orders.

After the turbulent revolutionary events Konstantin Kalinin went to Kiev, where in early 1918 he met people, who played in his later life a decisive role. They were members and graduates of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute Victorine Bobrov and brothers Ivan and Andrei Kasyanenko.

They were well known in aviation of that time. Victorine Bobrov and brothers Kasyanenko were among the most active participants of the founders established in 1906 aeronautic section at mechanical department of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. For several years more than 40 different types of airplanes were designed and built by the Kiev aircraft manufacturers. In fact, this cell has fulfilled the role of the first in the south of the Russian Empire research and training center of aviation technical profile. Most part of the domestic aircraft designers of the first generation came out of it. It gave a start in aviation also to the future aircraft designer Konstantin Kalinin.

Starting his work in Kiev, Kalinin refers to the management of UNR with a number of initiatives aimed at the development of aviation, but the weak government could not support it. Disappointed with the current directors of the UPR, Kalinin switched to the Bolsheviks. Subsequently, he was sent to Petrograd, where in June 1920 as an experienced pilot was sent to study at the Moscow Aviation College, created by Professor Nikolai Zhukovsky, and in 1922 converted to the Air Force Engineering Academy of Zhukovsky.

Despite the great practical experience and thorough prior education, Kalinin failed to graduate this institution. Due to the "cleansing" of listeners he was dismissed with the definition - "as a former tsarist officer and a nobleman."

Thesis project

Kiev colleagues came to his aid. 1923 Konstantin Kalinin returned to Kiev and was admitted at the fourth year of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, whose rector was Victorine Bobrov and provost - Ivan Kasyanenko. At the same time Kalinin joined the leadership of the Aviation Scientific-Technical Society (ASTS) and was appointed chief of production of the Kiev Aircraft Repair Plant "Remvozduh-6".

Appointment he received with the assistance V.Bobrov, formerly head of the company. The factory was established for repair of aircraft, but the new production manager offered to colleagues to create their own domestic airliner. The company's management has supported this proposal.

Led by K.Kalinin, small group of young engineers and workers' Remvozduh-6 " begun to develop a new machine. The aircraft was named K-1. Kalinin proposed the concept and the main schemes of its design, significantly different from the traditional ones.

As the scheme was chosen semicantilever airplane with original elliptical wing. This gave a number of advantages: such as the smallest loss on the formation of the vortex, increasing of lateral stability, reducing energy engine that provides high-speed and range. It was a breakthrough in the aircraft industry. Later, by foreign experts creation of the elliptical wing was evaluated as outstanding contribution to the world of aviation. For a long time it was a brand name of Kalinin designs. The effectiveness of this form theorized famous German hydroaerodynamics L.Prandtl. But K.Kalinin priority in the development of the design of this wing was confirmed by a patent in 1923.

State tests of a new machine were held in April 1925. They showed that the plane meets all requirements for passenger aircraft and is suitable for use in the Civil Air Fleet of the USSR. With a full load - three passengers and the pilot - airplane reached a speed of over 160 km / h and a ceiling of three thousand meters.

Within a few days, on the eve of May 1, 1925, under the piloting of test pilot Kiev Aircraft Repair Plant "Remvozduh-6" Stanislav Kosinski the aircraft conducted a successful flight on the route Kyiv-Kharkiv-Moscow. K-1 has become the first domestic passenger plane, recommended for serial production. Ten aircraft K-1 were used for passenger transport and aerial surveys before 1930.

Autumn of 1925 the graduate engineer Konstantin Kalinin was assigned to work in Kharkiv. There he was offered the post of chief designer and head of production aircraft repair shops, which soon became the first in the Soviet civil aircraft design bureau named "Aircraft Factory behalf of the Economic Council of the USSR", later Kharkov aircraft factory. Together with Kalinin young professionals from KPI and aircraft repair plant "Remvozduh-6", which rallied during the creation of the K-1, moved to Kharkov.

"Ahead of Time"

End of the 20's, early 30-ies of the last century were marked by an uncompromising struggle of the best aviation schools in the world for the creation of new types of aircraft. The results of this struggle directly affect the military potential of the major geopolitical players: the USSR, Germany, France, UK, USA.

Realizing this, Konstantin Kalinin from the first days of stay in Kharkov started to design a new aircraft, laying into him the latest engineering solutions: elliptic wing, block’s motor mounting, which gave access to all of its units. As the main construction material it was first used kolchugalyuminy, thus markedly increasing the reliability of all the elements of the machine. The design was developed under powerful than the K-1 engine BMW-IV. In this plane Kalinin started to realize the idea of unification of his design that allows to reduce development costs, improve reliability and manufacturability. This unification, also facilitates the mastering of new technology by pilots.

Test aircraft took place in the spring - summer of 1927. The members of the State Commission particularly noted the unpretentiousness of the machine to the field and the safety takeoff and landing. The plane made it possible to carry three passengers over a distance of 1000 km at a speed of 165 km / h.

Next order was obtained soon. At the end of the year Kharkov aircraft manufacturers signed an agreement with the Russian Red Cross to make air ambulance K-3. It was designed in record time - just two and a half months! In it were applied design solutions for the rapid evacuation of people from areas of accidents and disasters: a comfortable recumbent seat for two patients, the space for the doctor and his equipment, on-board water system. The machine had Kalinin’s traditional, high location elliptical wing and fuselage steel truss. The aircraft became lighter, but his payload as compared with the previous model has increased by seventy pounds.

March 4, 1928 a brand new K-3 in the squadron "Our response to Chamberlain" was ceremonially handed over to representatives of the Air Fleet at the Central Airport in Moscow. The aircraft received the name ROKK 1 (Russian Red Cross - the first) and was assigned to a freight-forwarding point control sanitary service. During the 1928-1930's, it was rescued more than 30 people who have been victims of various disasters.

Already during design refinement "nurse" as the company's employees called it, Kalinin DB perfected its machine, which went under the code on the K-4. Ideas that were considered at the time a new word in the aircraft and were developed during testing K-3 were used here: aircraft stabilizer which allows to change the setting angle during flight, allowing the aircraft to operate with a wide range of CG; engine mounted on a rotary engine mount, which not only provides easy access to all its units, but also allows to quickly replace it with another engine.

For the first time in the industrial practice, it was decided not to build planes individually but serially - four or more. This will save time and money on the preparation of production. A K-4 aircraft began to build not only a sanitary but also as a first aerial passenger. For the plant it was the first plane, which was produced commercially. In all there were 44 machines.

Berlin triumph

The main event in October 1928 was the first for the Soviet aircraft manufacturers air show in Berlin. Therefore, it attached great political importance. Konstantin Kalinin received a personal invitation to participate in the exhibition. Its organizers appealed to Kalinin with the following words: "The International Committee for the organization of world air show invites you to participate in a timely manner and to inform us of your agreement. We know a lot about the brilliant flights of K-4. Mr. Kalinin apparatus with its elliptical wings certainly attract the attention of scientists and engineers around the world .... "

Indeed, foreign aviation specialists knew a lot about K-4 before the show. Indeed, in June 1928, K-4 along with new aircraft "Mercury" of the German company Dornier participated in Kharkiv-Moscow flight. In August of the same year it was implemented another flight by the route with special complexity Tbilisi-Kutaisi-Gagra-Tuapse, Krasnodar. The flights were successful and confirmed the high quality of the new aircraft and its suitability for the replacement of expensive foreign cars.The famous aviation magazine "Flight" dedicated its pages to the unprecedented achievements K-4. This made Konstantin Kalinin, one of the famous aircraft designer, not only in the USSR but also in the West. He was invited to work in its US company of other KPI graduate Igor Sikorsky. But Kalinin thought that he should do his job in his homeland.

Debut in Germany turned out quite successful. The exposition of the USSR was presented a series of machines designed by Tupolev: all-metal biplane reconnaissance, two sports glider, snowmobile ANT-IV, mail carrier ANT-3; M.Polikarpov famous training plane U-2 and the Kalinin K-4. It is the latter that won the main prize of the Berlin exhibition - a gold medal.

Interesting expeditions were carried out in K-4 after its celebration of the Berlin exhibition: in May 1929, seven serial machines with thirty-five members of the Ukrainian youth participated in the first Soviet mass flight from Kharkiv-Rostov-Sochi-Tbilisi-Mineral Waters. August 22, 1929 the plane K-4, entitled "Red Ukraine" with the crew of a test pilot Kharkov plant M. Snegirev, navigator I. Spirin and mechanic S.Keglevich started outbound flight from Kharkiv to Moscow-Irkutsk-Moscow-Kharkov, during which time was 73 hours in air and overcome 10400 kilometers. This flight was watched by the whole country. At the final stage engine failed. K-4 in the gliding mode overcame 100 km and successfully landed on the Kharkov airport. According to the commander of the aircraft Peter Baranov K-4 showed outstanding results.

New passenger plane

Despite confirmed in Outbound Flight brilliant quality Kalinin machines and the international recognition of their designer the management of "Ukrvozduhput" for a long time obstinately to bid on the German "Junkers" and aircraft company "Dornier". On this basis, between the chief designer of the Kharkov aircraft factory and the Management Board was an acute conflict, which was repaid only after the intervention of higher party authorities. In November 1927 at the Tenth Congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine in the report "a positive role of the young engineer, member of the Party of Kalinin" was noted. Personnel of the "Ukrvozduhput" was replaced. It was headed by a former colleague at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute Andrei Kasyanenko who always supported talented designer.

... And life required of new developments. The country has increased the volume of passenger traffic, mail. There was a growing demand for prompt delivery of goods. The state could no longer depend on foreign aircraft manufacturers and carriers. In 1929, work began on the next Kalinin’s project - Aircraft K-5.

State tests of the new car were completed in summer 1930. They showed that with a payload of 1600 kg maximum aircraft speed reaches 198 km / h; it does not require large-equipped airfields for takeoff as he need only 100 meters, and for landing - 140; the distance over which it can carry eight passengers with a crew of two people was 800 kilometers. New domestic aircraft whose performance was much better than the German machines which operated at that timel almost at all the airways of the USSR.

It was immediately recommended in mass production and by the end of 1930, 25 planes were made and started to work in all corners of the USSR. From 1930 until 1934, 296 aircraft K-5 were produced in various modifications. He became a leader of the civil fleet of the USSR. A designer Konstantin Kalinin was awarded the Order of Red Banner of Labor.

Over the next ten years, the K-5 aircraft was the primary vehicle of Soviet civil aviation. And during the war it was used to transport the wounded, the delivery of food and weapons, intelligence and even for night bombing.

Among other aircraft Kalinin those years it worth recalling mail plane K-6, V.I.P. K-9 and K-10. These double-seat machines were designed specifically for the needs of the management of administrative districts and regions. They were equipped with economical low-powered engines; could land on any platform, for easy storage they had wings that could fold. Aircraft K-10, in addition, were produced also in sports and agricultural modifications with the equipment for the processing of crops.

In parallel with the work in DB Konstantin Kalinin (together with Academician Peter Proskury) worked on the creation in 1930 of a new institution - the Kharkov Aviation Institute (HAI), in which he became the first Manager of the aircraft structure department. Among his students there was an outstanding Ukrainian aircraft designer Joseph Neman, who later succeeded his teacher to head the Department HAI and chief designer of the Kharkov aircraft factory.

Aerodynamic configuration "all in wing"

But the main thing in life Konstantin Kalinin was a huge plane K-7, which, although his fate was not happy, but on the technical decisions was ahead of time for a few decades. Work on it began in 1929. Creation of super aircraft was at that time one of the core areas of development of the global aviation industry. In the world there was an escalated race for supremacy in the total tonnage, dimensions, engine power, range and survivability of aircraft. The Kharkov aircraft factory did not stay aside from this race. But while most of designer went by the way of mechanical increasing of the size and power in their developments, Kalinin looked for innovative decisions. As he wrote: "When creating new large machines paths lead towards new aircraft aerodynamic schemes aimed at the use of the wing to accommodate the payload. So the scheme "flying wing" should be the ideal aircraft. "

To make the transition to a "flying wing", there is a need to build a machine according to the principle "all in the wing." Therefore, the K-7 is a actually one huge wing span of 53 meters and an area of 204 square meters. It had a center section width of six meters and a length of almost 11 meters and a height of 2.33 m, in which there was a space for people and cargo. There were in the wing 14 tanks with fuel. Horizontal and vertical tail feathers carried two tail boom. Along the axis of the aircraft it was placed slightly protruding ahead cockpit for pilots, navigator, radio operator and chief engineer. Another seven crew members were located in other areas of the machine, and keep the internal telephone connection. The plane was designed with seven domestic engines AM-34, six of which were mounted on the front edge of the wing, and the seventh - the push - on the back, between the joists of plumage. The design allows in-flight mechanics approach the running engine.

K-7 was designed as a multi-purpose aircraft. His passenger version was designed for 128 passengers. Built around the same time, a German plane "Dornier" DO-X, which until the creation of the K-7 was considered the largest in the world, was designed to carry 100 passengers. It was developed also the military version of K-7, which could carry up to 16.6 tons of bomb load or 112 paratroopers with appropriate weapons.

August 19, 1933 the aircraft first flew on the factory airfield. As always, the chief designer K.Kalinin was sitting in the copilot's seat. For three weeks, after improvements and adjustment of systems, series of new test flights were carried out. Discovered design defects were eliminated immediately. However, there was a problem of sudden vibration of the aircraft. With his experience chief test pilot of the plant M.Snegirev learned to extinguish them by changing the mode of the engine, but a fundamental way to deal with vibration was not then found.

The three-month flight test program approached to the end. November 21, during the third approach to the landing the plane suddenly stopped to be controlled and hit the ground. Fifteen of the twenty members of the crew and researchers, including M.Snegirev were killed in the fire.

A government commission set up to investigate the causes of the disaster, found no error in the DB strength analysis of the airplane. He crashed through the deformation of the tail and rudder jamming caused by the strong self-excited oscillations. This phenomenon is known in aircraft and called "flutter". It was overcame much later by a prominent Soviet engineer and mathematician Mstislav Keldysh using weight balancer rudders.

For Konstantin this disaster was a heavy blow. The people were killed on the plane of his dreams, in his opinion - the most perfect at the time in the world. The tragedy snatched from the life his friends and colleagues who were near him trough setbacks and victories. It was almost his family, with whom he shared during hunger his government rations, which often list their bonuses for new development.

However, it was necessary to continue to work, because the only disaster could wipe out many years of successful operation of a cohesive and powerful team. Meanwhile, in the Directorate of Aviation Industry (MDAI) in Moscow it was matured the decision on conversion the Kharkov aircraft factory on purely military issues and transfere Kalinin with his designe bureau in Voronezh. In 1934, on a new basis two extensively modernized K-7 were laid, but soon MDAI leadership opposed the continuation of the work under the pretext that the country allegedly not need heavy-duty aircraft. Exceptions are made only for the Tupolev aircraft giant "Maxim Gorky", which was designed according to traditional solutions and whose fate also was short-lived.

The latest developments

In July 1932 DB of Kalinin received from the Council of Labour and Defence of the USSR the task of designing a multipurpose military aircraft K-12 (BC-2). Work on it began in HAI in the wind tunnel. Kalinin put into it all his talent and experience. In K-12, again it was used "flying wing". Kalinin proved that in the case of power plants of the same capacity with aircraft built by traditional way, in the "flying wing" load distributed over a larger plane, and the aircraft will be lighter. Besides, it was a "tailless" which has less drag than usual, so - and more speed, range and maneuverability.

The new aircraft was presented to public in June 18, 1937, at the traditional aviation parade in Moscow. Members of the government, foreign diplomats, aviation specialists and all those present that day in Tushino repeatedly exploded with applause from the seen. Special admiration was caused by wondrous Firebird, which flew behind the link of bombers The fuselage of the aircraft was painted in fanciful colors, protruded slightly of the trapezoidal rear edge of the wing. Instead of the tail there was visible cabin aft tower shooter. There was a machine gun with a rotating turret in the navigational cabin.

The aircraft was put into production, but soon the construction of the first ten copies suspended, "Firebird" was dismantled, and the components and units transferred to the warehouse. To the management of the aviation industry of the USSR technical solutions Kalinin which were much decades ahead of their time, were too bold and risky.

Much later, in the March and April issues of the British magazine Air Pictorial 1989 it was published a long article, "Kalinin - forgotten pioneer", illustrated with photographs of K-12, and the first time it was demonstrated that Kalinin airplanes made on a "flying wing", became the prototype of all supersonic aircraft of the future ...

Professionals of the Kalinin DB were actively working on other quite so fantastic for that time projects. The work on the jet plane with a delta wing and powder charge with the factory code K-15 was on the final stage. A reconnaissance aircraft K-16, with a ceiling of 11,000 m and K-17 bomber, had to carry four tons of bomb load at a distance of eight thousand kilometers were on the development. However, in April 1938, these developments have been stopped – because of the arrest of the chief designer.

"Interrupted Flight ..."

After the February Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), 1937, a wave of repression has covered the defense industry. In the area it was prepared an action plan to "expose and prevent sabotage and espionage." In factories, design bureaus and research institutes of the aviation industry a real terror began. Almost all the leaders of the CAHI (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute of Zhukovsky), famous designers of aircraft and engines R. Bartini, V. Myasischev, I. Eman, B. Petlyakov, J. Tomasevic, V. Charomsky, V. and Chizhevsky others were arrested. Spies were announced perennial friends and colleagues K.Kalinina Kasyanenko brothers. The outstanding aircraft designer A.Tupolev was accused in the work for the French Intelligence. In conclusion, were The founders of the Soviet rocketry S.Korolёv, V.Glushko, G.Langemak too were at jail ... Fortunately, some managed to survive.

April 1, 1938, it was the turn for Konstantin Kalinin. Already May 31, 1938 decision of the Voronezh city party committee, before the sentencing court, he was expelled from the party. A 22 October 1938 as the "enemy of the people" he was convicted "for undermining Soviet aircraft" and the next day was shot.

Konstantin Kalinin was posthumously rehabilitated August 10, 1955 ... "due to lack of evidence." But his name was unjustly forgotten. Only close and very narrow circle of specialists know who really is the author of bold engineering solutions, ahead of time, who created the famous aircraft factories, design bureaus, institutions of higher education.

In 1972, soon after the death of Igor Sikorsky, also strike out from the history of domestic aviation, a prominent Soviet engineer, academician I.Artobolevsky said: "Here there were two great aircraft designers- Igor Sikorsky and Konstantin Kalinin. The first America buried as a national hero, and here nobody knows the second one. On the top of his glory he was ruined young at home."

Son Konstantin Kalinin - WWII veteran, Colonel Alvin Kalinin and daughter, the former responsible employee of the USSR Navy Nelly Kalinin two times per yearl honor the memory of their father. Astrophysicist Crimean observatory T.Smirnova opened in 1975 under the number 3347 a planet. This planet by International planetary center was given the name "Konstantin" in honor of outstanding aircraft Konstantin Kalinin.

Contribute to the revival of his glorious name of the graduate is made by the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. Today at the State Polytechnic Museum KPI figure Konstantin Kalinin is alongside other pioneers of Air and Space - Igor Sikorsky, Alexander Mikulin, Dmitry Grigoryevich, Ivan and Andrei Kasyanenko, Arkhipov Liulka, Sergei Korolev, Vladimir Chelomey, Lev Lyulev and many other prominent Kyiv Polytechnics. His aircraft design and unique engineering solutions are learn by the students Institute of Mechanical Engineering and the Faculty of aviation and space systems KPI, conferences of scientists, current and future creators of aviation are dedicated him.

M.Z. Zgurovsky, Academician of NAS of Ukraine, Rector of NTUU "KPI"


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