Monday, 10 November 2008

René Mouille 1925-

René Mouille was born in 1925. He joined SNCASE in 1946 , where very quickly his talents as a designer were realised.He became responsible for the study of helicopter design under Pierre Renoux. After designing and perfecting the SE 3120 Alouette I, with which several records are established,he is put it in charge of drawing the SE 3130 Alouette II, on which he worked with Charles Marcchetti. This became a very succesful design, with more than 1300 aircraft constructed. His next projects were the Alouette III, the Puma, and the Gazelle. He has filed over 100 patents, incluing many of which became important on French helicopters eg the rotor anti-couple of the SE 3200 Frelon.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Emile Dewoitine 1892-1979

Emiel Dewoitine
Born in Crépy-en-Valois, Émile Dewoitine entered the aviation industry by working at Latécoère during Word War I. In 1920, he founded his own company, but facing little success at home, went to Switzerland where his Dewoitine D.27 fighter was accepted for operational service.

In 1931, Dewoitine went back to France and founded Société Aéronautique Française - Avions Dewoitine. During the 1930s several noteworthy aircraft rolled out of the Toulouse-based Dewoitine factories including the Dewoitine D.500, the French Air Force's first fully metallic, monoplane fighter, as well as the Dewoitine D.338 airliner.

In 1936 part of the French aviation industry was nationalized and Dewoitine's factories were absorbed by the SNCAM. During the Battle of France in 1940, the Dewoitine D.520 turned out to be France's best fighter aircraft.
After the armistice with Germany, Dewoitine briefly tried to start a business in the USA, which caused him to be tried for treason under the Vichy government. Dewoitine went back to work with SIPA which, after an agreement between the Vichy Government and German authorities, was manufacturing trainer aircraft intended for the Luftwaffe, including a derivative of the Arado Ar 96 that would later be known as the SIPA S.10.
Facing charges of collaborationism after the Liberation of France, Dewoitine moved to Spain, where he developed a derivative of the D.520 with Hispano Aviación. He later went to Argentina where he worked for the Industria Aeronáutica Militar, developing the Pulqui I, the first South American jet plane. In France, Dewoitine was condemned in absentia to a 20 year forced labour term in 1948.[1] At the end of this career, he resided in Switzerland, and once his crimes were prescribed, returned to France and finished his life in Toulouse.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Reimar 1915-1994 and Walter Horten 1913-1998

Reimar and Walter Horten

Walter (13 November 1913 - 9 December 1998 Baden-Baden) and Reimar Horten (12 March 1915 - 14 March 1994 Villa General Belgrano, Argentina), sometimes credited as the Horten Brothers, were German aircraft pilots and enthusiasts. Though they had little, if any, formal training in aeronautics or a related field, the Hortens designed some of the most advanced aircraft of the 1940s.
Between the World Wars, the Treaty of Versailles limited the construction of German military airplanes. In response, German military flying became semi-clandestine, taking the form of civil 'clubs' where students trained on gliders under the supervision of decommissioned World War I veterans. As teenagers, the Horten brothers became involved in such flying clubs.

This back-to-the-basics education, and an admiration of German avant-aircraft designer Dr. Alexander Lippisch, led the Hortens away from the dominant design trends of the 1920s and '30s, and toward experimenting with alternative airframes -- building models and then filling their parents' house with full-sized wooden sailplanes. The first Horten glider flew in 1933, when both brothers were still in their teens.

The Hortens' glider designs were extremely simple and aerodynamic, generally consisting of a huge, tailless albatross-wing with a tiny cocoon of a fuselage, in which the pilot lay prone. But the great advantage of the Horten designs was the extremely low parasitic drag of their airframes. They were 'slick' and scalable to high speeds.
By 1939, with Adolf Hitler in power and the Treaty of Versailles no longer in effect, Walter and Reimar had entered the Luftwaffe as pilots. (A third brother, Wolfram, was killed flying a bomber over Dunkirk.) They were also called upon as design consultants, though Germany's aeronautical community tended to regard the Hortens not as part of the cultural elite.

In 1937, the Hortens began using motorized airplanes, with the debut of the twin-engined pusher-prop airplane H.VII (an earlier glider had a mule engine). The Luftwaffe, however, did not actually use many of the Hortens' designs until 1942, when grudging (and partly under-the-table) support was given to a twin-turbojet-powered fighter/bomber design, designated under wartime protocols as the Horten H.IX.

The Horten Ho 229, the world's first jet-powered flying wingSecuring the allocation of turbojets was difficult in wartime Germany, as other projects carried higher priority due to their rank in the overall war effort. Although the turbojet-equipped Ho IX V2 nearly reached a then-astonishing 500 mph in trials, the project was soon given over to the theretofore low-tech aircraft company, Gothaer Waggonfabrik, as the Horten Ho 229 (subsequently often erroneously called Gotha Go 229).

The Ho 229 was a fighter jet with great potential, but arrived too late to see service. Among other advanced Horten designs of the 1940s was the supersonic delta-wing H.X, designed as a hybrid turbojet/rocket fighter with a top speed of Mach 1.4, but tested only in glider form (as the Horten H.XIII). Its revolutionary stealth design included a special carbon layer that was able to reduce the radar range detection. The Horten brothers also worked on the Horten H.XVIII, an intercontinental bomber that was part of the Amerika Bomber project.
As the war ended, Reimar Horten emigrated to Argentina, where he continued designing and building gliders and one twin-engined flying wing transport, which was unsuccessful commercially. Walter remained in Germany after the war and became an officer in the post-war German Air Force Luftwaffe. Reimar died on his ranch in Argentina in 1994, while Walter died in Germany in 1998.

In the late 1940s, the personnel of Project Sign, the U.S. Air Force's flying saucer investigation, seriously considered the possibility that UFOs might have been secret aircraft manufactured by the U.S.S.R. based on the Hortens' designs

Alexander Martin Lippisch 1894 -1976

Alexander Martin Lippisch was born in 1894 in Munich, Germany, to Franz and Clara (Commichau) Lippisch. Alexander was educated at schools in Berlin and Jena; and enlisted in Germany's armed forces in 1915. He served as an aerial photographer and mapper. In 1943, he was awarded a doctoral degree from the University of Heidelberg. From 1918-1945, Lippisch held various positions in aviation in Germany: as a designer, aerodynamicist, and director of research. In 1946, he emigrated with his family to the U.S., where he worked for the Dept. of Defense. From 1950-1964, Alexander worked for the Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and after his retirement, was employed as a design consultant. Lippisch worked on a variety of research projects throughout his career, including smoke tunnel visualization, remote powered vehicles, delta shaped wings, and aerofoil boats.

Kurt Tank 1898-1983

Kurt Tank (right) in conversation with Specht and Sommer

Kurt Tank was a resourceful aeronautical engineer and test pilot, heading the design department at Focke-Wulf from 1931-45. He designed several important aircraft of World War II, including the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter aircraft.

Before Focke Wulf, Tank was employed by Albatros Flugzeugwerke, but after their bankruptcy in 1929, the company was broken up with most of the designers going to Focke-Wulf and a few others going to Arado in 1931. Tank then started work on the design of the Fw 44, Focke Wulf's first commercially successful design, launched in 1934. This led to burgeoning growth for the company as the country prepared for war.

The Fw 190 Würger (butcher-bird), produced from 1939 to 1945, was a mainstay Luftwaffe single-seat fighter during World War II. During the war, Tank was honoured for his work. In January 1943, he was named honorary Professor with a chair at the technical school in Braunschweig, in recognition of his services to the development of flight.

At the end of the war, like many other German technicians, he continued his professional life in Latin America. The Argentine Government offered him a job at its aerotechnical institute, the Instituto Aerotécnico in Córdoba. He moved there, with many of his Focke-Wulf co-workers, in 1947. The Instituto Aerotécnico later became Argentina's military aeroplane factory, the Fábrica Militar de Aviones. There, he designed the IAe Pulqui II based on the Focke-Wulf Ta 183 design that had reached mock-up stage at the end of the war. It was a state-of-the-art design for its day, but the project was axed in 1953 due to Argentina's financial crisis. When President Juan Peron fell from power in 1955 the ex Focke-Wulf team dispersed, many to the United States.

Tank instead moved to India. There he designed, for Hindustan Aeronautics, the Hindustan Marut fighter-bomber, the first military aircraft constructed in India. The first prototype flew in 1961; the Marut was retired from active service in 1985.

Tank returned to live in Berlin during the seventies, basing himself in Germany for the rest of his life.

Hugo Junkers 1859-1935

Hugo Junkers was an innovative German engineer, as his many patents in varied areas (gas engines, aeroplanes) show. He pioneered the first great change in aviation materials and design technology, away from wood and fabric materials braced by wire rigging, towards all-metal, cantilever-winged monoplane aircraft that had little to no external bracing.

The name Junkers is mainly known in connection with aircraft, which were produced under this name first for the German Empire later in World War I, mostly in league with Anthony Fokker as requested by IdFlieg for the Luftstreitkräfte, and later for the Third Reich's Luftwaffe before and during World War II. By then, however, the Nazi government was running his businesses, and Hugo Junkers himself was deceased.

Born in Rheydt, Rhine Province, Junkers studied in Charlottenburg and Aachen. He was a professor of mechanical engineering at Aachen between 1897 and 1912. Working as an engineer, Junkers devised, patented, and exploited gas engines, heaters, a calorie meter and other inventions. His aeronautical work began in earnest only at the age of fifty. He had far-seeing ideas of metal aeroplanes and flying wings, but always realities of war dragged him back. During World War I the government forced him to focus on aircraft production. In 1915, he developed the world's first practical all metal aircraft design, the Junkers J 1 "Blechesel"[1] (Sheetmetal Donkey), which survived on museum display in Berlin until World War II, and later in 1918 his firm created the world's first low-winged single seat fighter aircraft, the Junkers D.I. However, the D.I. did not enter production until 1918. He also produced a two seat fighter (pilot and rear gunner), the Junkers CL.I. and an armored-fuselage two seat all metal sesquiplane, the Junkers J.I, considered the best German ground attack aircraft of the war. The J.I's pattern of an armored fuselage that protected the nose mounted engine, pilot and observer in a unitized metal "bathtub", was the possible inspiration for Sergei Ilyushin's later IL-2 Shturmovik (conceivably appropriate as Junkers did have a manufacturing plant in Fili, a suburb of Moscow, in the Soviet Union in the 1920s) with a similar armored fuselage design, and Andrei Tupolev and William Stout each owed much to Hugo Junkers in the designs of their earlier aircraft, which benefitted from Junkers' corrugated light metal construction philosophy.

After the war, several business ventures failed from wider economic or political problems that scuppered sound engineering plans. But Junkers always had more ideas: the massive four engined G38, nicknamed "Der Grosse Dessauer", delivered to Lufthansa made no commercial trips for many months as he repeatedly recalled it to the factory for improvements.

During the 1920s Junkers' employees represented a wide spectrum of views. There were left wing cultural revolutionaries and National Socialists. There were pacifists and World War I veterans who were convinced Germany would remilitarise following the ideas of such as Ernst Jünger. Some preferred pure scientific research, others focused on mass production. About every aspect of the business, and of its environment, there were differing opinions.

For members of all the many groups represented in Junkers, aviation offered hope for national renewal. Their varied views led to lively internal corporate politics until the Nazi government interfered. Junkers claimed affinity with Hitler's nationalist commitment, but ultimately had little sympathy with the requirements of mobilization for total war.

Junkers was a socialist and a pacifist; perhaps for these reasons, he had several occasions to cross swords with German leadership. In 1917 the government forced him into partnership with Anthony Fokker to ensure wartime production targets would be met. In 1926, unable to make government loan repayments after a failed venture to build planes for the USSR, he lost control of most of his businesses. In 1933, the Nazi government, on taking power, immediately demanded ownership of Junkers' patents and control of his remaining companies. Under threat of imprisonment he eventually acquiesced, to little avail; a year later he was under house arrest; a year after that he was dead.
nning his businesses, and Hugo Junkers himself was deceased.

Wilhelm 'Willy' Emil Messerschmitt 1898-1978

Wilhelm Emil "Willy" Messerschmitt was a German aircraft designer and manufacturer. He was born in Frankfurt am Main, the son of a wine merchant. His stepfather was the American painter and Munich Academy Professor Carl von Marr.

Probably Messerschmitt's single most important design was the Messerschmitt Bf 109, designed in 1934 with the collaboration of Walter Rethel. The Bf 109 became the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe as Germany re-armed prior to World War II. To this day, it remains the most-produced fighter in history, with some 35,000 built. Another Messerschmitt aircraft, first called "Bf 109R", purpose-built for record setting, but later re-designated Messerschmitt Me 209, broke the absolute world air-speed record and held the world speed record for propeller-driven aircraft until 1969. His firm also produced the first jet-powered fighter to enter service — the Messerschmitt Me 262, although Messerschmitt himself did not design it.

As a young man, Messerschmitt befriended German sailplane pioneer Friedrich Harth. Harth joined the German army in 1914 and while he was away at war, Messerschmitt continued work on one of Harth's designs, the S5 glider. In 1917, Messerschmitt himself signed up for military service. Following the war, the two were re-united and continued to work together while Messerschmitt commenced study at the Munich Technical College and Harth built aircraft at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW - Bavarian Aircraft Works). The S8 glider they designed and built together in 1921 broke a world duration record (albeit unofficially) and they went into partnership for a while running a flying school. The same year, the first plane entirely designed by Messerschmitt flew — the S9 glider.

During 1923 Harth and Messerschmitt had a falling out and went their separate ways, with Messerschmitt founding his own aircraft company at Augsburg. At first, Messerschmitt built sailplanes, but within two years had progressed via motor gliders to small powered aircraft - sports and touring types. These culminated in the Messerschmitt M17 and Messerschmitt M 18 designs, which Messerschmitt sold to BFW in 1927, when the Bavarian state government encouraged a merger between the two companies. These were followed by the Messerschmitt M20 light transport in 1928, which proved a disaster for BFW and Messerschmitt himself. Two Lufthansa M20s were involved in serious crashes very soon after purchase, and this led the airline to cancel their order for the type. This caused a serious cash-flow problem for the company and led to its bankruptcy in 1931. The M20 crashes also created a powerful enemy for Messerschmitt in the person of Erhard Milch, the head of Lufthansa who had lost a close friend in one of the crashes.

The establishment of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium ("Reich Aviation Ministry" - RLM) by the Nazi government in 1933, headed by Milch, led to a resurgence in the German aircraft industry and the resurrection of BFW. Collaborating with Robert Lusser, Messerschmitt designed the flagship product of the relaunched company, a low-wing sports monoplane called the Messerschmitt M37, but better known by its later RLM designation of Bf 108 Taifun. The following year, Messerschmitt would incorporate many design features of this aircraft into the Bf 109 fighter.

Nevertheless, only the ties that Messerschmitt had formed with leading Nazis Rudolf Hess and Hermann Göring (through Theo Croneiss) saved him from sharing the fate of Milch's other great enemy, Hugo Junkers. To stay in business in the face of Milch ensuring that he would get no government contracts, Messerschmitt had signed agreements with Romania for sales of the M37 and a transport plane, the Messerschmitt M 36. When Milch learned of this, he publicly denounced Messerschmitt as a traitor, and the Gestapo was sent to question him and other BFW officials. Probably due to Croneiss' intervention, no further action was taken.

When in 1936, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 won the RLM's single-seat fighter contest to become one of the main Luftwaffe aircraft types, Messerschmitt and his factory took an important role in the RLM's armament plans, increasing in significance even further when Messerschmitt's Bf 110 also won the multi-purpose fighter contest.

On July 11, 1938, Messerschmitt was appointed chairman and managing director of Bayerische Flugzeugwerke and the company was renamed after him to Messerschmitt AG. This same year, the company began work on what would eventually become the Me 262, and of the Messerschmitt Me 210, planned as successor for the Bf 110. The Me 210 turned out to be plagued by massive development problems that were only solved by evolving the type into the Messerschmitt Me 410, and the resulting problems and delays again put the reputation of both Messerschmitt and his namesake company in jeopardy.
Following World War II, Messerschmitt was tried by a denazification court for using slave labor, and in 1948 was convicted of being a "fellow traveller". After two years in prison, he was released and resumed his position as head of his company. Since Germany was forbidden to manufacture aircraft until 1955, he turned his company to manufacturing prefabricated buildings, sewing machines, and small cars - most notably the Messerschmitt Kabinenroller. Exporting his talents, he designed the Hispano HA-200 jet trainer for Hispano Aviacion in Spain in 1952 before eventually being allowed to return to aircraft manufacturing in Germany to licence-produce the Fiat G91 and then Lockheed F-104 Starfighter for the West German Luftwaffe. He designed the later Helwan HA-300 supersonic interceptor.

Messerschmitt saw his company through mergers first with Bölkow in 1968 and then Hamburger Flugzeugbau in 1969, at which point it became MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, now part of EADS) with Messerschmitt as chairman until 1970 when he retired. He died eight years later in hospital in Munich.

Ernst Heinrich Heinkel 1888-1958

Ernst Heinkel was born in Grunbach and as a young man became an apprentice machinist at a foundry. He initially became interested in aviation through a fascination with zeppelins, and in 1909 attended an international airshow in Frankfurt am Main. The following year, he built his first aircraft, working from a set of plans by Henri Farman.Soon afterwards, he gained employment at Luft Verkehrs Gesellschaft (LVG) who were building Farman aircraft. From there, he went to Albatros, where Heinkel designed the Albatros B-II, a reconnaissance aircraft used during the early stages of the First World War. After leaving the Albatros, Heinkel designed several land- and seaplanes for the Hansa-Brandenburg company starting in 1914.

In 1921, Heinkel was appointed head designer of the recently re-established Caspar-Werke, but soon left after a dispute over ownership of a design. In 1922 he established the Heinkel-Flugzeugwerke company at Warnemünde. Due to the restrictions placed on German aircraft manufacturing by the Treaty of Versailles, Heinkel looked overseas for contracts, with some seaplane designs being licence-built in Sweden and working on catapult-launched seaplanes for the Imperial Japanese Navy which Heinkel had business links with Japan since 1922. Back in Germany, he installed a similar catapult on the ocean liner Bremen for launching mail planes.

After Adolf Hitler came to power, designs by Heinkel's firm formed a vital part of the Luftwaffe's growing strength in the years leading up to the Second World War. This included the Heinkel He 59, the Heinkel He 115 and the Heinkel He 111.

Heinkel was passionate about high-speed flight, and was keen on exploring alternative forms of aircraft propulsion. He donated aircraft to Wernher von Braun who was investigating rocket propulsion for aircraft, as well as sponsoring the research of Hans von Ohain into turbojet engines, leading to the flight of the Heinkel He 178, the first aircraft to fly solely under turbojet power by Erich Warsitz on August 27, 1939.

Heinkel had been a critic of Hitler's regime from the time that he had been forced to sack Jewish designers and staff in 1933. In 1942 the government "nationalised" the Heinkel works. In practice, this meant that Heinkel was detained until he sold his controlling interest in his factories to Hermann Göring. Heinkel moved to Vienna and started a new design bureau there, working on the Heinkel He 274 design until the war ended.

At the end of the war Heinkel was arrested by the Allies but evidence of anti-Hitler activities and his treatment by the regime led to his acquittal.

With Germany forbidden from manufacturing aircraft by the Allies, Heinkel used his company's facilities to build private transportation. In 1953 Heinkel began production of the Tourist scooter, followed by the Perle moped in 1954. In 1956 he introduced the Heinkel Kabine bubble car. Bubble car and moped production ceased shortly after the restriction on aircraft manufacture was lifted, but scooter production continued until 1965.

Claudius Dornier 1884 - 1969

Claude (Claudius) Honoré Desiré Dornier born in Kempten im Allgäu May 14 1884 was a German airplane builder and founder of Dornier GmbH. His legacy remains in the few aircraft named after him, including the Dornier Do 18 and the 12-engine Dornier Do X flying boat, for decades the world's largest and most powerful airplane.

The son of a French wine importer and his German wife, Claude Dornier was born in Bavaria where he grew up and attended school, with science being his chief interest. Dornier then moved to Munich, where he graduated in 1907 from the Technical University.

As a young engineer Dornier first worked on strength calculations at Nagel Engineering Works in Karlsruhe. In 1910, he joined Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in Friedrichshafen on the Bodensee, where his advanced abilities quickly attracted Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's attention. Soon appointed as the Count's personal scientific advisor, Dornier began fundamental research and design on improving the strength of light metal sections and later on aircraft engineering and giant metal flying boats.

Dornier is also recognised in the history of German aviation for his unique propeller design. His planes often featured double ended props on the front and the back of the planes in a push-pull configuration.

Robert Morane 1886-1968

Robert Morane

Maurice Alain Farman 1877-1964

Maurice Alain Farman was a French Grand Prix motor racing champion, an aviator, and an aircraft manufacturer and designer. Born in Paris to English parents, he and his brothers Richard and Henri Farman were important pioneers developers of aviation in Europe.

A champion tandem cyclist with brother Henri, Maurice Farman began racing Panhard automobiles and won the 1901 Pau Grand Prix, the first race ever to be called a Grand Prix. In May 1902 he won the "Circuit du Nord" race from Paris to Arras and back. He also competed in that year's Paris to Vienna race won by Marcel Renault. However, Farman's interest quickly turned to powered flight and in 1909 he set world's endurance and speed records. He soon began to manufacture airplanes and in 1912 merged his business with his brother's aircraft company to give the Farman Aviation Works

Maurice Farman died in Paris in 1964. To the end of his life Maurice never obtained a pilot's license.

Yves Gardan 1925-2009

Yves Gardan, born in 1925, was with the Military Academy of Autun from 1945 - 1947 and after having passed out began his aeronautical career as an engineer responsible for checking the calculations for aircraft design. It took only a year for him to show his worth to Société Industrielle For Aeronautics (SIPA) and to then conceive the Sipa 90, whose first flight took place on June 15 1947 in Villacoublay, piloted by Roger Launay. This aircraft won a contest organised by the Air Ministry in 1946 for a simple two-seater of 75 hp. 130 specimens of the SIPA 90 were delivered. An engineer of many bright ideas who worked enthusiastically he had fixed ideas of his own but was not given a free hand to create. He therefore left SIPA to find his independence.

Yves Gardan decided to set up on his own and with a friend Max Laporté created the "Construction Aeronautical of Béarn" (CAB). It produced 30 specimens of the "Minicab" a cutdown version of the earlier SIPA 90 and on 1st February 1949 had its maiden flight piloted by Max . In addition to the 30 factory made examples, there were more than 130 Minicabs made by amateurs. Gaining a high reputation very quickly and still today, the two-seater beat several world records for speed and distance. In 1952, the Minicab achieved a flight of 1080 Nm with one 65hp engine and an average of 99 kts, an enormous performance achievement at that time.

A neighbouring aviation company Turboméca, wanted to install a turbojet on one of his aircraft and this interested Yves Gardan. After studying the concept of a two-seater equipped with a jet turbine developing 160 kg of thrust that the project for the 200 Minijet was born. The French Army were very interested in this and asked him to turn over all development to SIPA and lead the team. So it was thatYves Gardan returned to SIPA with a clean sheet of paper to assemble an autonomous engineering and design department. This saw the S.200 "Minijet", the smallest two-seater in the world, produced to a very high specification powered by the Turbomeca turbine engines. Gardan very quickly realised, the two-seater Mini Jet showed surprising qualities in stunt-flying. Another two-seater version the SIPA 300 would follow but it remained a prototype.

On his return to CAB from SIPA, Yves continued to develop his projects relating to the development of civil light planes. Persuaded that this market would develop towards the general public, he developed a version of a design derived from the Minicab GY20 - called the Supercab GY30. Equipped with a Continental 90hp, and retractable undercarriage, it was possible to reach a cruising speed of 142 kts. Definitely much in demand, Yves turned the design over to SIPA where it developed the SIPA 1000 ladybird. Although an economic two-seater out of metal tube and cloth - due to an economic downturn the manufacture was to reach an abrupt end after 3 were made. It was the same for the twin-engine Sipa 1100 which also remained in a prototype state.

After this Yves Gardan went to work in Pau-Idron and developed a four-seater metal Aircraft with retractable undercarriage and combined flaps. With 3 engine types available, Lycoming 150, 160 or 180hp, a version with fixed pitch Sensenich Propeller, or with variable pitch Hartzell propeller and with full IFR equipment an option, the manufacturer did not know which of the GY 80 HORIZON's would be the most successful.

Piloted by Pierre Simon, the F-WJDU prototype manufactured on the aerodrome of Courbevoie left the ground for the first time on July 21, 1960 and quickly aroused a keen interest of the most significant French Aeronautical manufacturers. This prototype still flies and is now in Castellet. SUD AVIATION won the licence for production on July 10th 1962 and in the months which followed 260 examples left the factory. SUD AVIATION will become Aerospatiale, and quickly the internal competition with the Socata Rally prevents the Horizon from being produced en-mass for the market.

Because of the multiplicity of different versions of the Rallye and also the lack of will from SOCATA to evolve the GY80, Yves GARDAN decided to once again "fly the coup" and do more design work. Certified in 1971, the GY100 Bagheera was the first evolution of the Horizon. Equipped with fixed gear at a cheaper cost, the design arrived on the market at the moment of the oil crisis, and Yves Gardan gave up continuing any manufacture and it is left to SIPA under subcontract to make a few examples.

Yves Gardans wide knowledge and experience of aeronautics enabled him to conceive ideas for SEDAM and BERTIN the whole of the cockpit, the propeller as well as the engine cowlings of a hovercraft of 250 tons. Yves Gardan was brought in to study and manufacture tools for the Airbus, Mirage III and Mirage2000. This activity continues even now and his conception of tooling has widened to the automotive industry. In his head about thirty projects have never been further than the drawing board. His ideas and experiments in the field of hovercraft, could not compete with the rigour of aeronautical certifications. The publication of regulations for Ultra Lights in 1982 gives hope to him again for a two-seater ULM but will probably never be marketed, for lack of time since his activities of a subcontractor quickly become the single and principal activity of his workshop.

Raymond Saulnier 1881-1964

Raymond Saulnier

Henry Potez 1891-1981

Henry Potez was a French aircraft industrialist.

He studied in the french aeronautics school Supaéro. With Marcel Dassault, he was the inventor of the Potez-Bloch propeller which after 1917, have been set on most of all Allied planes of World War I.

In 1919, he founded his own company Aviations Potez that between the wars built many planes and seaplanes in factories at that time considered the most modern in the world. He bought the Alessandro Anzani company in 1923. Many Potez planes such as the Potez 25, 39, 54, ,62, 63 were an international success, with world records.

During twenty years, 7.000 planes left the production lines and with 40 prototypes designed, more than twenty passed to production, which was remarquable at that time.

In 1936, his factories, considered as strategic, were nationalised by the French Front populaire government.

After the second world war, the Potez engineering department designed the Magister, a two seat two engine trainer aircraft, which was a big success. Launched in 1952 and better known as Fouga Magister this aircraft was used by many air forces.

Louis Charles Breguet 1880-1955

Louis Charles Breguet was a French aircraft designer and builder, one of the early aviation pioneers.

In 1902, Louis married the daughter of painter Girardet, Nelly Henriette Julia Girardet, who owned a villa in Houlgate. Together they had five children and the couple later bought the villa Le Clos de Royan which Louis renamed Villa Bréguet. There he entertained people of the world of aviation.

In 1905, with his brother Jacques, and under the guidance of Charles Richet, he began work on a gyroplane (the forerunner of the helicopter) with flexible wings. It achieved the first ascent of a vertical-flight aircraft with a pilot in 1907. His first aircraft, which he built in 1909, set a speed record in 1911 for its 10 kilometre (6.2 mile) flight. Also that year, he founded the Société Anonyme des Ateliers d'Aviation Louis Breguet. In 1912, Breguet constructed his first hydroplane.

He is especially known for his development of reconnaissance aircraft used by the French in World War I and through the 1920s. One of the pioneers in the construction of metal aircraft, the Breguet 14 day bomber, perhaps the most famous French warplane of all time, was made almost entirely of aluminium. As well as the French, sixteen squadrons of the American Expeditionary Force also used it. A plane of this type has a major role in the plot of the 1927 thriller So Disdained by Neville Shute.

In 1919, he founded the Compagnie des Messageries Aeriennes, which evolved into Air France.

Over the years, his aircraft set several records. A Breguet plane made the first nonstop crossing of the South Atlantic in 1927. Another made a 4,500 mile (7,250 km) flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1933, the longest nonstop Atlantic flight up to that time.

He returned to his work on the gyroplane in 1935. Created with co-designer René Dorand, the craft, called the Gyroplane Laboratoire, flew by a combination of blade flapping and feathering. On December 22, 1935, it established a speed record of 67 mph (108 km/h). It was the first to demonstrate speed as well as good control characteristics. The next year, it set an altitude record of 517 feet (158 m).

Breguet remained an important manufacturer of aircraft during World War II and afterwards developed commercial transports. Breguet’s range equation, for determining aircraft range, is also named after him. He died of a heart attack in 1955 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

René Leduc 1898-1968

René Leduc was a French engineer who is much acclaimed for his work on ramjets. In 1949 he created the first aircraft to fly under the power of ramjets alone, the Leduc 0.10.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Nikolay Ilyich Kamov 1902-1973

Nikolay Ilyich Kamov was the leading constructor of the Soviet/Russian Kamov helicopter design bureau. He was born in 1902 in Irkutsk and died on November 24, 1973.

Georgy Mikhailovich Beriev 1903-1979

Georgy Mikhailovich Beriev was born on February 13, 1903 in Tiflis (Tbilisi).

In 1923 after graduating from Tiflis railway system college he entered Polytechnic Institute. In 1925 he transferred to Leningrad polytechnic institute, college of shipbuilding, aircraft department.In 1930 upon graduation from the Institute, he began working as designer in Design Bureau headed by French designer P.A. Richard.

In the end of 1930 he became the Deputy of Marine Team Chief of Menzhinsky Plant Central Design Bureau.In 1934 he was appointed as Chief Designer and Head of Central Design Bureau of Seaplanes Manufacturing (TsKBMS), and worked in this position till 1968.

The following seaplanes were designed under his guidance: MBR-2, MR-1, MR-1T, ship-based catapulted airplane KOR-1 and KOR-2, Be-6, jet flying boat Be-10, amphibious aircraft Be-12 (with modifications) and Be-12PS - serial; MDR-5, MBR-7, LL-143, Be-8, R-1, Be-14, Be-30 (Be-32) experimental passenger aircraft, experimental flying bomb P-10.

Georgy M. Beriev was a member of scientific-and-technical panels of the State Committee of Council of Ministers of aircraft engineering and State Committee of shipbuilding and scientific-and-technical panels of Navy aviation. Major-general of engineer-technical service (1951), Doctor of Science (1961), twice the laureate of State award (1947 - for designing Be-6; 1968 - for designing Be-12), was awarded with two Lenin Orders and two orders of Red Banner, and medals. The last years of his life he spent in Moscow and was engaged in scientific activities. He died on 12 July, 1979.

Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin 1894-1977

Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin was a Russian aircraft designer who founded the Ilyushin aircraft design bureau.

Born in Dilialevo, Russia, he became interested in aviation in 1910 and was qualified as a pilot in World War I. After obtaining a degree in engineering from the Air Force Academy in 1926, he started designing aircraft. His Ilyushin Il-2 strike aircraft and Ilyushin Il-4 bomber were used extensively in World War II. After the war, his commercial airliners, such as the Ilyushin Il-18 and Ilyushin Il-62, saw extensive use.

On his passing in 1977, he was interred in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow

Mikhail Leontyevich Mil 1909-1970

Mikhail Leontyevich Mil was a founder of the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, which is responsible for many of the well-known Russian helicopter models, notably the Mil Mi-24 'Hind'.

He was born to a middle-class Jewish family, his grandfather was a cantonist drafted from Libava (today Liepaja), Latvia who settled in Siberia after 25 years of military service.

At the age 12, Mikhail got a first prize for a model glider competition. In 1926 he entered the Siberian Technological Institute in Tomsk. Since there was no training for aircraft engineers there, in 1928 he transferred to the Aerodynamic department, at the Mechanical Faculty of the Don Polytechnical Institute in Novocherkassk. He married a fellow student, P.G. Rudenko, in 1932 and 4 daughters and a son followed.

His successful career at TsAGI began in 1931. He fought in the Great Patriotic War in 1941 near Yelnya, but in 1943, he was called back to continue research and development of military aviation. He completed his dissertations ("Candidate", 1943, Ph.D., 1945) and in 1947 headed the Helicopter Lab at TsAGI, which was later turned into the Moscow Helicopter Plant.

Mikhail Mil's creations won many domestic and international awards and set 69 world records. Most notably, the Mil Mi-4 won a Gold Medal in the Brussels International Exhibition in 1958. In 1971, after his death, his Mil Mi-12 won the Sikorsky Prize as the most powerful helicopter in the world.

Sergei Konstantinovich Tumansky 1901-1973

Sergei Konstantinovich Tumansky was a designer of Soviet aircraft engines and the chief designer in the Tumansky Design Bureau, OKB-300. He worked in TSIAM (1931-38 and in 1940), at the aircraft-engine plant N 29, in Leah.

He also worked as a substitute main designer in OKB A.A. of mil'kumova beginning in 1943.Sergei Tumansky was born in Minsk, then a part of the Russian Empire, on May 21, 1901 and died, at age 73, in Moscow, Russia, then a part of the Soviet Union, on September 9, 1973.

Tumansky was a specialist in the field of mechanics and machine building. He was a corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences for the department of mechanics and control processes from 26 June, 1964, and then academician for the department of mechanics and control processes (machine building) from 26 November, 1968.

Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi 1895-1975

Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi was a Belarusian Soviet aircraft constructor and designer.

Sukhoi was born in Glubokoye near Vitebsk, a small village in Belarus. He went to school from 1905 to 1914 at the Gomel Gymnasium. In 1915 he went to the Imperial Moscow Technical School (today known as BMSTU). After World War I broke out, he was drafted by the army; in 1920 he was demobilized because of health related problems and he went back to the BMSTU, graduating in 1925.

In 1925 he wrote his thesis named Chasseur Single-engined aircraft of 300 cv under the direction of Andrei Tupolev. In March 1925 he started working as an engineer/designer with TsAGI (The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute). During the following years, Sukhoi designed and constructed aircraft of world renown. Examples include the heavy bombers TB-1 and TB-3. In 1932 he was assigned head of engineering and design department in TsAGI and in 1938 he was promoted to head of the department of design.

In September 1939 Sukhoi founded an independent engineering and design department named Sukhoi Design Bureau (OKB Sukhoi). Located in Kharkov, Sukhoi was not satisfied with the geographical location of the OKB. The OKB was isolated from the scientific pole of Moscow and insisted that the OKB would relocate to the aerodome of Podmoskovye. The relocation was completed in the first half of 1940. In the winter of 1942 Sukhoi encountered another problem — since he had no production line of its own he had nothing to do. He had developed a new ground-attack plane, the Su-6, but Stalin decided that this plane should not be taken in production, in a favour of Ilyushin Il-2. The reasons for this were that, first: the production of the other planes would slow down and in time of war this was not good, and second, Stalin didn't seem to particularly like Sukhoi.

The aircraft-bombers developed under Sukhoi are the Su-17 and the Su-24. The last fighter Sukhoi designed was the T-10 (Su-27) but he did not live to see it fly. On December 25, 1975 the President of the Academy of Science of the Soviet Union posthumously decorated Sukhoi with the golden medal, in recognition of his deep scientific scholarship.

Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev 1906-1989

Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev was a Russian aeronautical engineer and airplane designer. He designed the Yakovlev military aircraft and founded the Yakovlev Design Bureau.

Yakovlev was a founder of Soviet aviation modeling, air gliding, and aviation sport. He built the AVF-10 glider in 1924 and ultralight aircraft AIR-1 in 1927. These were his very first aircraft used for sport and training.

He worked as a motor technician beginning in 1924, and then became a student of the Air Force Academy of RKKA (Red Army), named after Prof. N. E. Zhukovski (1927-1931). He was an engineer at an aviation plant in 1931, where his first design bureau of lightweight aviation was established in 1932. He became the main designer in 1935, then the chief designer (1956-1984) of aircraft for the Yakovlev Design Bureau.

He was a Vice-Minister of Aviation Industry between 1940-1946.

He was a correspondent-member of the USSR Academy of Science in 1943, and was awarded the Hero of Socialist Labor in both 1940 and 1957. In 1946 he was awarded the title "General-Colonel of Aviation". In 1976 he became academician of the USSR Academy of Science. Yakovlev retired August 21, 1984.

Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich 1893-1976

Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich was a Soviet aircraft designer, a partner (with Artem Mikoyan) of the famous MiG military aviation bureau.

Born to a family of a winery mechanic in a small township of Rubanshchina (Kursk region), in 1910 he graduated from gymnasium in Akhtyrka (Kharkov region) with the silver medal and entered the Mathematics department at Kharkov University. After a year, for participation in revolutionary activities, he was expelled from the University and from the region and continued his education in Montpellier University, and then specialized in aeronautical engineering in École Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, France.

In the summer 1914 Gurevich was visiting his home when World War I broke out. This and later the Russian Civil War interrupted his education. In 1925 he graduated from the Aviation faculty of Kharkov Technological Institute and worked as an engineer of the state company "Heat and Power".

In 1929 Gurevich moved to Moscow to pursue the career of aviation designer. In 1937 he headed a designer team in Polikarpov design bureau, and after 1939 was Vice Chief designer, after 1957 the Chief designer in Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau.

For his winning designs, Mikhail Gurevich won the State Stalin Prize (1941, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1953), the Lenin award (1962), and the title of Hero of Socialist Labor (1957).

Artem Ivanovich Mikoyan 1905-1970

Artem Ivanovich Mikoyan was a Soviet aircraft designer of Armenian descent. In partnership with Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich he designed many of the famous MiG military aircraft.Born in Sanahin, then in the Russian Armenia portion of the Russian Empire, now Lori, Armenia.[1] He completed his basic education and took a job as a machine-tool operator in Rostov, then worked in the "Dynamo" factory in Moscow before being conscripted into the military. After military service he joined the Zukovsky Air Force Academy, where he created his first plane, graduating in 1937. He worked with Polikarpov before being named head of a new aircraft design bureau in Moscow in December 1939. Together with Gurevich, Mikoyan formed the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau, producing a series of fighter aircraft. In March, 1942, the bureau was renamed OKB MiG (Osoboye Konstruktorskoye Büro), ANPK MiG (Aviatsionnyy nauchno-proizvodstvennyy kompleks) and OKO MiG. The MiG-1 proved to be a poor start, the MiG-3 was misused[clarification needed] and the MiG-5, MiG-7 and MiG-8 Utka were effectively research prototypes.Early post-war designs were based on domestic works as well as captured German jet fighters and information provided by Britain or the US. By 1946, Soviet designers were still having trouble in perfecting the German-designed, axial-flow jet engine, and new airframe designs and near-sonic wing designs were threatening to outstrip development of the jet engines needed to power them. Soviet aviation minister Mikhail Khrunichev and aircraft designer Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev suggested to Joseph Stalin that the USSR buy advanced jet engines from the British. Stalin is said to have replied: "What fool will sell us his secrets?" However, he gave his assent to the proposal, and Artem Mikoyan, engine designer Vladimir Klimov, and other officials traveled to the United Kingdom to request the engines. To Stalin's amazement, the British Labour government and its pro-Soviet Minister of Trade (Sir Stafford Cripps) were perfectly willing to provide technical information and even a licence to manufacture the Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow jet engine. This engine was reverse-engineered and produced in modified form as the Soviet Klimov VK-1 jet engine , later incorporated into the MiG-15 (Rolls-Royce later attempted to claim £207m in license fees, without success).

In the interim, on April 15 of 1947, Council of Ministers issued a decree #493-192, ordering the Mikoyan OKB to build two prototypes for a new jet fighter. As the decree called for first flights as soon as December of that same year, the designers at OKB-155 fell back on an earlier troublesome design, the MiG-9 of 1946. The MiG-9 suffered from an unreliable engine and control problems.

The I-270, a prototype based on German concepts, developed into the I-310 in the USSR and into F-86 Sabre in the States. With the Klimov version of the British Nene jet engine, this design became the MiG-15, which first flew on 31 December 1948. Despite its mixed origins this aircraft had excellent performance and formed the basis for a number of future fighters. The MiG-15 was originally intended to intercept American bombers like the B-29 Superfortress, and was even evaluated in mock air-to-air combat trials with interned ex-U.S. B-29 bombers as well as the later Soviet B-29 copy, the Tupolev Tu-4. A variety of MiG-15 variants were built, but the most common was the MiG-15UTI (NATO 'Midget') two-seat trainer. Over 18,000 MiG-15s were eventually manufactured.
From 1952 Mikoyan also designed missile systems to particularly suit his aircraft, such as the famous MiG-21. He continued to produce high performance fighters through the 1950s and 1960s.

He was twice awarded the highest civilian honour, the Hero of Socialist Labor and was a deputy in six Supreme Soviets. His elder brother Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan was a senior Soviet politician.

After Mikoyan's death, the name of the design bureau was changed from Mikoyan-Gurevich to simply Mikoyan. However, the designator remained MiG.

He was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow

Vladimir Mikhailovich Myasischev 1902-1978

Vladimir Mikhailovich Myasishchev was a Soviet aircraft designer, Major General of Engineering (1944), Hero of Socialist Labor (1957), Doctor of Technical Sciences(1959), Honored Science Worker of the RSFSR (1972).

After his graduation from Moscow State Technical University in 1926, Myasishchev worked at the Tupolev Design Bureau and took part in constructing airplanes, such as TB-1, TB-3, and Tupolev ANT-20 Maxim Gorky. In 1938, Myasishchev became a victim of a repression campaign. While in confinement, he worked at NKVD's Central Design Bureau No. 29 (ЦКБ-29 НКВД) in Moscow under the guidance of Vladimir Petlyakov, designing the Pe-2 bomber. In 1940, after his release, Myasishchev headed a design bureau (in the same building), working on the long-range high-altitude bomber DVB-102 (ДВБ-102). In 1946–1951, Myasishchev was the head of the faculty and later dean of the Department of Aircraft Design at Moscow Aviation Institute. In 1956, he became chief aircraft designer. In 1960–1967, Myasishchev was appointed Head of the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). In 1967–1978, Myasishchev held a post of the chief aircraft designer of the Experimental Machine Building Factory, which would bear his name starting 1981.

Myasishchev designed different kinds of military aircraft, including Pe-2B, Pe-2I, Pe-2M, DIS, DB-108, M-4, 3M, M-50). He also worked on a cargo aircraft VM-T Atlant and high‐altitude airplane M-17 Stratosfera. Myasishchev's aeroplanes, the 3M and M-4, set nineteen world records, and the M-17 "Stratosfera" twenty.

In 1957, Myasishchev received the Lenin Prize.

Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov 1906-1984

Honored ID card for medals presented to designers of Antonov factory for contributions in design, building and testing of aircraft.Signed by Chief-designer Oleg Antonov. This example is issued to Constantine Polyakov who made a great contribution to the development activities of AN24, AN22, AN14M and AN26.Antonov AN-12 prototype, signed by Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov

Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov was a Soviet aircraft designer, the founder of Antonov ASTC, a world-famous aircraft company in Ukraine, later named in his honour.Antonov was born on 7 February 1906 in a village near Moscow. His father was civil engineer Kostantyn Kostantynonych Antonov and his mother Hanna Yukhymivna Bykoryukina died when he was nine years old. The family first lived on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital that his father had helped build. In 1912, the Antonovs moved to Saratov, where he attended the local technical school. From an early age, Antonov was fascinated with aviation and spent much of his spare time at the local airport. He was there most of his life until he died in a car crash.At the age of 17, Antonov founded the "Amateur Aviation Club" and the "Organization of Friends of the Air Force." In the same year, he designed the OKA-1 "Pigeon", a glider that was entered in a competition in Moscow where he won the first prize, a flight on a Junkers 12 aircraft.[1]

In 1930, Antonov graduated from the Kalinin Polytechnical Institute in Leningrad. He continued to design gliders and in 1931, Antonov became the chief designer of the Moscow Glider Factory. During the next eight years, he designed 30 different gliders including the Standard-1, Standard-2, OKA-6 and the large "City of Lenin" glider. Due to a requirement that all pilots in the Soviet Union had to begin their flight training on gliders, Antonov was able to produce up to 8,000 gliders per year.

In 1938, due to an incident when an instructor defected to the West using a glider, the Soviet government reversed its decision regarding glider training, banned the sport of gliding and shut down the Moscow Glider Factory. Following the close of the glider factory, Antonov was hired as the Chief Designer for Yakovlev Aircraft. In 1940, a new company in his own name was created in Lenningrad.
During the war, Antonov designed the A-7 troop and supply glider used to supply partisans and the KT "Kryl'ja Tanka" or "Tank Wings" biplane glider that used used to ship tanks to the front line. In 1943 Antonov returned to Yakovlev’s design bureau to fill a vacancy as Yakovlev’s deputy. A great deal of his time and energy was devoted to the improvement of the Yak series, one of the most mass-produced fighter aircraft types of World War. After the war Antonov requested Yakovlev to let him work independently, heading Yakovlev’s subsidiary design office at the aircraft manufacturing factory at Novosibirsk. On 31 May 1946, Antonov was appointed head of the newly redesignated facility known as the Antonov Aircraft design bureau, later moved to Kiev, Ukraine. In September 1946, Antonov, in addition to his management of the design bureau, became the Director of the Siberian R and D Institute for Aeronautics.[1]

The first of the bureau's designs was the SH-1 agricultural aircraft, later redesignated An-2 designed to meet a 1947 Soviet requirement for a replacement for the Polikarpov Po-2 which was used in large numbers as both an agricultural aircraft and a utility aircraft. Antonov designed a large single bay biplane of all-metal construction, with an enclosed cockpit and a cabin with room for seats accommodating 12 passengers.

A series of significant transports followed including the world's largest production aircraft.

Antonov's aircraft (design office prefix An) ranged from the rugged An-2 biplane (which itself is comparatively large for a biplane) through the An-28 reconnaissance aircraft to the massive An-124 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya strategic airlifters (the latter being the world's heaviest aircraft with only one currently in service). The quad turboprop An-12 was primary Soviet military transport aircraft since 1959 (similar to the C-130 Hercules). While less famous, the An-24, An-26, An-30 and An-32 family of twin turboprop, high winged, passenger/cargo/troop transport aircraft are important for domestic/short-haul air services particularly in parts of the world once led by Communist or former Communist governments. The An-72/An-74 series of small jetliners is slowly replacing that fleet and a larger An-70 freighter is under certification.

Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev 1888-1972

Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev was born in the village of Pustomazovo, Russia. In 1909, he enrolled in the Moscow Higher Technical College and studied under Nikolai Egorovich Zhukovskii. He helped Zhukovskii organize the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) in 1918 and became the head of its design bureau in 1922. In 1934, his ANT-20 "Maxim Gorky" 8-engine aircraft took flight over Moscow; it was world's largest aircraft of the 1930s. In 1936, he visited the United States and Germany to learn American and German aircraft manufacturing techniques. In 1937, he was accused of selling state secrets to Germany and was given a 10-year sentence in 1940, but continued to design aircraft in Gulag labor camps. In 1944, he was released from prison, though not yet shedding the status as a criminal, in order to head up Russia's efforts to develop heavy bombers; to aid his efforts, he was given the rank of lieutenant general in the Russian Army. In this role, he successfully reverse engineered the American B-29 bomber design using three captured examples and developing the design into Russia's own nuclear weapon delivery vehicles (Tu-4). In 1955, he was finally declared rehabilitated. In 1956, his Tu-104 commercial jet airliners became the only passenger jets in service in the world, and would hold this title until late 1958. In 1968, the first Tu-144 aircraft became the first supersonic transport to take flight. Although Tupolev was undoubtedly a talented aircraft engineer, part of his success was attributed to his close rapport with Nikita Khruschev. This observation was reinforced by the loss of Tupolev influence after Khruschev left office in late 1964. He passed away in 1972 and was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Juan de la Cierva 1895-1936

Juan de la Cierva, born on September 21, 1895, in Murcia, Spain, was an aeronautical engineer who invented the autogiro, an aircraft that combined the capabilities of a conventional airplane and the helicopter.

He was interested in flight as a teenager and experimented with gliders with his friends. After receiving his engineering degree, in 1918 he built the first trimotor airplane. Its crash in 1919 after a stall convinced him that aviation safety called for stall-proof aircraft that could make steep takeoffs and landings at slow speeds. He decided that only the wing and not the body should be used to maintain lift. He began experimenting with rotating-wing aircraft in 1920 and developed the autogiro as a more stable form of aircraft. His first attempts with rigid rotors were unsuccessful. He then applied the idea of mounting the blades to the hub of the rotor on hinges so they could flap. This would equalize lift on advancing and retreating sides of the rotor while in forward flight.

His first successful flight with the autogiro took place on January 9 1923. The craft was equipped with a conventional propeller for forward flight and an articulated, or hinged, air-powered rotor blade that could be adjusted to balance lift. This technical breakthrough was necessary for the successful development of the helicopter, which ironically, replaced the autogiro around the time of World War II.

Cierva moved to England in 1925. His aircraft were further developed by the Cierva Autogiro Company of Great Britain, as well as by U.S. and various continental companies. They were used widely in France, Germany, Japan, and the United States until World War II, when the helicopter replaced them. Cierva died in an airplane crash on December 19, 1936, near London.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Robert McIntyre 1900-1987

Born in Port Glasgow in 1900, the family moved to Port Chalmers, in New Zealand a few years later where he attended Otago Boys High School along with his brothers. Towards the end of the First World War, the family returned to Scotland and took up residence in Prestwick. Bob, and his younger brother, Alan, were indentured as Marine Draughtsman at the Irvine Shipyard. It was during the time in Prestwick that Bob became interested in Aircraft - the Royal Flying Corps were using the old Ayr Race Course as a flying field and a Sopwith Camel force landed on the gold course near their Prestwick home. Later Bob moved with the family to Larne in Northern Ireland were he worked at the Olderfleet Shipyard.
In the 1920's Short Brothers of Rochester, Kent, had moved into the building a series of military and civil flying boats and bob moved to Rochester and worked on the design of the Singapore Flying Boat. A few years later Bob moved to Hawker Aircraft at Kingston and contributed to such famous names as the Fury and the Hind. In the early 1930's he was the Chief Draughtsman of the Project Design Office and working on the prototype Hurricane fighter. When Sydney Camm, later Sir Sydney, the Chief Designer was taken seriously ill, Bob found himself in charge of the project. Whiles working on the developments of the Hurricane, he was also involved with the prototypes of the Typhoon and Tempest fighters.

In 1942 Bob was suddenly 'invited' to become Chief Designer at Scottish Aviation. An empty house was commandeered under the emergency powers for him and his family and he was amazed to find it was only two hundred yards from the old family house on Monkton Road where he had lived as a teenager. In 1943 Bob found himself flying to America as part of the British
Commission negotiating for the supply of bombers and fighters for the RAF. Scottish Aviation was to play a vital role in ensuring that the American aircraft would be modified to the requirements of the RAF.

At the end of the war, Scottish Aviation seized upon the opportunity to convert ex-military aircraft for civil use. The contacts Bob had made in America proved vital in quickly securing the necessary drawings and approval of the American manufacturers to the proposed modification and changes. Under his guidance the design staff at Prestwick modified aircraft such as the Dakota.

Bob always made it clear that the success of the Prestwick Pioneer and the Twin Pioneer was the result of team work by the entire design team and everyone else at Scottish Aviation. He always played down his own part as the leader of the team.

In 1956 the Royal Aeronautical Society honoured Bob's contribution to aeronautics and made him an Honorary Fellow.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Proffesor R.V Jones CH CB CBE FRS 1911-1997

Reginald Victor Jones, CH CB CBE FRS was an English physicist and scientific military intelligence expert who played an important role in the defence of Britain in World War II.
Born in Herne Hill, Jones was educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich and Wadham College, Oxford where he studied Natural Sciences. In 1932 he graduated with First Class honours in physics and then, working in the Clarendon Laboratory, completed his DPhil in 1934. Subsequently he took up a Senior Studentship in Astronomy at Balliol College, Oxford.

In 1936 Jones took up the post at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, a part of the Air Ministry. Here he worked on the problems associated with defending Britain from an air attack.
In September 1939, the British decided to assign a scientist to the Intelligence section of the Air Ministry. No scientist had previously worked for an intelligence service so this was unusual at the time. Jones was chosen and quickly rose to become Assistant Director of Intelligence (Science) there. During the course of the Second World War he was closely involved with the scientific assessment of enemy technology, and the development of offensive and counter-measures technology. He solved a number of tough Scientific and Technical Intelligence problems during World War II and is generally known today as the "father of S&T Intelligence".

He was briefly based at Bletchley Park in September 1939, but returned to London in November. He decided that the Oslo report received in 1939 was genuine, though the three Service Ministries regarded it as a "plant" and discarded their copies: "... in the few dull moments of the War, I used to look up the Oslo report to see what should be coming along next
Jones's first job was to study "new German weapons" which were believed to be under development. The first of these was a blind bombing system which the Germans called Knickebein. Knickebein, as Jones soon determined, used a pair of radio beams which were about one mile (1.6 km) wide at their point of intersection. German bombers flew along one beam, and when their radio receivers indicated that they were at the intersection with the second beam, they released their bombs.

At Jones's urging, Winston Churchill ordered up an RAF search aircraft on the night of 21 June 1940, and the aircraft found the Knickebein radio signals in the frequency range which Jones had predicted. With this knowledge, the British were able to build jammers whose effect was to "bend" the Knickebein beams so that German bombers for months to come scattered their bomb loads over the British countryside. Thus began the famous "Battle of the Beams" which lasted throughout much of World War II, with the Germans developing new radio navigation systems and the British developing countermeasures to them.
As far back as 1937, R. V. Jones had suggested that a piece of metal foil falling through the air might create radar echoes. He, and Joan Curran, were later instrumental in the deployment of "Window"; strips of metal foil dropped in bundles from aircraft which then appeared on enemy radar screens as "false bombers". This technology is now known as chaff and contrary to the popular belief, was also known to the Germans at the time. Both parties were reluctant to use it out of fear that their enemy would do the same: this delayed its deployment for almost two years.

Jones also served as a V-2 rocket expert on the Cabinet Defence Committee (Operations) and headed a German long range weapons targeting deception under the Double Cross System.
n 1946 Jones was appointed to the Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, which he held until his retirement in 1981. He did not want to stay in Intelligence under the proposed postwar reorganisation. During his time at Aberdeen, much of his attention was devoted to improving the sensitivity of scientific instruments such as seismometers, capacitance micrometers, microbarographs, and optical levers.

Jones was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1942, for the planning of a raid on Bruneval to capture German radar equipment (Churchill had proposed that Jones should be appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) but the head of the Civil Service Sir Horace Wilson threatened to resign as Jones was only a lowly Scientific Officer, and the CBE was a compromise[2])[3][4]; he was subsequently appointed CB in 1946;[5] and Companion of Honour (CH) in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours.[6] He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1965, and received an honorary DSc from the University of Aberdeen in 1996.

His autobiography, Most Secret War: British Scientific Intellige nce 1939-1945, formed the basis, pre-publication, of the BBC One TV documentary series "The Secret War", first aired on 5 January 1977, in which Jones was the principal interviewee.In 1993 he was the first recipient of the R. V. Jones Intelligence Award, which the CIA created in his honour

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Walter Herschel Beech 1891-1950

Walter Herschel Beech began an illustrious career in aviation with a solo flight on July 11, 1914, in a Curtiss pusher. A rated Army aviator and flight instructor in 1917, he barnstormed after his enlistment ended in 1920, finally joining the Swallow Company in 1923, where he quickly rose from designer, salesman, and test pilot to general manager. In 1924 he co-founded Travel Air with Clyde Cessna , which would become the world's largest producer of both monoplane and biplane commercial aircraft, internationally acclaimed for establishing more than 200 performance records. With the merger of Travel Air and Curtiss-Wright, Beech became president of the new corporation.

However, he desired a more personal participation in aircraft design and manufacture and so co-founded Beech Aircraft Company with his wife, Olive Ann, on April 1, 1932. His early Beechcrafts set many distance and speed records, and won the Bendix and McFadden races. Most novel among these, with design and performance features years ahead of its time, was the Model 17 "Staggerwing" cabin biplane.

During World War II, Beech turned the entire production of his company to defense, producing more than 7,400 military aircraft. His AT-71/C-45 trained more than 90 percent of the USAAF navigator and bombardiers and 50 percent of its multi-engine pilots.
In the postwar years Beech again applied his efforts to producing a new line of light aircraft, the most famous of which was the V-tailed Bonanza

Lawrence 'Larry' Dale Bell 1895-1956

Lawrence Dale Bell was first involved in aviation in 1913 when he worked as a mechanic for two exhibition pilots: his brother, Grover Bell, and Lincoln Beachey. Employed by Glenn Martin in late 1913 as a factory worker, and in mid-1914 he had produced his first aircraft during his off-hours, a Martin tractor converted into a bomber for sale to Mexican rebel Panco Villa. This so impressed Martin that Bell was made superintendent of the new factory.

Bell left Martin in the late '20s to join Consolidated, becoming their Vice-President and General Manager in 1929. When the company was moved to San Diego, he elected to remain in Buffalo and, with several others from Consolidated, to form the Bell Aircraft Co in 1935. Initial work came as subcontracts from other manufacturers, but as Bell's ideas focused more on research and development, the company came into its own. His concept of the Airacuda as a multiplace, cannon-bearing, long-range fighter was quite novel for the time, and was followed by the P-39 Airacobra as a full production plane, for which the company expanded to meet wartime contracts in the US and abroad.

For years Bell had been interested in rotary-wing aircraft, and in 1944 met Arthur M Young, who had devoted many years to helicopter research. Bell set him up in a shop and spent many hours with him developing plans, from which the successful line of Bell helicopters came. And when Bell Company was invited to submit a proposal for a plane to attack the sound barrier, he told his engineers to "throw away the book" and start fresh—in such an experiment he insisted that no prior aircraft design ideas or practices should be allowed to hamper creative imagination. The resulting X-1, the USAF's first rocket-propelled flight research vehicle for NASA, was first to exceed the speed of sound.

Clyde Cessna 1879-1954

At age 31, after witnessing an aerial exhibition in Kansas that sparked his interest in aircraft, Clyde Vernon Cessna began his lifelong dedication to aviation. He designed and built his own aircraft and taught himself to fly. Those qualities of courage and self-reliance not only made him successful in aviation, but also served to inspire his associates throughout the industry.

Following World War I, the widespread interest in private flying induced him, in 1925 to found, with Walter Beech, the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichita KS. With Cessna as its president, the company became one of the leading U S aircraft manufacturers, and his advanced design concepts produced a line of internationally famous aircraft that established many speed and distance records.

In 1927, he formed the Cessna Aircraft Company, and in the decade of the 1930s produced racing and sports aircraft that set traditions of safety, performance, and economy which are still the standards of safety for aviation. His aircraft introduced the pleasures of private flying to many thousands of pilots throughout the world. Cessna returned to his farm to spend his later years in Rago KS.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Paul F Cullerne 1918-2005 (Aviation Photographer)

Paul Cullerne left the Air Force in 1946 as a Sergeant Photographer and spent part of his War service at RAF Nassau. On leaving the Air Force, he took up photographic work for Messrs A V Roe and Company Ltd then HSA and BAe, retiring in the early '80s.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Charles Sims (Aviation Photographer) 1901-1983

Charles Sims was photographer of the 'Aeroplane' magazine. Having been everywhere in the British industry throughout the 1930s, Sims knew it wasn't luck that when war came, all those Hurricanes and Spitfires and Merlins and radar and everything behind them were in place. He knew the people who strove for all that, in industry and in government, while Hitler saw Britain as Oxford Union pacifists,Mosleyites, and wet politicians with monocles.Sims saw the RAF having to fight its own wets too,including the air marshal whom he heard say, at a Hurricane press presentation at Brooklands in about 1936: "Monoplanes will never be able to dogfight."

Charles E. Brown (Aviation Photographer) 1896-1982

It was in 1911 that an enterprising fifteen year-old camera enthusiast in Southfields, South London, saw an Edwardian gentleman balloonist in trouble.Instead of gaping open mouthed, he primed his simple camera, chose his moment, made an exposure and rushed with his glass plate to the offices of the Daily Mirror, one of the few newspapers of the day that use photographs on a regular basis.

For his trouble, he received the princely sum of half a guinea (55p). The young lad who was, by 1914, to embrace press photography with panache and good taste, was Charles E. Brown. He was destined to become one of the century’s finest air-to-air photographers. In his time, he set standards to which every other aerial photographer aspired and was held in awe by RAF photographers whose training, thorough as it was, did not include aesthetic ideas and artistic flair.

The route to fame
Photography for the press was, from its earliest days, often a proving ground for a wider creative canvas. So it proved for Charles Brown, because in 1921 he became a freelance. In 1924, he was commissioned by the newly created Southern Railway to produce a picture series that covered every aspect of the company’s operations. In the same year, he took one of the most enduring poster pictures of the century.

Until that time, railway holiday posters were the domain of the poster artist. Brown changed all that with his endearing image of a little boy clutching a suitcase looking up at the driver of a massive steam engine. The caption read, “I’m taking an early holiday ‘cos I know summer comes soonest in the south”.It was used unchanged from 1924 until the outbreak of the WWII. Later, he found a new challenge amongst the clouds.

Air-to-air artistry
Photography from the open cockpit of string and canvas biplanes had been practised by RFC photo-reconnaissance photographers like the late, great Haywood Magee during the first world-war.

Magee became an illustrious photographic journalist whilst Brown, a successful freelance, had turned his back on Fleet Street. Accepting commissions from aircraft manufacturers like Supermarine, De Havilland and Fairey Aviation to help market their new models, there was only one place for him to be - airborne. Soon, the Royal Air Force public relations department gave him many commissions, realised the potential of dramatic air-to-air photography for recruitment and other publicity purposes. It was an association that was to continue until his death at the age of eighty-six.

Throughout the 1930’s his reputation as an air-to-air photographer grew and with the outbreak of WWII, his workload increased. He was hired, not only by the Air Ministry, but the Admiralty and War Office as well.
It was then that he started using colour. In 1942, the US magazine, ‘Flying’, commissioned a picture series on the RAF. Colour film was in such short supply in the UK
, that the editor sent 100 sheets of 5”x4” Kodachrome sheet film to enable him to complete the job.

Post-war, his association with the RAF continued, gathering professional accolades on the way. Still fiercely independent, he worked, with three assistants from a converted house in Worcester Park, South London
An Honorary Fellow of the RPS, he retired in 1965 when, in an unprecedented gesture, the Air Ministry allocated him an RAF retirement home at Storrington, Sussex. The RAF Museum at Hendon had bought his entire collection of negatives and prints. The museum, in association with Airlife Publications Limited has published three volumes of his incomparable pictures, appropriately named, ‘Camera Above the Clouds’. They make a magnificent epitaph to a 20th Century Great.