General Information
Type G-61
Function Paratroop carrier
Year 1936
Crew 2
Type M-17B
Power (hp) 500/680
Length 10.56m
Wingspan 15.5/12.6m
Wing area 50.2m2
Weights and loads
Empty ?kg
Loaded 3800kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 75.7
Power load (kg/hp) 7.6
Maximum 201km/h
Cruise 130km/h
Landing ?km/h
Landing ?m ?sec
Takeoff 400m 30sec
Practical ?km
Ceiling 2800m
1000m ?min
Fuel ?kg
'Seats' 15
Volume 4.3m3

G-61 conversion of the R-5, designed by P.I.Grokhovskij

50k b/w 'Object 61' by P.I.Grokhovskij, "Bridge across the time" by Igor Choutko

Object 61 was a paratroop carrying modification of the N.N.Polikarpov R-5 biplane. Light plywood boxes were installed under the aircraft lower wing, providing room for 14 combat ready paratroopers (fifteenth paratrooper was seated in navigators' cockpit). Effectively, the lower wing was converted in very thick one - new leading edge was formed by full-span transparent plexiglas fairing reinforced with plywood ribs. Construction was very light - 200kg only. Of course, entire structure of the aircraft was reinforced.

Yakov Alksnis and N.N.Polikarpov openly expressed their scepticism. At the time P.I.Grokhovskij already had a reputation of 'lucky' designer, and permission to fly G-61 was granted. But test-pilots refused to takeoff on 'spoiled' aircraft - three test-pilots in a row!

19k b/w G-61 Russian Aviation Page

On December 8, 1936 G-61 was flown by P.I.Grokhovskij himself. Aircraft had to be loaded by sandbag weight equivalents (dubbed by team Ivan Peskov, Ivan Son of Sand). When Alksnis and N.N.Polikarpov arrived to supervise the trials, G-61 was loaded and underwing boxes were covered with fairings.

Despite slow start, experimental machine took off and successfully performed first low altitude flight. But real shock came after G-61 landed and engine was stopped. The fairings were open, and 14 young members of P.I.Grokhovskij design team came out. Official explanation was that sand bags were not delivered in time for trials, and people volunteered to fly instead of the sand equivalent. Actually 'missing sand' was an excuse - real reason was confidence in safety of construction and pilot's skills of P.I.Grokhovskij.

Poor quality of available photos frequently lead to the transparent leading edge misidentified as 'additional lift surface'. As a result, designers appear to be a sort of sadists. Nowarra and Duval, impressed by winter conditions, even included following sentiment:"... if it did [fly], the comments of unfortunate soldiery should have been worthy of note!" In reality, paratroopers were housed better than pilot and navigator/gunner in their open cockpits.


  • "Bridge across the time" by Igor Choutko p.p.267,268
  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.1 p.p.522;
  • "Russian Civil and Military aircraft 1884~1969" by Heinz J.Nowarra and G.R.Duval, pp.76-78
  • Links
  • People Pods: Early Soviet Experiments

  • Created August 17, 2000 Back to
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