Technical data
Function technology demonstration
Year 1913
Crew 3
Engines 2*100hp Argus 4*100hp Argus
in 2 tandems
4*100hp Argus
along the wing
Wing Span 27m/20m
Length 20m
Wing Area 120m2
Empty Weight 3000kg 3400kg 3500kg
Flying Weight 3400 4000 4200
Max. Speed 80km/h 90km/h 90km/h
Landing Speed 65km/h 70km/h 70km/h
Ceiling 100m 500m 600m
Range 150km 170km 170km
Duration 2h
Take off run 650m 400m 350m
Landing Roll 150m 200m 200m

Bolshoj Baltijskij, Russkij Vitjaz, Le Grand I.I.Sikorsky

44k and 80k. Courtesy of Carl J. Bobrow and the National Air and Space Museum;

Huge wooden biplane. The 'Russkij Vitjaz' (The Russian Knight) was the world first four-engine aircraft. First flown 26 May 1913, it was a strong answer to fanatic supporters of 'light-only' aviation. Aircraft was re-designed few times during 1913. The most critical changes included move from 2 to 4 engines and later positioning of engines along the wing instead traditional tandem scheme. Increase of engine-induced drag was overpowered by increase of propeller efficiency.

Some foreign papers called reports about Grand "the Petersburg Duck", but giant plane was flying during the summer 1913 without a single broke. Plane proved to be flyable with any two of four engines shot down, demonstrating strong reliability of the multi-engine scheme.

Emperor Nicholas personally inspected the Grand, and gave Igor I.Sikorsky a timepiece.

Major shortcoming of the Grand was its inability to attain high altitude. The end of the aircraft in September 1913, I guess, is a unique one. Indeed, was any other aircraft in the world hit by engine broke loose from a passing airplane? At the time I.I.Sikorsky was already working on the next generation heavy aircraft "Ilya Mourometz", and it was decided not to restore the Grand.

  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.1 p.97-101;

  • Links:
  • "Russki Vitjaz" at Virtual Aircraft Museum

  • Modified August 14, 1997 Back to
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