General Information
Type SM-1
Function Experimental
Year 1961
Crew 3 - 4
Powerplant (1)
Type TS-121
Thrust (kg) 900 or 1200?
Size (m)
Length 20.0
Height 3.15
Wing span (front) 4.6
Wing span (rear) 3.8
Wing area 27.0m2
Weights (kg) and loads
Empty ?
Loaded 2830
Wing Load (kg/m2) 105
Trust -to- Weight 0.32
Waves (m) 0.5
Speed (km/h)
Takeoff 170
Maximum 200
Roll (m)
Landing ?
Takeoff ?
Practical ?km
Ceiling (m)
Cruising 0.5
Fuel kg

SM-1 by R.E.Alekseev

Photo from A.Belyaev archives

The SM-1 is the first full scale WIG vehicle of this design bureau after a lot of model tests. R.E.Alekseev team designed and built special catapults for unpowered airdynamic prototypes, which were launched over water or ground surfaces. High speed filming of those prototypes behaviour provided sufficient data to chose the layout of the first manned craft.

SM-1 was a three seater (with room for fourth crew member) based on a tandem concept. The span of the rear tapered wing was smaller than that of the front (straight) wing. The experimental vehicle was powered with a single turbojet, installed above the fuselage (or is it a hull?) without cowling. It made its first flight on 22 July 1961.

Photo from A.Belyaev archives

In addition to important trial results, SM-1 helped it's designers in a PR campaign. R.E.Alekseev arranged a ride for D.Ustinov (than - Deputy Prime Minister, chairman of military-industrial commetee, later - Defence Minister of the USSR). High support was gained.

The first Alekseev's WIG vehicle was not very successful. For takeoff, it relied entirely on the dynamic air cushion and wing lift. Take-off speed turned to be extremely high... In addition, both wings were located close to the surface. This resulted in very rough handling, aircraft reaction to controls changed abruptly with altitude. Flight envelope was very narrow, turn radius was way too large.

The solution was found in the form of high-placed T-tail. Wide-span stabilizer is not affected by the surface, makes flight smooth and allows (relatively) steep banking. SM-1's twin (SM-2) was rebuilt after hangar fire according to this new scheme.

SM-1 crashed during trials in January 1962.

None SM-2
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