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Igor Sikorsky

(1889 – 1957)
Igor Sikorsky

Soviet aviator and scholar, member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, invented the swash plate for helicopters.

Igor Sikorsky was born in May 1889 in Kiev.

From 1903 to 1906 he studied at the St Petersburg Maritime Institute, and the following year enrolled in Kiev Polytechnic.

He built the first non-piloted coaxial helicopter without a swash plate over the years 1908-1911 and in 1911 received his pilot’s diploma.

Over the period 1912-1914, Sikorsky built several multi-engine aircraft: the Grand and the four-engine Ilya Muromets.

Sikorsky emigrated to the United States in 1919, initially making a living by teaching mathematics. By 1923, Sikorsky had established the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation.

It was in 1939 that Sikorsky started work on single-rotor helicopters with swash plates which later won global recognition.

On 14 September 1939, the experimental Vought Sikorsky 300 helicopter made its first flight.

In 1967, an S-61 helicopter made a successful trans-Atlantic crossing, and in 1979 the S-65 traversed the Pacific. In both cases the helicopters refuelled in the air.

Sikorsky’s last creation before retiring was the S-58 helicopter. In total. Over the period 1954-1970, 1,821 were made.