Igor Ivan Sikorsky
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Sikorsky, Igor Ivan
Born May 25, 1889, in Kiev; died Oct. 26, 1972, in Easton, Conn. Airplane designer; one of the pioneers in aircraft construction.
Sikorsky studied at the St. Petersburg Naval School from 1903 to 1906 and then enrolled at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute in 1907. Between 1908 and 1911 he constructed two helicopters, which did not fly. His first airplane, the model S-2, was flown in 1910. In 1911 he was certified as a pilot. Between 1912 and 1914 he constructed several airplanes—the Grand, the Russkii Vitiaz’, and the Il’ia Muromets—which marked the beginning of multiengine aviation.
In 1919, Sikorsky emigrated to the USA, where in 1923 he founded an aviation firm. By 1939 he had designed approximately 15 types of airplanes. In 1939, Sikorsky shifted to the design of single-rotor helicopters, a format that became widespread. The models S-51, S-55, S-56, S-61, S-64, and S-65 were recognized as his most successful designs. Sikorsky was the pioneer in the construction of turbine helicopters, amphibious helicopters with retractable landing gear, and flying cranes. In 1967 the S-61 Sikorsky helicopter was the first helicopter to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. The first trans-Pacific helicopter flight (with midair refueling) was made in a model S-65 Sikorsky helicopter in 1970.