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Aero Engineer Inventor
Born Kiev, Russia
May 25, 1889October 26, 1972
Igor Ivan Sikorsky pioneered early Russian aviation while barely out of his teens and had the longest continuous aeronautical career in history-more than 60 years. Among his early achievements was the world's first four-engined airplane in 1913, the precursor to the most successful bomber of World War I.
Immigrating to the United States in 1919, he founded the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation, the forerunner of the present helicopter manufacturing giant, the Sikorsky Division of United Technologies. In the 1930's, Sikorsky designed and manufactured a series of successful large passenger carrying flying boats that pioneered the transocean commercial air routes in the Caribbean and Pacific.
In 1909, in Russia, he had unsuccessfully experimented with rotary-wing aircraft, and his first models failed only for want of a lightweight engine of sufficient power. He nurtured the dream, however, and on September 14, 1939, produced his first practical helicopter, the VS-300. A later model in 1943, the R-4, became the world's first production rotary-wing craft. This led to highly successful helicopters widely used by all U.S. military services, more than 50 foreign countries, and most of the world's scheduled helicopter airlines.
The recipient of a great many honors in his lifetime, he has received the National Medal for Science and the Wright Brother's Memorial Trophy. Few advancements in aeronautical science have had such impact on mankind as his invention of the helicopter.
Invested 1966 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame
From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984
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