Igor I. Sikorsky
Born May 25 1889 - Died Oct 26 1972
Direct-Lift Aircraft; Helicopter and Controls Therefor
Patent Number(s) 2,318,259; 2,318,260
Igor I. Sikorsky designed the world's first successful multimotor airplane and the world's first true production helicopter. From 1925 to 1940 he created a series of increasingly successful aircraft which gained for America numerous world records for speed, range and payload. The famed Sikorsky flying 'Clippers' helped pioneer trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific commercial passenger services.
Despite the success of the flying boats, Sikorsky continued studying the helicopter. His U.S. Patent 1,994,488, filed June 27, 1931, marked the crucial breakthrough. In late 1938, United Aircraft management (now United Technologies) approved his experimental helicopter, and on September 14, 1939, the VS-300 made its first flight. In January 1941 the U.S. Army Air Corps issued a contract for an observation helicopter designated the XR-4. The new aircraft flew one year later.
Within months of the delivery of the first units, the R-4 established the helicopter's humanitarian tradition of life-saving missions in military and civil emergencies.
His single-rotor design, a major breakthrough in helicopter technology, remains the dominant configuration today.
Born in Kiev, Ukraine (then part of Russia), Sikorsky was greatly influenced in contemporary science by his mother, a doctor, and his father, a psychology professor. While still a schoolboy he built several model aircraft and helicopters.
After education in Kiev and Paris, Sikorsky first achieved international recognition in 1913 when he designed and flew the first multimotor airplane. After the Russian Revolution he emigrated to the United States and reestablished himself as an aircraft designer. Sikorsky received many other patents, including patents for helicopter control and stability systems.