14 May, 2012.
Robert Ludovigovitch Bartini (1897-1974)
R. L. Bartini (Oros di Oroji) was born on May 14th 1897. He spent his early days in the family of rich state official in the town of Fiume. Besides excellent family education, in 1915 he graduated from gymnasium, was drafted and sent to school of officers' reserve located in the town of Bystritsa (in Czechoslovakia). Upon graduation in 1916, Bartini was sent to Russian-Austrian-Hungarian front where he was captured in June 1916. In Russian prisoner of war camps located under Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, Bartinini spent 3 years and 8 months. In February 1920, he was repatriated to town of Fiume (by then belonging to Italy). When working at Izotta-Fraskini facilities, in 1922 he graduated from Milan polytechnic institute. In the same year he graduated from pilot school in Rome. In 1921, he became the member of Communist party of Italy and being persecuted by authorities, in 1923 was sent to the USSR to help young republic in the sphere of aviation that he considered his main profession. From 1923 to 1925 he served in the Red army as an engineer and the head of department at scientific and test aerodrome (now Chkalovsky). Then he was transferred to Sebastopol and appointed the chief engineer of the Black Sea aviation holding generalship. In 1929 he participated in organization of ANT-4 "Soviet Country" aircraft flight to America, servicing sea segment of the route and was awarded with diploma. When becoming well known in aviation circles, at the end of 1929 he made a report in Central Research and Development Institute of Aviation Industry of Russia (TSAGI) regarding three weight categories of hydroplanes that he considered Navy forces required. According to proposal of TSAGI and Air Forces authorities, the Government decided to give him opportunity to develop his aircraft. Bartini returned to Moscow and worked as Chief designer of his projects in seaplane design bureaus at facilities No 22 and 39 until the August 1930. He was dismissed from the design bureau for critical letter wrote to Stalin, but Air Forces authorities organized small design bureau for him at facility No 22. At this facility, experimental "Stal-6" aircraft was developed during three years. The structure of this aircraft permitted to reach an abrupt change in speed for 100 km/h, from 320 to 420 km/h, while during the previous five years speed increased only by 30 km/h. Before 1938, Bartini designed Stal-6 aircraft, DAR arctic surveillance aircraft and "Stal-7" passenger aircraft that were notable for out of the ordinary concept and deep scientific approach in design solutions. Many of his designs supporting progress of aviation were incorporated in the other aircraft and even developed again many years later.
Examples of Bartini's inventive solutions are the following:
1) "Stal-6" aircraft: monoplane configuration for fighter; full retraction of bicycle landing gear with wheel well door sealing; closed cockpit; transmission gear in elevator control linkage; engine evaporative cooling system with coolers-wing tips.
2) "Stal-7": original aerodynamic configuration of the wing allowing creation of the "pocket" to increase wing in ground effect during landing and protect the wing from damage during landing with landing gear not extended; one-of-a kind technology for manufacturing airframe from steel and number of solutions allowing to achieve record load ratio of 56.6% and flight characteristics on the ordinary aircraft in 1936. All these ideas were then realized in one of the Russian long-range bombers Er-2;
3) original structure of DAR aircraft bottom (1936) allowing to operate the aircraft on water, snow, ice and ground, providing exit from glade to the ice (and back), new Bartini's wing airfoils, unexpected effect of thrust increment with definite engine nacelle shape (Bartini's effect).
In January 1938, Bartini was taken into custody but he had the opportunity to work there and took part in modifications of "Stal-7" aircraft into DB-240 and Er-2 aircraft.
The main concern for Bartinini in the custody in Moscow and Omsk during the period from 1940 to 1943 was faster-than-sound aircraft. The project of his first P-114 interceptor with swept wing was not realized. Then he designed the project of T-117 transportation aircraft capable to transport tanks. This project was unthinkable for that period of time and was approved by Stalin. Detailed designing and construction of this aircraft had taken place in Taganrog where Bartini created small design bureau. Almost 80% of T-117 aircraft was built but because of engines deficiency the project was laid off. T-117 aircraft drawings were sent to Antonov's company organized in Kiev. Many of Bartini's designs were later used on An aircraft.
In Taganrog, Bartini designed the projects of T-200 and T-210 heavy transportation aircraft with combination power plant (piston and turbojet engines). On T-210 aircraft boundary layer control was used, solution that was also new for that time. In 1952 Bartini came to Novosibirsk where conducted extended investigations regarding supersonic speeds of flight. On the basis of these investigations he designed T-203 project - variable sweep wing with aerodynamic twist (prototype of Valkyr, Concord and Tu-144 wings), projects of strategic supersonic aircraft A-55.
After his full rehabilitation, Bartini returned to Moscow. In small design bureau located at N. I. Kamov company he designed the projects of A-57, P-57, E-57, F-57 heavy supersonic transportation aircraft for transportation of different class missiles including ballistic ones. During this period, he developed one more brilliant project - vertical takeoff and landing amphibian aircraft, allowing transportation to different parts of our planet including deep-frozen soils, ices, and deserts, seas and oceans. MVA-62 project was terminated in 1963, suggested to military authorities and included into antisubmarine defense system in the fleet of Navy aviation. When using vertical takeoff and landing in this project, Bartini minimized effect of main problem in hydroaviation - the lack of seaworthiness. This project being noticeably modified and named VVA-14 project was designed and constructed at Beriev Aircraft Company under Bartini's guidance. With account for its complexity it was a test aircraft. Two versions of this aircraft were designed and constructed - one for conventional flights and the other for vertical takeoffs and landings. The first flight of the development aircraft occurred on September 4th 1972. The tests of this aircraft enduring up to 1976, allowed to store unique experience required to build this type of the aircraft. Unfortunately, because of the absence of lifting engines this aircraft was not completed. But it had been tested at all modes with the exception of vertical takeoffs and landings. VVA-14 aircraft had raised the level of technical knowledge and skills of Beriev Aircraft Company specialists allowing development of complex projects (e.g. unique A-40 "Albatros" aircraft) in future. Bartini also developed projects of giant ekranoljots and wig-in-ground aircraft with mass up to 2500 t on the basis of VVA-14 configuration, helped designers of express maglev trains, worked on the theory of giant aircraft usage instead of uneconomical and immobile military fleet. Totally, Bartini developed more than 60 aircraft projects.
Besides technical and scientific activities in the sphere of aviation, Bartini attacked the problems regarding theory of transport, estimation of flying vehicles effectiveness, philosophy and mathematical approaches to solve philosophy aspects, matter and time theory etc. His works in the sphere of physics and cosmology enabled to define a number of basic constants in the form of mathematical functions providing high accuracy of theoretical predictions of some physical and cosmological phenomena confirmed in contemporary researches of many world physicists. He was many-sided personality: painted pictures, wrote poetry, spoke six foreign languages.
Bartini's scientific ideas regarding estimation of flying vehicles using integral criteria were completed in scientific researches of Beriev Aircraft Company experts and allowed to create conceptual method of synthesis of flying vehicle conceptual configuration in hydroaviation. This method provides possibility of mobile and cheap development of amphibian aircraft and hydroplanes with high technical characteristics. Criterion of energy cleanness of transport vehicles that takes into account ratio between perfect capability required for cargo-passenger transportation and expenses at all stages of these vehicles development, operation and utilization has been named after Bartini.
The following words of General Designer O. K. Antonov are the best to wind up Bartinis's activities: "Bartini was fertile, exceedingly fertile in ideas and therefore generous. His ideas surpassed by far contemporary time and that is why only small part of them had been realized in metal, in aircraft. But even those ideas that were not realized in metal acted as a catalyst for the progress of our aerotechnics".