Libmonster ID: BY-1547
Author(s) of the publication: Boris FOMKIN

by Boris FOMKIN, Cand. Sc. (Tech.), academic secretary, Zhukovsky and Gagarin Air Force Academy, Moscow, Russia

"Man has no wings. But fly he shall by relying on the force of his reason, not on the force of his muscles..." This is what Nikolai Zhukovsky, the "father of Russian aviation", wrote in 1890. The originator of present-day hydro- and aeromechanics, a brilliant experimentalist and teacher, all in one, he was elected corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1894.

Emblem of the Zhukovsky and Gagarin Air Force Academy.

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All the way back in 1918 Nikolai Zhukovsky made a report at the All-Russia Aviation Congress in which he validated the necessity and possibility of creating the world's best aviation in this country. Topnotch flyers and engineers were needed for that. Two years after, Zhukovsky set up the first higher school of aviators--the Institute of Red Air Force Engineers reorganized in 1922 into an academy named after its founder and first head. The next year, in 1923, it moved into the Petrovsky (Petrine) palace* in Moscow's northwest next to a large airfield (subsequently known as the Central Airdrome), an excellent training ground for would-be air pilots. In 1998 the Zhukovsky Academy became an occupant of a complex of buildings with the main edifice on Planetnaya Street. In keeping with the instructions of the federal government, in 2009 this academy incorporated a number of air force schools in other cities (St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Krasnodar, Chelyabinsk, Yeisk and Syzran) as affiliates.

* This palace was put up in 1776 to 1780 in what is now Leningrad Highway. A model of Russian Neo-Gothic Architecture.--Ed.

This country's largest--and the world's oldest-school of aeronautics celebrated its 90th birth jubilee in 2010. It has produced a galaxy of great scientists and aviators, such as the mathematicians losif Vorovich and Vladimir Pugachev; Nikolai Bruevich, expert in the science of machines; Yevgeny Zababakhin, a nuclear physicist... A string of aircraft designers like Sergei Ilyushin, Artem Mikoyan, Nikolai Kuznetsov and Alexander Yakovlev. The cohort of our alumni and associates also includes Viktor Kulebakin, a power engineer; Alexander Krasovsky and Hermogen Pos-pelov, specialists in automatic control systems; Boris Stechkin, a mechanics engineer who has pioneered in the theory of aircraft engines; Sergei Tumansky, an aircraft engines designer. And many, many other men of extraordinary abilities. Many of the academy's fledglings have been elected to the national Academy of Sciences.

This nursery of aviators has trained or coached dozens of thousands of air force commanders and engineers, with as many as 5,600 holding academic degrees of Doctor and Master (Candidate) of Sciences. Thirty

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pilot-cosmonauts have grown wings in it, among them Heroes of the Soviet Union Yuri Gagarin, German Titov and Valentina Tereshkova. Some of the constellation have merited this top national hero title twice: Valery Bykovsky, Boris Volynov, Vladimir Komarov, Alexei Leonov, Andrian Nikolayev and Pavel Popovich. Our academy has been the alma mater of 200 aviators, air pilots and researchers.

Over 50,000 combat aircraft designed and built by our alumni were engaged during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. As good as any air force unit, research center or school in Russia and in former Soviet republics (The Community of Independent States, CIS, today) employs our graduates.

Our air force academy has formed a broad spectrum of research schools on the groundwork of Zhukovsky's vast heritage. Well aware of the role of technical progress, Zhukovsky combined basic research with practice. The followers of the great aviator abide by these fundamental principles of his.

From its very first years the academy undertook another important field of activities, the helicopters. The progenitor of this school was Boris Yuryev (in 1923 to 1949, chief of the experimental aerodynamics chair; elected to the national Academy of Sciences in 1943). His numerous pupils and followers include such outstanding men as Dr. Sergei Belotserkovsky (in the 1950s, researching into the characteristics and production technology of grid-type wings*; in the 1960s, tak-

* Grid-type wings (controls)-aerodynamic (airfoil) surfaces in the shape of a flat grid used in more than twenty types of rockets and spaceship rescue systems of the Soyuz orbiters.--Ed.

Science in Russia, No.3, 2011

ing part in the engineering training of the detachment of the first cosmonauts; late in the 1980s and early 1990s, involved with the vortex computer-aided mechanics of liquid and gases) as well as Drs Mikhail Nisht, Alexander Zhelannikov and Ivan Lifanov (in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s employed at the aerodynamics department with a special interest in computing hydroaerodynamics, nonlinear mathematical models, numerical methods).

Side by side with this school yet another one was taking body and form under the academy's wing--that of flying vehicles designing, with Dr. Vladimir Vetchinkin in charge. It was a three-pronged school researching in aircraft durability, combat endurance and upgrading. Quite a few researchers worked on these problems; among them Academician Alexander Nekrassov, an eminent expert in theoretical mechanics, and aero-and hydrodynamics); Dr. Nikolai Geveling, a metal science expert, as well as a cohort of world-famous aircraft designers like Semen Lavochkin (USSR AS Corresponding Member from 1958), Sergei Ilyushin (Academician from 1968), Alexander Yakovlev, Artem Mikoyan and Viktor Bolkhovitinov. This one, back in the mid-1940s, laid a groundwork for the scientifically validated work of aircraft modernization with a focus on optimal efficiency and cost effectiveness. Our colleague, Dr. Leonid Myshkin, summed up the work done in the course of many years of research in his monograph Prognostication of Aircraft Development published in Moscow in 2006.

Yet another school, that involved with the theory and design of aviation engines, was born when our acade-

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my was still in its cradle. Its founder was Boris Stechkin (elected to the national Academy of Sciences in 1954), who stayed with us from 1920 to 1954. The range of its projects is staggering indeed all the way--from piston and gas-turbine engines to propulsion systems for hypersonic aircraft and spaceships. Our men have published 8 works on theory, 27 books on the characteristics and control of aircraft engines as well as over 1,500 articles and teaching aids.

Combat aircraft are an important part of the Zhukovsky heritage. Therefore problems related to the explosion theory and ballistics have always been high on our agenda. Back in the 1930s two schools were born. One headed by Nikolai Bruyevich (elected to the national Academy of Sciences in 1942), the other, by Vladimir Pugachev (elected to the Academy of Sciences in 1981). Power supply, life support and target practice accuracy were taken up all the way back in 1920 by Viktor Kulebakin, Hermogen Pospelov and Alexander Krassovsky, all of them subsequently elected to the national Academy of Sciences. In the 1950s they became involved with the navigation, control and planning theory in big systems, and artificial intelligence; in the 1960s Dr. Vassily Tikhonov started research in statistical radio engineering and communication.

The latter half of the 20th century saw quite new, hitherto unseen modes of warfare, radio electronic ones among them. Consequently, reconnaissance methods had to be upgraded accordingly. Work was in progress to develop new kinds of onboard equipment (including radar targeting complexes), in holography (obtaining three-dimensional images on photographic film), laser, optoelectronic communications, digital info processing, stealth aircraft, and so forth. New research schools thus came into being, Alexander Reutov's among them (A. Reutov was elected to the national Academy of Sciences as Corresponding Member in 1987).

As a matter of fact, our academy has made a signal contribution both in basic science and in aeronautics. As far back as 1920 our coworker, Alexander Kova-lenkov, assembled an AK-1 onboard radio station that was the first to transmit human speech messages to the ground. Nine years after that Boris Stechkin published his findings on the theory of rocket engines and, early in the 1940s, he took an active part in the making of an RD-3M turbojet engine installed afterwards on Tu-16 and Tu-104 aircraft.

In the 1960s Vladimir Sidorin's team designed a laser system that spurred broad-based research in equipping home aviation with range finders and devices capable of spotting targets both on the ground and in the sea (submarines, for instance). A good deal was accomplished in radio electronic and optoelectronic instruments. And thus a laser range finder model was built in 1966, adopted then in a generation of aircraft like MiG-23B, Su-17, Su-25, Su-27 and MiG-29. Upgraded modifications of this range finder are now in use at all types of aircraft.

Dual-capable weaponry and civilian equipment have always figured prominently in our research. Zhukovsky himself set a good example as in 1897 and 1898 he made a ground-breaking discovery on the hydraulic shock in plumbing and ways of its prevention. His work was translated into European languages, and its findings were taken on by utility services in design and maintenance activities.

We can name quite a few inventions like that. For instance, Dr. Pyotr Lvov's research in point welding of stainless steel sheets (1924-1931) had a key role to play in the building of the nation's first all-metal aircraft. This technique, too, was used in Vera Mukhina's sculptural composition Workman and Collective Farm

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Woman put up at the World's Exhibition in Paris in 1937 (today it stands on a pedestal in front of the northern entrance to the All-Russia Exhibition Center in Moscow.* Later on, in the 1950s, Dr. Mikhail

See: A. Firsova, "Art Deco in Russia", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2010.--Ed.

Novikov developed a novel type gear transmission essentially different from conventional gearing--it made it possible to boost efficiency two- and even threefold without increasing its dimensions and mass. "Novikov's gear train", as experts dubbed it, is used in a variety of fields, namely in turboprop engines, ship-

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building and mine hoists (elevators). Dr. Georgi Pokrovsky's works in the shock and explosion theory became a basis for air-borne cumulative charges capable of knocking out armored targets. Between 1966 and 1975 such charges were used in clearing the ground for dams and dikes against mudflows in mountain regions.

The present generation of our scientists is carrying on these traditions with much success. Their research area is really vast, taking in aircraft engines (such things as longer service life and takeoff and landing safety); or urgent pipeline repairs and fire-fighting; in air, ground and sea surveying that allows to monitor the ecological situation and spot aircraft and seaships in distress. Optoelectronics with its wide range of possibilities is just one field of research in dual-capable technologies. We could continue this list on and on.

The Zhukovsky and Gagarin Academy sets high standards in the quality of education. Here we abide by Zhukovsky's behests. The hard sciences (maths, physics, chemistry, theoretical mechanics) and the latest know-how are an intimate part of the teaching process. New specialities have been born within our academy, such as those of pilot-cosmonauts, pilot researchers and testers (1992). We are running a college for top air force commanders, and for aviation mathematicians. Furthermore, in the 1990s we started training experts in science-intensive fields, both in defense and in civilian fields. As many as 500 experts are academic degree holders (Doctors and M. Sc). Seminars, conferences and other get-togethers are part and parcel of our activities. We are always open to public discussions and reviews of our work.

Our colleagues have come up with many publications in specific areas, some of them timed for the academy's 90th jubilee. One of them, The Stellar Graduation Class of Zhukovka (Zhukovka, the academy's pet name) published in 2008, is devoted to its alumni of 40 years ago--trailblazers of the universe and subsequent generations of cosmonauts. Last year, in 2010, we published an encyclopedia on the 90th anniversary of the Zhukovsky and Gagarin Air Force Academy. It fills in its readership on the academy's record of achievement, its top-level research and experimental base.

Plans are afoot to turn our academy into a major center capable of tackling a broad range of problems. We are going to push ahead with basic research geared

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to the further development of aviation hardware and armaments. We shall continue coaching the intellectual elite of the Air Force (in our post-graduate and doctorate courses, through competition, and in the college of further education). Our teaching activities include advanced raining of air force and army officers, too. We are running further education classes for servicemen from other countries as well, and--in some specialties--welcome civilian youth.

Our academy has a museum at Monino, an industrial and science town northeast of Moscow. This is the Air Force Museum, one of the world's largest. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 it was a dispersal apron for long-range bombers, Ils-4 among them. The airfield was built amidst a pine and fir forest. Thereafter it became a flight-training ground for our aircraftsmen. Exhibitions of aircraft, engines and other kinds of hardware were staged over there now and then.

These exhibits went into the first collection of the museum dedicated on February 23, 1960 (February 23, celebrated as Armed Forces Day). Today its stock comprises over 37,000 items that highlight the history of our military and civilian aviation ever since 1909, all the way from primitive airplanes down to the latest sophisticated hardware. This museum sums up the achievements and priorities of our science and engineering. Put on display are aircraft or their life-size models, helicopters, weapons, engines, rescue facilities, and what not--all this supplemented with documents and photos. Lots of guests have visited our museum from as many as 100 countries. One of them, an Irish journalist Paul Dellfi, says he has been to 30 museums the world over. He heard about a museum like that at Monino. He was ready to see a good many things, but what he saw beat everything he had ever seen or heard. This is the largest and most interesting collection of aviation hardware, the Irish journalist said in his ebullient comment. This is fantastic indeed!


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