Thanks to Stan Mott.
All the world is familiar with Igor Sokerov’s more famous aircraft—the ones that flew. But what about his other great creations? Just how influential was this man? Why don’t we taxi down the tarmac of aircraft memorabilia, getting up a little air speed to rise on wings of fleeting time (keeping our elbows away from the hot exhaust), and fly over the rainbow behind the Iron Curtain, where we see…
Sokerov’s 1925 Troika. It was designed to appear as if three separate aircraft were flying in tight aerobatic formation—when in fact it was only one single aircraft! The object was to impress Western air show observers with Soviet flying ability. A tragic failure, due to installation of three sets of independent controls.
World’s largest aircraft! The Sokerov Marxeng Leslenin was a 1930s works project designed to employ the western half of the U.S.S.R., and to subsequently spread Communism by air throughout the world. Never flew. Made world’s longest taxi run from the suburbs of Omsk to the Kamchatka Peninsula, where it now serves as world’s widest archipelago.
Here we see devoted Smolensk factory employees giving the 1932 Sokweov Bopwopludjowe Tri-motor a critical stationary wing test.
No doubt some Trotskyite in the parts department mixed chocolate with the rivets.
But loyal employees continue test.
With the storm clouds of World War II gathering, newly inducted Soviet air force cadets were given crash courses on Sokerov’s basic theories of flight.
In late 1937, Stalin commissioned Sokerov to design the Sztandar Moodyehski, or “Flying Big Bertha.” Prototype fired volunteer-guided YUK, or “Flying Shell.” Once. Dramatic lack of air speed after firing of shell prevented second flight.
Here we have an intimate view of Sztandar Moodyehski about to be loaded with YUK. Note similarity between YUK and famed Soviet fighter YAK. Specialists believe the two were related designs. YUK and YAK differ only that YAK has no YUK nose spinner, and YUK no YAK cowling. But both YUK and YAK yaw. Note also military police about to “brief” volunteer.
In 1943, Hitler’s Wehrmacht was hammering Leningrad (St. Petersburg). Stalin desperately needed a secret weapon to save it. Sokerov provided an answer; The bizarre Chrysler Aeroflot carplane. Based on the 1935 Chrysler Airflow and the MiG-1 fighter, its purpose was to fly commandos behind German lines to drive around and shoot people. Never flew. But became the world’s fastest armored snowplow.
Footnote: The 1934 Chrysler Airflow is indeed the ugliest front end ever designed by man or beast. For this very reason, Sokerov chose it as a starting point, as the genuine illustration of the prototype from Berlinerwerke Archives shows [how’s THAT for praise from the Maître?]. But alas, the machine almost flew! Sokerov would have none of that. Thus, his use of the 1935 Chrysler Airflow front end—which allowed the use of a greater “scoop” from front bumper to fender top. With engine roaring [nonsense—Chrysler engines never need to roar!] and propeller spinning (having properly scalped the guy who turned the crank) the prop blast insured the aircraft would dig deeper into the snow the faster it taxied—until it went in so deep that all you could see were smoke tendrils rising. And those still alive scratching their heads. Typical of Sokerov genius.
The Sokerov flying Atheletski Supportorvick (untranslatable) was one of Sta1in’s favorite wartime prototypes. Unfortunately, if was also the favorite of a dozen captured Prussian generals of the old School. A model was being tested near their prison camp, and they eagerly threw themselves onto it’s propeller shaft before they could be interrogated. Deciding the Atheletski was psychologically too effective with the Germans, and taking into consideration the fact that it didn’t work, Stalin ordered the project abandoned.
Sokerov’s final effort was the Jet-O-Round adapter, here installed on famed TU-114 for testing at Volga Air Works. Adapter was designed to give unlimited power on limited fuel with virtually no air pollution! The principle on which it operated was much like harnessing the power of the sun; hot exhaust was directed back under the wings and into the front of the engines, turning them over faster, which blew out more hot exhaust directed back under the wings…ad infinitum! Unfortunately, Sokerov, as a result of an indiscretion made while being introduced to the spouse of NKVD chief Schelepin (“Sokerov, this is my wife…” “Sokerov yourself, you brought her! Hah!”), was chained to the pilot’s seat and forced to push the starter button. Still, we say, hail to thee, Igor Sokerov!