Sikorsky Ilya Mourometz (Series) Heavy Bomber / Reconnassaince Aircraft
The Mourometz featured an internal bomb bay and bomb sighting device, forming the worlds first bomber group under the flag of the Imperial Russian Air Force.
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The Sikorsky Ilya Mourometz series of aircraft were the world's first four-engine bombers in operational service. Igor Sikorsky, his name synonymous in the modern world for the company's line of American helicopters, was already making a name for himself in Russia as chief designer at the Russo-Baltic Railroad Factory. There, he developed the world's first four-engine aircraft - the 1913 Russky Vitaz (S-21). This spawned the basic design for the Bolshoi Bal'tisky ("Great Baltic") Type B aircraft which flew for ten minutes on May 13th, 1913. The Bolshoi Bal'tisky became the basis of the larger Ilya Mourometz (S-22).
The aircraft was conceived of as a four-engine, luxury commercial passenger transport featuring such revolutionary amenities as cabin windows, an in-flight berth complete with a washroom, a heated and lit passenger compartment separated from the crew cockpit and relatively comfortable passenger seating for up to 16 on wicker chairs. The cabin floor was also glazed over to allow for a unique passenger perspective of high-altitude flight. Doors on either side of the fuselage permitted mechanics to service and repair the engines in flight.
Though hardly a spacious aircraft by today's standards, the Ilya Mourometz (IM) was ahead of its time in many ways, much to the credit of Sikorsky's forward-thinking vision. Electricity for the cabin was provided for by a wind-powered generator while heating was accomplished through radiators. First flight of the Ilya Mourometz was achieved on December 13th, 1913 while the aircrafts first passenger flight occurred a short time later on February 25th, 1914. In this event, 16 passengers were carried over Moscow for five hours, hitting an altitude of just over 6,500 feet and reaching speeds over 60 miles per hour. Production was handled at the Russo-Baltic Carriage Factory (RBVZ) in Riga beginning in 1913.