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A.N.Tupolev

Andrey N. Tupolev

Andrey N. Tupolev

Andrey N. Tupolev was one of the most outstanding designers of the XX century. He was born on November 10, 1888 (Gregorian calendar) near town Kimry. He studied at a grammar school in Tver and after that at Moscow vocational college; he was a pupil and an associate of “the father of Russian Aviation” N. E. Zhukovskiy.

Jointly with N.E. Zhukovskiy he founded the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). Following Zhukovskiy’s behests A. N. Tupolev continued aviation science and experimental facilities development; he became a mastermind and fonder of Russian metal aircraft industry in the days of wood constructions prevalence and by that determined the all-metal way of the world aircraft industry development. In the 1920s Tupolev and his team constructed heavy bombers which design and layout solutions determined the military and civil heavy aircraft ways of development. Tupolev’s aircraft aviated by Soviet pilots for the first time landed at the North Pole, made record flights from Moscow to USA. Tupolev initiated the first Russian jet aircraft Tu-104 development and it became a starting point for the passenger jet aircraft large scale operation in the world. Due to his activities the country obtained powerful strategic aviation which helped to keep the balance in the postwar period and to avoid thermonuclear war. Under his leadership the first-rate military and passenger aircraft of different purposes which became a significant part of the world aviation of XX century were constructed.

 

 

A.N. Tupolev - major general of aeronautical engineering duty (1944)

A.N. Tupolev - major general of aeronautical engineering duty (1944)

A. N. Tupolev was a member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, honorary member of the Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; he was awarded the prize and gold medal of N. E. Zhukovskiy, six State Prizes, the highest prize of International Aviation and Sports Federation (FAI). He was awarded a Title of Hero of Socialist Labor, the highest orders of the Soviet Union. He did so much that his name came down in history of technical progress forever. Andrey N. left behind a powerful creative team of aerotechnics developers. Which personal qualities helped him to do so much?

 

 

 

Range and scope of activities.

Assembly of “59” aircraft (Tu-2 prototype). Central design bureau 29 (Special technical bureau of NKVD) (1940)

Assembly of “59” aircraft (Tu-2 prototype). Central design bureau 29 (Special technical bureau of NKVD) (1940)

He was a man of national level. People's Commissar for Heavy Engineering Industry Sergo Ordzhonikidze noticed such his quality of approaching to the matter and offered him a position of the Aircraft Industry General Director First Deputy and his chief engineer actually technical director of the sector. And he was right in his choice. Initiated by Tupolev modernization of old aviation and engine factories and building of new ones with the usage of Western aviation technologies, establishment of the design bureau and re-equipment of factories, unprecedented aeronautics development gave a powerful impetus to the implementation of the slogan of those days: “Catch up and outdo” Western aviation industry. All this was done with extreme economy of public funds. However Tupolev did not worked as one of the leaders of the Soviet aviation industry for a long time. In 1937 he was unreasonably repressed. For a year and a half he was in prison then he was transferred to the Central Design Bureau “29” under NKVD where he became a leader among other prisoners, aircraft designers. Tupolev received an order to construct a dive bomber which performance characteristics would be superior to all the previous ones. The history of the Tu-2 aircraft development cannot be called otherwise than the moral and patriotic feat. Even under such extraordinary circumstances A.N. Tupolev did not lose courage and faith in the triumph of justice. He estimated the role of aviation in the just begun in Europe World War II and he insisted on universal two-engine front bomber constructing instead of heavy four-engine dive-bomber proposed by Stalin and Beria.

Disassembly of B-29 (Tu-4 prototype) aircraft at the Central airfield (Summer 1945).

Disassembly of B-29 (Tu-4 prototype) aircraft at the Central airfield (Summer 1945).

A.N. Tupolev and his workers were released from prison when the war began so they could work selflessly for victory as free men. Under difficult conditions of the initial period of the war, after evacuation to Omsk A.N. Tupolev managed to start the production of Tu-2, one of the best front bombers of the war which was ready for operation by the middle of 1942 and then in Moscow it was mass produced and at the same time several modifications of this unique aircraft were being developed.

 

 

 

Discussion of a problem at A.N. Tupolev’s study

Discussion of a problem at A.N. Tupolev’s study

The scope of Tupolev’s activities while working at SUAI (State University of Aerospace Instrumentation) in 1936-1937 before his arrest, his active role in the domestic aviation development prompted Stalin the idea of entrusting to A.N. Tupolev an important nation-wide task: technical management of restructuring of the USSR industry to recreate American B-29 bomber. Stalin gives extraordinary powers to Tupolev. Andrey N. ensured the task performance in an incredibly short period of a year and a half; in May 1947 the first production Tu-4 took off.

State approach was determining Tupolev’ actions in creating milestone aircraft of Russian aviation: Tu-16, Tu-95, Tu-104 and many others.

 

 

Awarding the Order of Lenin to A.N. Tupolev (late 1940s)

Awarding the Order of Lenin to A.N. Tupolev (late 1940s)

Immensity of engineering thinking.

At each stage of the work Tupolev put forward and was the first in the country to solve the most important (often not obvious) problems which determined the progress of aircraft industry, particularly heavy one. He was capable of catching the main point of the problem, was sensible of the nascent progressive scientific and technical tendencies in aviation and allied industries. Everything that was digested and logically defined by him that he considered to be mature enough for using in manufacture due to his talent and unrestrained activity he turned to real aircraft designs. He could construct advanced aircraft sometimes superior to foreign analogues despite the fact that Russian aircraft industry fell behind the world one.

 

 

Assembly of SB prototype aircraft (1834)

Assembly of SB prototype aircraft (1834)

Accumulation of information before taking decisions.

Nobody else in the design bureau studied so carefully articles, reports and photos of the aircraft and its components as Tupolev. He had never taken a decision without discussing the matter with the experts of his design bureau and different scientific research institutes of the country: TsAGI, CIAM, VIAM, LII and many others.

He had an ability to save the information in memory like a computer, to listen and to understand paying no attention to emotions and advertisement. If he did not understand he would say: “Repeat, repeat what you said?” and continued listening. Most of all he was interested in the test data as the basis for decision making. But he did not forget about checking the method and performance of the experiment using his rich experience in this field.

Assembly of the first production aircraft Tu-4 (1947)

Assembly of the first production aircraft Tu-4 (1947)

He considered the development of experimental facilities to be the determinant of technological progress. In the 1920s and 1930s A.N. Tupolev was developing TsAGI including its new complex which he believed to get future development prospects. He ordered domestic and foreign equipment, built a huge full-scale wind tunnel. He had never stopped developing his design bureau: factory laboratories and test facilities (static tests and engine tests complexes, aerodynamic unit and etc.). After the war he built a flight test and development base without which none of aircraft manufacturer can do nowadays. 

 

 

 

Test prototype aircraft Tu-82

Test prototype aircraft Tu-82

Leadership manner.

The manner of his leadership was notable for high demands, dislike of slovenliness even in form of behavior. However he trusted his assistants, after a long time of joint work he relied on their erudition and honesty. If it was necessary he could take the responsibility for all their actions. They returned devotion and selfless labor to him. Tupolev did not forgive lie and meanness; he lost credit to a guilty person. Sometimes he could forgive pretending that he did not notice white lie because he knew that the error would be corrected.

Ability to engage creative people and raise experts’ responsibility.

Andrey N. Tupolev could arouse enthusiasm in people just by his speech. “Aircraft design is a team work”, it was his credo. The peculiarity of his work was engaging in the process all creative people of the bureau, the potential of the whole aviation industry and related sectors. He used the method of “horizontal communication” to establish fruitful relations between different participants of the aircraft constructing. Most decisions concerning new aircraft design were usually a palliative between two contrary demands. The responsibility for compromise settlement at the “horizontal communication” level (designing engineer, aerodynamicist - raised the initiative and responsibility for the decisions of each participant. Andrey N. was supervising this “level”, stimulated the creativity and responsibility of the workers but did not allow them to ask him for advice and then in case of failure to accuse him.

He was a leader by nature. His talent, independence and objectivity, high moral qualities – democratic character, kindness and outgoingness attracted people. He supported competent workers, gave them an opportunity to approve themselves. Not any other design bureau had such brilliant team of designers and experts. Among them: Petlyakov V.M., Sukhoy P.O., Pogorskiy E.I. and I.I., Myasischev V.M., Arkhangelskiy A.A., Putilov A.I., Eger S.M., Cheremukhin A.M., Nazval I.F., Markov D.S., Sokolov D.A., Frenkel G.S., Kerber L.L., Selyakov L.L., Minkner K.V., Nadashevich A.V., Ozerov G.A., Bronin A.R., Nekrasov N.S., Vigdorchik S.A., Fainshtein A.S., Sterlin A.E., Iosilovich I.B., Mescheryakov A.V., Golovin I.L., Saprykin T.P., Kondorskiy B.M., Lebedev I.S., Saukke B.A., Stoman E.K., Grozdov B.N., Chizhevskiy V.A., Gorskiy D.A., Sakharov V.P., Kirsanov N.V., Kulikov T.S. and many others.

In the 1950s and 1960s the new generation joint this team: Tupolev A.A., Levshits Y.V., Kozlov N.T., Sakharov B.V., Vul V.M., Yanvarev K.V., Cheremukhin G.A., Gofbauer G.M., Andreev V.A., Kochergin A.S., Bliznyuk V.I., Shengardt A.S., Seliverstov N.N., Gannushkin A.P. Sokolov B.N., Gofbauer I.M., Gantsevskiy B.A., Beloglazov B.P., Makhotkin G.V., Rodnyanskiy L.M., Lanovskiy L.A., Pukhov A.L., Kulikov L.T., Razumikhin V.M., Sulimenkov V.V., Vishnevskiy V.A., Sadkov V.V. and many other well-known experts.

Technical decisions.

Before carrying out the task Tupolev tried to find the determinative line of work. For example, the development of the domestic metallurgy of light alloys was the basis for the first all-metal aircraft construction; raw material, chemicals, metallurgy, semi-finished products, aircraft equipment for Tu-4 development; power plant layout for Tu-16; power plant type for Tu-95 and so on. He followed the propositions of fundamental science: through experiments and calculations to construction. After solving the main problem he switched over to the tasks of “lower” level but did not forget about the importance and time of performance.

Construction workability.

A.N. Tupolev felt responsible for the aircraft manufacturing technology. He took part in the process of its improvement at the production factory. He understood when it was necessary to follow the technology and when it was better to change it for the progress in aircraft industry.

There was a team of technologists in the design bureau who developed the advanced technologies both at the Tupolev pilot and production plants. A.N. Tupolev was the first to set up the design bureau affiliates at the production factories which purpose was the construction workability improvement during production and new aircraft modifications development.

Equipment progress.

A.N. Tupolev always took part in the progress in the related sectors – metallurgy, equipment and engines production and many others on which the aircraft construction depends. He could achieve the development and implementation of any nonstandard design solution using his prestige and persistence. These innovations led to the intensive development in the respective directions.  For example, the first usage of duralumin alloys, powerful turboprop engines, propeller design, radar, cryogenic and computer equipment.

Large-scale thinking did not prevent his from being occupied with even little improvements which he called “positive zero”.  

Full-scale tests.

This type of tests was established by A.N. Tupolev for integrated study of innovations before their adoption. At first duralumin was used in snowplane, glider and some components of ANT-1 prototype constructions and was applied to the first all-metal ANT-2 aircarft. The influence of the heavy aircraft sweptwing on the aircraft performance was studied on the prototype aircraft “82” and then this type of wing was used in Tu-16 production. The wing for Tu-144 at first was tested on the analogous aircraft built specially for this purpose by the design bureau n.a. A.I. Mikoyan.

A.N. Tupolev knew his worth but never worried about maintenance of the authority. Test pilot M.L. Gallay told the following about this personality trait: “I have seldom met a person who does not care about the impression he makes on people. May be it was one of the reasons of the strong impression he made”. Unfortunately, Andrey N. Tupolev did not leave a book of recollections. When somebody asked him why he did not write about his eventful life he turned everything into a joke. And once he answered: “I don’t write I create”. Till the end of his life he had a desire to create something new and not to recollect what was already done. He died on December 23, 1972.