MIL-OSI Russia: How an air fleet was created in Moscow at the beginning of the 20th century


MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

October 2, 2021 11:01 am

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Photo of S.A. Gubin, sent to the Moscow Society for the Promotion of the Success of Experimental Sciences and Their Practical Applications named after Kh.S. Ledentsova. 1911 year. Main Archive of Moscow

The topic of aeronautics in Russia was so popular that both engineers and amateurs developed aircraft. And Muscovites actively donated to the air fleet.

The history of aeronautics began in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when balloons appeared. V Glavarchivthere is evidence of the flight on such a balloon by the famous illusionist Joseph Pinetti. The flight took place in Moscow in 1803 and cost the maestro four thousand rubles – at that time it was a very large amount.

Popularity of aircraft

Later, airplanes were invented. In Russia, aeronautics became so popular that along with scientists and engineers, amateurs also tried to develop aircraft projects. The Moscow Christopher Ledentsov Society for the Advancement of Experimental Sciences and Their Practical Applications received many requests for financial assistance in the construction of airplanes. Society did not remain indifferent and helped inventors, and sometimes subsidized the most talented. Someone sent the drawings himself, someone needed money to build airplanes, and some even sent photos of finished models.

In his address to society, a certain Dmitry Abramov wrote that he had developed a project for the construction of “an airplane, which does not separate (that is, does not differ) in flight from a bird.” He also asked for the assistance of “learned people” to make a drawing “according to my words.”

Eagle and Airplane Tokens for Donations

The need for its own air fleet in the country at the beginning of the 20th century was well understood by the authorities, so it was announced that donations were being collected for its creation.

In the leaflet of the All-Russian Aero Club, which in every possible way supported this campaign, it was written that Emperor Nicholas II left a resolution on the report on permission to collect donations: “I agree with pleasure and wish success to domestic aeronautics.”

In Moscow, the creation of aircraft was carried out by the Moscow Organizing Committee for the collection of donations for the air fleet. To control the funds, the Moscow authorities prepared special receipt books. Receipts were given to donors, and their stubs as part of books were then returned to the office of the Moscow governor-general, where the collected funds were already counted.

Citizens who did not feel sorry for money for the air fleet were celebrated and encouraged. So, men were given special badges, and pendants on chains were provided for women. For a contribution of 500 rubles, a gold sign was issued, for 100 rubles – a silver one. For smaller donations in the amount of five rubles, one could get a silver gilded token “Eagle with an airplane and St. Andrew’s flag” to be worn on a chain. The townspeople who handed in from three to four rubles could count on a silver gilded token “Airplane in a wreath”.

Muscovites took an active part in fundraising, thanks to which the creation of domestic aviation was significantly accelerated.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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