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TsAGI Centenary in the history of aviation: the USSR V-1 Dirigible

6 April 2018

The word “dirigible” means “controllable” in French. It is the flight control by rudder and engines with rotors that distinguishes the dirigible from other lighter-than-air vehicles.

The USSR V-1 is one of the pioneers of Soviet airships. A group of TsAGI enthusiasts started work on creating such a flying machine in the autumn of 1930. V.G. Garakanidze, F.F. Assberg, N.V. Lebedev, K.K. Fedjaevsky, and others were from TsAGI’s Aviation Department, HydroAviation and Experienced Construction Departments, as well as from the Experimental Aerodynamic Department.

The USSR V-1 is a non-rigid airship without an internal structural framework or keel. TsAGI specialists created an original system fastening the gondola to the envelope: the cabin was stung directly to the envelope side (without internal pendants and staging platform). Fin and rudder constructions were similar to the aircraft wing and airplane empennage. They made a duralumin frame covered with fabric, and the dirigible engine system was designed the same way. The Moscow factory “Kauchuk” produced the first samples of envelopes. TsAGI created a gondola with a length of 10 meters. The final assembly was carried out in Leningrad on the Volkov field.

Test activity confirmed compliance of the airship’s flying characteristics to the calculated indicators. In April 29, 1932 the flying machine traveled from Leningrad to Moscow, arriving May, 1st. The USSR V-1, together with its follow-up variants — the USSR V-2, the USSR V-2, and the USSR V-4 — took part in the parade, flying in the skies above Red Square on November 7, 1932.

The airship was used as a scheduled passenger ship for campaign flights. The USSR V-1 was useful for research, fighting forest fires, work in agriculture, etc.

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