Alexander Fedorovich Mozhaysky (also transliterated as Mozhayski, Mozhayskii and Mozhayskiy; Russian: Алекса́ндр Фёдорович Можа́йский) (March 21 [O.S. March 9] 1825, Rochensalm (current Kotka), southern Finland – 1 April [O.S. March 20] 1890, Saint Petersburg), was a Russian naval officer, aviation pioneer, researcher and designer of heavier-than-air craft." In 1884, Mozhaysky's monoplane made a failed attempt to fly (only a spring of ca. 100 ft).
His design relied upon a ramp rather than engine power to generate sufficient speed for lift. The wing design of his craft lacked the curvature necessary to generate lift. While it is possible that Mozhaysky's wings slowed his monoplane's descent after launch from the ramp, the wings were unlikely ever to have provided sufficient lift for sustained flight unless used at angles of attack that would have been impractical, given the engines available to Mozhaysky. He also experimented with different angles of attack.
In 1909 a Russian newspaper claimed Mozhaysky's hop was the first powered flight. This claim was later repeated many times by the Soviet Union. In 1971-1981 TsAGI researched the topic and disproved the claim. Mozhaysky's original aircraft was found incapable of generating lift because of low engine capacity. It was also shown that with a more powerful engine, which Mozhaysky had planned shortly before his death, the aircraft might have been able to fly.
Nevertheless, Mozhaysky's aviation achievements, particularly with regard to flight controls and propulsion, were considerable given the limits of the technology available to him, and have only recently received serious attention.
Asteroid 2850 Mozhaiskij is named in his honour.
- Early flying machines
- Samuel Pierpont Langley, a U.S. scientist notable for his early powered aircraft flight attempts
- Clément Ader, a French inventor who designed a series of early steam-powered aircraft
- Mozhaysky's airplane
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