Robert Ludvigovich Bartini

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Robert Ludvigovich Bartini
Born Roberto Oros di Bartini
14 May 1897
Fiume, Austria-Hungary
Died 6 December 1974(1974-12-06) (aged 77)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Resting place Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Lefortovo District, Moscow
Occupation Engineer
Engineering career
Discipline Aeronautical Engineering
Awards Order of Lenin

Robert Ludvigovich Bartini (Russian: Роберт Людвигович Бартини; 14 May 1897 – 6 December 1974) was an Italian-born Soviet aircraft designer and scientist, involved in the development of numerous successful and experimental aircraft projects. A pioneer of amphibious aircraft and ground effect vehicles, Bartini was one of the most famous engineers in the Soviet Union, nicknamed Barone Rosso (Red Baron) because of his noble descent.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Robert Bartini was born on 14 May 1897, in Fiume, Austria-Hungary (now Rijeka, Croatia), the son of an unmarried 17-year-old girl of noble origins.[2] Bartini's biological father, Lodovico Oros de Bartini, was a baron of the Austro-Hungarian nobility and the Lieutenant Governor of Fiume. Reportedly, Bartini's mother drowned herself shortly after his birth when Lodovico, a married man, refused to recognize him as his son. Bartini was eventually legitimized by Lodovico and given the title Roberto Oros di Bartini, but his custody was passed to relatives from the city of Miskolc (now in Hungary). Despite his powerful noble background, Bartini's relatives were impoverished aristocrats, and instead they granted custody to a peasant family to raise him.[3]

Bartini graduated from gymnasium in 1915, and upon the outbreak of the First World War was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army and sent to an officers' reserve school located in Besztercebánya (now Banská Bystrica, Slovakia). Upon graduation in 1916, Bartini was sent to the Eastern Front where he was captured by Russian troops in June 1916 and interred at a prisoner of war camp in near Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East. He remained at the camp for the remainder of the war and was eventually released in 1920. Bartini returned home to find administration of Fiume being fought over by the local Italian and Slav populaces, as well as Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, resulting in the Free State of Fiume. Bartini moved to Italy and received citizenship, where he became a member of the Italian Communist Party (ICP) and attended flying school in 1921, and began studying aerospace at the Politecnico di Milano in 1922.

Soviet Union[edit]

After the Fascist takeover in Italy in October 1923, the ICP sent Bartini to the Soviet Union as an aviation engineer, taking all the latest Italian design and avant-garde technology he was able to gather. Bartini received Soviet citizenship and changed his name to Robert Ludvigovich Bartini according to Eastern Slavic naming customs. Bartini initially worked at an airport near Khodynka Field in Moscow before occupying several engineering and command positions for the research wing of the Soviet Air Force. In 1928, Bartini began working for the Central Design Bureau building seaplanes near Sevastopol and the following year became the head of the department of amphibious experimental aircraft design, but was fired in 1930 for writing a letter to the Central Committee of the CPSU criticizing the existence of the organization. Bartini was quickly hired by the research wing of the Red Army where he began working on the Stal-series of airplanes. At the International Exhibition in Paris in August 1936, the Bartini Stal-7 broke the international speed record. He also published papers concerning aviation construction materials and technology, aerodynamics, dynamics of flight, and even theoretical physics.[4][5][6]

In 1938, Bartini was arrested by the NKVD on charges of being an "enemy of the people" and a spy for Fascist Italy. He was extrajudicially convicted by a troika, receiving a 10-year imprisonment sentence. During his imprisonment Bartini continued his work on new aircraft designs, first at the sharashka TsKB-29, an NKVD experiment aircraft design bureau in Moscow where he worked with Andrei Tupolev designing the Tupolev Tu-2, which became one of the most important Soviet aircraft of World War II. Bartini's Stal-7 plane also became the base for the Yermolayev Yer-2 bomber, also used by the Soviet Air Force during the war. When German troops were close to Moscow during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, TsKB-29 was moved from the city to Omsk where Bartini led his own design bureau, OKB-86. His bureau was disbanded in 1943, and he began working on various transport plane projects. Bartini was released in 1946, later working at the Dimitrov Aircraft Factory in Taganrog until 1952, when he became the chief engineer of advanced aircraft designs at the Scientific Research Institute in Novosibirsk. In 1956, during the De-Stalinization under Nikita Khrushchev, Bartini was officially rehabilitated by the Soviet state. The following year he was transferred to the OKBS MAP design bureau in Lyubertsy with Pavel Vladimirovich Tsybin, and received backing from Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov, at the time the Minister of Defense of the USSR. Zhukov was forced out the position shortly afterwards, and most of the projects he backed were cancelled. In 1961, Bartini had proposed a nuclear-powered supersonic long-range reconnaissance aircraft.

Bartini was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967.

Ground effect vehicles[edit]

Partial remnants of the VVA-14 at the Central Air Force Museum.[1]

In the mid-1950s, Bartini became involved in ground effect vehicles, named ekranoplans, which the Soviet government developed a great interest in. The extensive development of these vehicles led to Bartini's first output in 1964, with the Be-1, a small prototype ekranoplan made for research by the Beriev Design Bureau. In 1968, Bartini returned to Taganrog to specifically develop seaplanes, where began development of his last known project, the Bartini Beriev VVA-14, an experimental ekranoplan featuring vertical takeoff intended to be used in anti-submarine warfare against American submarines armed with Polaris missiles.

Death[edit]

Bartini died on 6 December 1974, in Moscow, at the age of 77-years-old. He was buried in Vvedenskoye Cemetery with a grave featuring a monument with the inscription "In the land of the Soviets, he kept his oath to devote all life to the red planes flew faster than Black". Bartini had almost no contact with Italy since he had left in the 1920s, except for meetings with Italian communists Umberto Terracini and Antonio Gramsci at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the October Revolution. Beriev eventually cancelled the VVA-14 project as development slowed and eventually stopped after Bartini's death.

Influence[edit]

Bartini influenced many Soviet aircraft engineers, particularly Sergey Pavlovich Korolev who named Bartini as his teacher. At various times and to different degrees, Bartini has been connected with other prominent Soviet aircraft engineers such as Sergey Ilyushin, Oleg Antonov, Vladimir Myasishchev, Alexander Yakovlev and many others.

Bartini's Effect, a phenomenon in aerodynamics where drag is reduced and thrust is increased when aircraft propellers are arranged of two motors in a tandem, was named in honor of Bartini as it was first used on his DAR airplane.

List of Bartini's aircraft designs[edit]

This table of Bartini's designs incorporates information extracted from the Russian language Wikipedia article on Bartini. "(Prototype)" indicates an aircraft project where a physical example was built to some extent but was never operational. "(Draft)" indicates an aircraft project that was likely a prefeasibility study where no physical examples were built.

Name Description
A-55 (Prototype) Medium-range bomber flying boat (1955)
A-57 (Draft) Jet-powered flying boat strategic bomber with a range of 14,000 kilometers (8,700 mi) (1957)
AL-40 (Draft) Nuclear-powered hydroplane, SibNIA, 1960s.
DAR Stainless steel flying boat for long range Arctic reconnaissance.
Be-1 Light amphibious ekranoplan for the study of ground effect. (1961)
E-57 Seaplane bomber, carrier cruise missile K-10 nuclear bomb. Crew - 2 people. By design, the plane was identical to the A-57. Tailless. Range - 7000 km
Yer-2 (DB-240) Military version of the Stal-7 developed by Vladimir Yermolaev. (June 1940)
Yer-2 2xAM-35 (April 1942)
Yer-2 2xACh-30B ~300 were built. 3x1000kg bombs. Max speed 446 km/h. Range 5000 km.
MTB-2 (Draft) Maritime heavy bomber (1929-1930)[7]
MVA-62 (Prototype) Amphibious aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing. (1962)
P-57 (F-57) (Draft) Supersonic bomber variant of the A-57.
R 53.6K (?) All the aerodynamic surfaces were "calculatable" and have up to 4-th derivative function value. 1940s.
R-AL (Draft) Nuclear-powered long-range reconnaissance variant of the A-57 (1961)
Stal-6 Experimental fighter, established Soviet speed record in 1933.
Stal-7 Twin-engined stainless steel 12-seater passenger aircraft prototype, established international speed record in 1936 (1935)
Stal-8 Fighter based on Stal-6 (1934)
T-107 (Prototype) Passenger plane (1945)
T-108 (Draft) Light transport aircraft (1945)
T-117 (Prototype) Two-engined transport aircraft prototype - scrapped before finished (1948)
T-200 (Prototype) Heavy amphibious military transport (1947)
T-203 (Draft) Supersonic plane with ogival wings (1952)
T-210 (Prototype) Variant of the T-200 (draft)
T-500 (Prototype) Heavy transport ekranolët'* (draft)
VVA-14-1/M-62 (Prototype) Experimental anti-submarine vertical takoff ekranoplan. Variant with pontoons designated 14M1P.
  • Ekranolët' refers to a hybrid ground effect vehicle (ekranoplan) also capable of flight at more regular altitudes.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Ciampaglia 2009, p. 28.
  2. ^ Chutko (1978)
  3. ^ Ciampaglia 2009, pp. 11-12.
  4. ^ Ciampaglia (2009)
  5. ^ Oros di Bartini (1965)
  6. ^ Oros di Bartini (1966)
  7. ^ Gordon, Yefim; Komissarov, Sergey (2013). Unflown wings : Soviet and Russian unrealized aircraft projects 1925-2010. Birmingham: Ian Allan Publishing Ltd. pp. 90-91. ISBN 978-1906537340.
Bibliography
  1. Chutko, I. (1978) Red aircraft. Moscow: Political Literature. (russ. И. Чутко "Красные самолёты". М. Изд. полит. литературы, 1978)
  2. Ciampaglia, Giuseppe. La vita e gli aerei di Roberto Bartini. (In Italian) Roma, IBN Istituto Bibliografico Napoleone, 2009. ISBN 88-7565-076-4.
  3. Roberto Oros di Bartini. Some relations between physical constants. In: Doklady Acad. Nauk USSR, 1965, v.163, No.4, p. 861-864 (In English, Russian); Originally: Доклады Академии наук, 1965, т.163, №4, c.861-864.).
  4. Roberto Oros di Bartini. Some relations between physical constants. In the collection: Problems of the Theory of Gravitation and Elementary Particles, Atomizdat, 1966, p. 249-266, in Russian only (сборник Проблемы теории гравитации и элементарных частиц, М., Атомиздат, 1966, с.249-266).
  5. Roberto Oros di Bartini. Relations Between Physical Constants. In: Progress in Physics, 2005., v.3, p. 34-40, (in English).
  6. Kuznetsov O.L., Bolshakov B.E. (2000) Kuznetsov P.G. and the problem of sustainable development of the humanity in the system nature-society-man. /russ. О. Л. Кузнецов, Б. Е. Большаков. П. Г. Кузнецов и проблема устойчивого развития Человечества в системе природа—общество—человек. 2000)
  7. Avdeev Ju. (2008) Prescient Genius, Red Star. (russ. Ю. Авдеев, (2008), Гений предвидения, "Красная звезда".) Retrieved 22-Oct-2010 from https://web.archive.org/web/20110615132209/http://www.redstar.ru/2008/01/23_01/4_01.html

Further reading[edit]

  • Bartini information in Russian Retrieved 14-Feb-2005.
  • 1989. The collection "the Bridge through time". (russ. сборник "Мост через время")

External links[edit]