Petr Nikolaevich Nesterov


R
ussian pilot P.N.Nesterov gained his fame as a creator of aerobatics. He was one of the first pilots in the World to reject concept of 'flat turns' (also known as 'pancake turn' or 'Major Headquarter turn'). While inventors were working hard on devices excluding any banking of the aircraft, he theoretically proved that bank is not a danger for flying machine.
Of course some of pilots dared to perform sharp turns with large bank angles, but this was explained by their exceptional talent rather than proper flight technic. 'There is everywhere support in the air!' - Nesterov said.
He was the first to perform the Nesterov Loop.
In 1909 he started to work on aircraft control means. In 1911 (presented August 31) he had a project of his own aircraft. This project was revised and improved in 1912-1914. Aircraft had unusual mechanism of wings 'wrapping'. But the most interesting feature (tested on rebuilt 'Neuport-IV') was complete elimination of tailfin and rudder. Instead right and left halves of the tailplane could be 'wrapped' in opposite directions, fulfilling rudder role.
Aircraft supposed to be equipped by aerodynamic brakes (installed on the tailplane) to provide shorter Landing Roll. Brakes on the landing gear served same goal.
His novelties were received with caution (not to say ignorance) but in 1913, being already a famous aviator, Nesterov was able to realise (partially) his project. After successful tests (Nesterov himself was not satisfied by results) another aircraft was in assembly on the 'Dux' factory, but outbreak of the WWI put the end to those plans.
But war failed to stop inventor's activity. Once most of aircraft in the beginning of the WWI were unarmed, Nesterov started to experiment with improvised weapons. He tried to use a line with weight (sort of fishing line!) which could be lowered from his aircraft and used to catch enemy propeller. He tried to attach a saw to the tailskid to attack zeppelins.
And his last air combat, ending in ramming enemy aircraft also reflects this search for means to destroy enemy... on any cost.
References:
  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" by V.B.Shavrov, Vol.1 p.117-120;
    Modified September 30, 1997
    by Alexandre Savine;
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