Kotelnikov’s Parachute

Kotelnikov’s Parachute
Kotelnikov’s Parachute
A memorandum has been preserved in the archives from reserve lieutenant Gleb Kotelnikov to the Minister of War, V. A. Sukhomnlinov, in which the inventor asks for funds for the construction of a prototype parachute stored in a backpack. He informs the Minister that “on August 4th in Novgorod a dummy was dropped twenty times from a height of 200 meters, without a single failure. The nature of my invention is as follows: a safety device for aviators with an automatically opening parachute…I am ready to try out my invention at Krasnoe Selo…”

In December 1911 the “Finance and Business Herald” informed its readers of successful patent applications, among them that of G. Ye. Kotelnikov, who however “for unknown reasons” did not receive the inventor’s patent. In January 1912 Kotelnikov made an application for his parachute in France, and on 20 March was granted a patent, number 438612. The first trials of the parachute were carried out on 2 June 1912 with the aid of an automobile. The machine was set in motion and Kotelnikov pulled on the rip-cord. The parachute, attached to the tow-bar, opened immediately. The braking force brought the automobile to a halt and the engine stalled. On 6 June trials of the parachute took place at the Gatchina camp of the Aeronautical School near the village of Salizi.

In 1923 Kotelnikov created a new model of his backpack parachute, RK-2, and subsequently a model RK-3 with a soft backpack, for which on 4 June 1924 he was granted patent no. 1607. In the same year he perfected a model for carrying freight, RK-4, with a diameter of 12 metres, able to support a load of up to 300 kilograms. In 1926 Kotelnikov handed all his inventions over to the Soviet government.

In commemoration of the trials of the first backpack parachute, the village of Salizi in the Gatchina region was renamed Kotelnikovo. And near the airfield a memorial was erected bearing a representation of a parachute.

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