Tupolev ANT-9 / PS-9
The ANT-9 was created in AGOS TsAGI (the first was called the Tupolev Design Bureau however, in reality, this machine was originally created at the initiative of the military. The very idea of designing a large (by the then standards) passenger aircraft originated in the mid-1927 within the walls of the Office of Air Forces RKKA (Red Army UWS).
The military was aware that the CAF - Air Force Reserve provided additional development of the aviation industry and related industries, the airfield network, and trained cadres of pilots and ground staff. In the event of war, civilian aircraft would join the military transport aviation. Moreover, in wartime, a passenger plane could turn into a battle plane. The question fot the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) at UWS was whether it will be a bomber with the ability to transport passengers, or an airliner capable of carrying bombs and machine guns.
On October 27th, 1927 TsAGI specified the basic characteristics of the aircraft speed of at least 190-195 km / h, ceiling 4,500-5,000 meters, payload of 750 kg and a crew of three. The first task was to build a passenger ship used as a military transport plane, the second is the creation on its base bomber modification.
Tupolev found a compromise that allowed a fast and relatively cheap build. He proposed to build a passenger aircraft at the military base. On April 9 1928 at a meeting of the STC, Tupolev reported on the conceptual design of the new aircraft, named ANT-9. It was a three-engine all-metal monoplane with the wing overhead.
Tupolev prepared three options for the project with different engines. The first three engines would be the Gnome-Rhone "Titan", the second and third - a combination of the two American "Wright" J4 and one French Gnome-Rhone "Jupiter." The number of passenger seats variants differed in total payload, gross weight, as well as range and speed. The plane with the three Titans of 230 hp provided a small gain in speed and range. Tupolev emphasized the use in the project of components and assemblies of other aircraft that were created in the TsAGI - ANT-3 (R-3), ANT-7 (R-6) and ANT-8. Most borrowed from R-6. From it they took wing and tail.
Evaluation of the project considered the aircraft of modern western standard of the same weight carrying capacity. Tupolev was told that the fuselage was overly broad and could be narrowed to 10-15 cm, however, in general opinion was favorable.
A little later, the Commission on the organization of passenger aircraft, established by order of the UWS June 12, 1928 including representatives from the Air Force, TsAGI, Aviatresta, Osoaviahima and airlines' Dobrolet. " Chairman was appointed as deputy head of the UWS Ya.I.Alksnisa. Work on the ANT-9, and labor agreement were decided. Total allocated for the design was 100 thousand rubles. Half of this amount allocated Air Force, and others equally "Dobrolet" and Osoaviakhim. According to the agreement concluded with the TsAGI prototype ANT-9 was required to be presented on May 1, 1929.
For the first machine of the three chosen engines were 230 hp Gnome-Rhône Titan. This five-cylinder radial air-cooled engine was developed in England by Bristol, while France produced them under license.
The lead engineer was A.A.Arhangelsky, who also designed the fuselage. Wing was engaged in VM Петляков, шасси - А.Н. Petlyakov, chassis - AN Путилов, оперением - Н.С.Некрасов, силовой установкой - братья Е.И. Putilov, feathers - N.S.Nekrasov, propulsion - the brothers E. и И.И.Погосские. and I.I.Pogosskie. September 24 completed the drawing of the general form.
In fact, re-done with the center fuselage, were landing gear and engines. The fuselage had a cross-section, close to rectangular, and made entirely of kolchugalyuminiya - the German equivalent of the Soviet duralumin. Corrugated sheathing was performed, and the closer to the tail, it took over some loads. Increased rigidity of the fuselage diagonal bands. In the nose housed the central engine. The cabin held two pilots and flight engineer. Inside, was a partition passenger compartment, two rows of the left and right of passage, with nine passenger seats. In the interior there were clothes, luggage room and two toilets (in the documents of that time wrote simply - "toilet").
The center section was manufactured separately from the fuselage and was attached to its upper longitudinal members with four nodes. The fuselage was made entirely of imported special steel.
The engines frames had rubber bumpers to absorb vibration. Gasoline was placed in the wing tanks. The Titans had wooden fixed-pitch two blade props, specially designed to TsAGI. By November the building of the fuselage and wing of the prototype began. In March, proceeded to the strength tests.
Much of the new machine was bought abroad. From Germany, the entire lighting system, batteries, glass cockpit, fabric and artificial leather for the trim, even the mats. Tupolev liked the wicker chairs of "Merkur" from Dornier. Instruments were to be German and American.
Delays in imports is seriously hampered the assembly. The engines arrived late by three months, with no mufflers. The wheels were brought from France in time though, but smaller in diameter - in Paris trade mission members had mixed the size.
On March 27, the Commission agreed that delays should no longer be tolerated, wanting domestic materials and not waiting foreign arrivals. On April 30th, a day ahead of time, the prototype was ready. In appearance the aircraft had woven reed chairs made a small factory near Moscow. For ventilation all the passenger cabin windows opened, as for heating, there was none.
May 1, 1929 saw the ANT-9 in the middle of Red Square, demonstrating the new Soviet aircraft. A huge cart slowly moved the plane to toward Khodynka, Central Airport, at night.
When at the entrance to the airfield the procession began to cross the tram tracks but from the morning mist suddenly popped a tram. The driver did not have time to brake and the car crashed into a plane. Bending the console and completely blew the roof off the tram, the wing is almost not affected.
Tupolev ANT-9 (URSS-309) was first flown by M.M. Gromov on May 7 (some sources say 5th), 1929 at Khodynka. Originally it had no registration and was painted in natural metal colors. In May 1929, it was registered as URSS-309.
Just a few days was spent piloted by Gromov for factory testing . The plane was very successful. After the first flight Tupolev brought to the airfield his family, and literally forced the pilots to carry the unplanned passengers.
May 16, 1929 started the state tests in the Air Force Institute. The aircraft was piloted by the same Gromov and Stoman for an engineer. The tests were until 28 May and it was noted that the aircraft is stable, the control force small, with no tendency to stall or spontaneously reverse.
Although the ANT- 9 did not meet the requirements to climb above 1,500 m, the practical ceiling and takeoff distance , an overall assessment of the Research Institute of the report was: " the ANT -9 is a very good passenger aircraft and some quality is undoubted advantage over the best foreign similar power planes."
Observations made in the Institute concerned secondary issues and were easy to handle : seizing vent in the cockpit, a high level of noise in the cabin. An important point was insufficient deflection angle of the stabilizer. In addition, employees of the Research Institute clearly seized n the process of refueling with gasoline. From a barrel with bucket into the filler neck. To prepare the machine to fly in such a way it took half a day .
Tests were completed by a small flight Moscow- Serpukhov - Kashira -Moscow . Already on June 6 Gromov, co-pilot Mikheev, Spirin navigator and mechanics Rusakov and Monakhov flew the ANT- 9 to Odessa. It was a kind of rehearsal before the tour on the capitals of Europe, scheduled for July. The appearance of the ANT- 9 in Odessa included a courtesy visit to a group of Italian pilots who arrived in flying boats S.55. Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force de Pinedo even a little fly on the Soviet machine.
On June 6, 1929 the aircraft left for Odessa. On July 10, 1929, with Tupolev on board taking a vacation in Odessa, with a group of his chief of staff and UWS PI Baranov, and Gromov, heading for Kiev. Approaching to the Dnieper, the plane entered rain. Suddenly the speed of the machine began to fall. When she approached the stall speed, they had to make an emergency landing. Swollen blisters on the props had reduced thrust. Remains of fabric were cut off with penknives. Since the area was too small to take off, a portion of gasoline was sent on foot to a nearby village with passengers. With Tupolev on the plane, Gromov took off safely.
On July 10 the aircraft went on an overseas tour. At this time the crew consisted only of Gromov and the mechanic Rusakov. ANT-9 was carrying a group of pilots and journalists. During the month of the "Wings of the Soviets' they visited Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Marseilles and London. The aircraft behaved perfectly. On the Moscow-Berlin Gromov flew 10:00 against a strong wind. Returning on August 8.
The only unpleasant incident occurred over southern France. ANT-9 suddenly went into a dive, and then began to tremble. The pilot immediately landed on a small meadow. After inspecting the aircraft, he said quietly: "Well, I thought - a coffin." Buffeting arose from the opened hatch on the center from a burst of vibration of a broken engine mount tube. The tube is welded by a local garage mechanics, and ANT-9 flew on.
The fact that the ANT-9 launch into production, was determined in advance. The plane actually did not exist, and it had entered into a five-year plan for development of civil aviation. In the first option plan, prepared in July 1928, three airlines, then existing in our country - "Dobrolet", "Ukrvozduhput" and "Derulyuft" gathered over five years to put a total of 148 vehicles of this type into service.
Few had the desire to acquire the new aircraft. The aircraft factories Aviatrest was so overwhelmed with orders and flatly refused to release the ANT-9. At the beginning of 1929 Alksnis even appealed to the President of "Dobrolet" V.N.Ksandrovu with a proposal to build the plant themselves in Voronezh. But even if "Dobrolet" would agree to this, the construction would take a long time, and the ANT-9 were needed now.
Aviatrestu began to "twist arms" at all levels. As a result, its leaders surrendered in April and ordered to start commercial production at the plant 22 in Fili - the only one who has had experience in producing all-metal machines. During the summer of 1929 TsAGI had sent drawings to the plant.
Initially it was assumed that the production ANT-9 would also receive " Titans". A large batch was ordered from France, but the fall of 1929 in the U.S. a representative went to a Soviet delegation headed by the Chief UWS PI Baranov. There she was negotiating with "Curtiss-Wright" the corporation on the three types of air-cooled engines; the 165, 225 and 320 hp. The last of them, "Wright" J5, was proposed for use of the ANT-9 instead of "Titans."
December 28, 1929 meeting of the UWS approved the decision to abandon the French engine and put the U.S. engines in all production machines.
The calculations showed that the more powerful, 320 hp Wright J6 would increase the speed and capacity, albeit at the expense of a decrease in range - the same amount of tanks, more "hungry" engines. Firm "Gnome and Rhonw" was sent a formal notice of termination of the contract. Baranov, in January 1930 ordered a small batch of Wrights.
As a prototype decided to use the prototype ANT-9, replacing motors on it. This operation was enacted to implement by 20 February 1930, but actually did not carry out adaptations. Experienced ANT-9 passed the "Dobrolet" with "Titans." September 15, 1930 returned to TsAGI. January 29, 1931 is registered as a Soviet-L101, transferred to Aeroflot.
But the entire series of 10 planes, planted at the beginning of 1930 the plant ╧ 22, has already had to get the Wright. Half of the machines designed for the Air Force, the other - for civilian pilots. The first six ANT-9 planned to deliver by July 1. Thus, the "unplanned" trehmotornik went into a series of one year earlier than the P-6, on the basis of which it did.
By the summer of several ANT-9 have already collected, but the motors from the United States do not have time. Since the plant was to carry out the plan, and the supply of engines lay on the responsibility of the customers had to start a "conditional" acceptance cars without engines. One such aircraft was in June and two more - in July. ""Wright" also began to mount in August.
Externally, the ANT-9, "Wright" differed from the prototype only in the absence cooks on the screws and partial nosing engines. The screws have others - U.S. Steel bought the firm, "Steel Propeller Corporation." By eliminating the shortcomings of the prototype, the course of the stabilizer increased. Empty weight increased slightly, mainly due to motoustanovki.
The three 172kW Gnome-Rhone Titan radials were replaced in series machines by domestic M-26s, which proved to be underpowered and were in turn replaced by imported Wright Whirlwinds of 224kW each. After the first batch of some 12 aircraft the design was revised to twin-engined configuration, with two 507kW M-17 engines raising maximum speed from 205km/h to 215km/h; this version was known usually as the PS-9, and about 70 were built.
The three-engined ANT-9s served with the Soviet-German airline Deruluft on the Moscow-Berlin service. Some were also operated by the VVS as troop or VIP transports.
The PS-9 was flown widely on passenger services, the most famous being the propaganda aircraft Krokodil, with a suitably decorated plywood nose complete with a set of sharp teeth.
Tupolev ANT-9 / PS-9