Above a table in his memorial office in the American city of Stratford hangs a card which he was most proud of in life. The card reads: “Igor I. Sikorsky... is hereby brevetted as airplane pilot,” The word “airplane” is struck out, corrected to read “Helicopter Pilot,” and the certificate bears a serial number one. This is Sikorsky’s biography in brief – one of the earliest pilots, one of the first aircraft designers.
He was born into the family of Professor of Kyiv University, psychiatrist Ivan Sikorsky, but did not follow his father's footsteps. Interest in engineering led him to the Polytechnic Institute. He built his first aircraft in 1910. After the plane crashed, Sikorsky discovered that mosquitoes nesting in the carburetor of its single engine were the cause of the crash. The distraught Sikorsky came to a thought that meant a revolution in aviation: he began designing multiengine aircraft: Grand, Russky Vityaz, Ilya Muromets. The imposing Ilya Muromets airplane has made a record flight in 1914 with sixteen passengers onboard. Commercial-scale production began – and in time, for World War I had broken out. A powerful bomber and reconnaissance plane served faithfully in the military. Converted aircraft was operated as late as 1921-22 for passenger service. By then, Sikorsky was already advancing the U.S. aviation industry. It was there that he managed to complete what he began in 1908 but failed at first – to design the first commercial-scale helicopter. After the Wright brothers, only one person succeeded with introducing a new kind of aircraft into practical use in the United States, and that man was Sikorsky – that’s how his contribution to aviation was appreciated by American aircraft engineers.