Gleb Kotelnikov was neither aircraft designer, nor pilot. He was a military officer by profession and actor in his heart. Who knows whether he could become second Mozzhukhin, yet a tragedy ruined his artistic career. It happened during the All-Russia Holiday of Aeronautics which took place in autumn 1910 in Saint Petersburg – the plane piloted by Lev Matsiyevich broke into pieces in full view of the shocked spectators. The response of stunned eyewitnesses was different – poet Alexander Blok wrote poem Aviator, while actor Gleb Kotelnikov started inventing a parachute. The retired artillery lieutenant was not the first one to try it. Leonardo da Vinci who lived four centuries before the aeronautics age is rightfully considered the pioneer in this cause. Leonardo’s followers even invented an umbrella parachute which was heavy and extremely uncomfortable. Kotelnikov came up with an idea to put the parachute into a backpack and equip it with an innovative latch. The test operations were successful, and parachute RK-1 (which means “Russian by Kotelnikov”) was added to the list of inventions that our country is rightfully proud of. Kotelnikov’s name was later immortalized – the village of Salizi near Gatchina, where the tests of backpack parachute took place, now bears the name of Kotelnikovo. Besides, the visitors of Saint Petersburg can use Kotelnikov Alley to get to Matsiyevich Square.
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Information provided by the Scientific Russia News Agency. Media outlet’s registration certificate: IA No. FS77-62580 issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media on July 31, 2015.
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