Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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TsAGI centenary in the history of aviation: the Beriev A-40 Albatros

19 December 2018

The multipurpose amphibious aircraft A-40 Albatross made its first flight in December 8, 1986. It was developed by the Beriev Taganrog Aviation Scientific Technical Complex with the active scientific assistance of the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) and became an outstanding phenomenon in the world hydroaviation.

The machine was developed initially for the anti-submarine warfare role. But already at the research and design stage there were provided alternative civil and double-purpose modifications: for search and rescue, fire-fighting and a mixed-class version. A number of new technical solutions found by engineers and scientists allowed the sea plane come ever closer in its aerodynamic characteristics to land-based analogues for the first time in the history of aviation. Herewith it is a unique slender boat (over 13.6) with a V-shaped bottom. The high-lift wing device is equipped with an automatic system of flaps extension after overcoming a hump drag and the flaps retraction right after water landing. The aerodynamic pitch damper is used for the damping of angular oscillations when driving up waves. It all assured the aircraft with exclusive seaworthiness. It is important to mention a highly efficient system of water diversion from water surfaces at speeds of 160-200 km/h. It was TsAGI’s initiative for the firefighting modifications.

During the TsAGI towing basin tests were made about 10 000 towing of the models. For the first time in domestic hydro-aircraft engineering the integral check of technical solutions was implemented on Ivankovskoe Reservoir using self-propelled flying models. There were held about 50 flights of the 1:10 and 1:13 scale models.

The A-40 was first presented to the public in 1989 in the Aviation Festival in Tushino. Then it participated in many demonstrations in the country and abroad, including the international air show at Le Bourget in 1991.The aircraft’s demonstrations were invariably accompanied by enthusiastic feedback from professionals and the public, they especially remarked the elegance and beauty of the new machine.

The A-40 made more than 140 legally registered world records even during testing. Despite the fact that the plane never entered mass production, all of its new solutions were fully applied at the production of the Be-200 amphibian aircraft.

TsAGI Press Service
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