Archive digitization



Aviation and Diplomacy

Frank Piasecki

NATO 1949-2009 Projekt ekspozycji w Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego w Krakowie



Polish Aviation Museum

31-864 Kraków,
al. Jana Pawła II 39
phone: (12) 640 99 60,
(12) 642 40 70
e-mail: info@muzeumlotnictwa.pl

a cultural institution of the Malopolska Region

Małopolska – Kraków Region


Patronage

Kraków Airport







Aeroplane: Grigorovich M-15

Grigorovich M-15
Russia
reconnaissance seaplane
1917



  • Technical data


Span 11.84 m
Length 8.25 m
Take-off weight 1320 kg
Maximum speed 125 km/h
Ceiling 3500 m
Range 5.5 hours
Armament A single flexible-mounted machine gun
Powerplant :
The V8 Hispano-Suiza, 140hp (103 kW) (the engine was started after restoration at the museum)
Virtual tour :

 

A reconnaissance flying boat of WWI Imperial Russian Navy.

The birth of naval aviation came easier than the birth of the army aviation. Long range potential of the aircraft was noticed by the navies' high commands even before the outbreak of the war. The ground-breaking development of artillery, lasting since the 1860's, increased the range of fire up to 20,000 metres. The development in the ships' construction, on the other hand, increased the maximum speed of naval vessels up to 25 knots. Thus a need arose for artillery spotting of fast-moving targets behind the sight range of observers serving on warships. At first, the airship was employed in the role of naval artillery spotter, however it was expensive and onerous in use. The emergence of fixed-wing aircraft seemed to offer a better solution.

Since 1911, the Russian Imperial Navy employed French-built seaplanes (i.e. Farman, Borel and Léveque). The maintenance of the aircraft was performed at the S. S. Shchetinin & M. A. Shcherbakov Works in St. Petersburg. Since 1913 the works had been led by Dmitry Pavlovich Grigorovich. In the same year he designed, based on French originals, a successful M.1 aircraft with a boat-like fuselage. This was the beginning of a family of light flying boats, which served with distinction during the First World War.

In Autumn 1915 the Imperial Russian Navy issued an order for a heavier flying boat intended for long-range reconnaissance. In December 1915 Grigorovich built the M-9 type, which first flew on 9th January 1916. Notably, on 17th September 1916 the M-9 became the first flying boat to perform a loop, piloted by test pilot Jan Nagórski. A serious weakness of the design, however, was the licence-built Salmson-Unne radial engine. Therefore, in 1916 an improved variant designated the M-15 was built, powered by the excellent Hispano-Suiza V8 engine. Only 80 M-15 machines were built.

The Grigorovich M-15 was a long range flying boat biplane with the wing canopy placed over the fuselage, a pusher propeller and the empennage placed on a pylon, in the propeller's air stream, which increased the steering efficiency. The semi-monocoque wooden construction was covered with stressed plywood skin attached to open work formers. The wings and empennage were made of wood covered with fabric. Two stabilising floats were fitted at the ends of the lower wing.

The Grigorovich M-15 number R II C 262, built in 1917, was assigned to the fortress flight in Arensburg on the Osilia (Saaremaa) island in the fortified Moonsund archipelago, which guarded the entrance into Riga bay. These islands were captured by the Germans during land and naval campaign codenamed Operation Albion from the 10th to the 24th October 1917. The result was 20,130 POWs, 141 cannons and 10 aircraft captured   among them, the R II C 262 flying boat. Tested in the Seaplanes Test Flight in Warnemünde, it eventually reached the German Aeronautical Collection in Berlin. Abandoned along with other wrecked remains of the collection in occupied Poland, found in 1945, in 1964 was moved over to the newly created Krakow's Museum as the only one, more or less complete, albeit damaged, First World War aeroplane. The restoration was undertaken by the end of the 1970s and was continued in the years 1991–1993. The aircraft is the only surviving M-15 example in the world.

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Dofinansowano ze środków Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
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