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Multi-motored Airplanes, 1933

Le Grand

In June of 1910, Sikorsky successfully flew his first airplane, the S-2. During the next few years, increasingly powerful designs were built and Sikorsky was issued a pilot's license by the Russian Imperial Aero Club. His S-5 model was a landmark in 1911, flying a circular course for four minutes. By 1912, the S-8 model had been reached and a variety of airplanes were being sold to the Russian army. Sikorsky moved on to anticipate passenger air travel.

Now working with the Russian Baltic Railroad Car Factory, he built and flew the world's first four-engine airplane, the "Le Grand," in May 1913. Indeed "grand," this well-appointed aircraft weighed about 4500 lbs, had a 92 feet wingspan, and four 100-horse power engines. An outside balcony permitted any of the four passengers to take an airy stroll, the passenger cabin boasted seats, a couch, and a washroom, and the pilots' cabin had two seats and dual controls. On June 18, 1914, a successor to Le Grand, the "Ilia Mourometz," set a world record by carrying eight passengers aloft for 1 hour and 54 minutes.