Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky was born on May 25, 1889, in Kiev, Russia. In his lifetime, he either saw or acted in the development of aviation from the Wright brothers to the exploration of space and the moon landing.
The youngest of five children (three daughters and two sons) of a professor of psychology, he received his early education and a liking for the work of Da Vinci and Jules Verne from his mother, who was also a trained physician.
During a 1900 vacation trip with his father to Germany, the young Sikorsky developed an interest in the sciences, intrigued enough by the news of aviation firsts to build a rubber-band powered helicopter model that lifted off the ground.
Back in Russia, at the age of fourteen, he moved into the Petrograd Naval Academy but left in 1906 to study engineering in Paris while revolutionary unrest was stirring in Russia. Back home following a year in Paris, Sikorsky entered the Polytechnic Institute of Kiev.
A further trip to Germany in 1908 secured his interest in aeronautics, as the achievements of the Wright brothers and the flights of von Zeppelin's dirigibles were becoming known. Sikorsky interrupted his studies for another trip to Paris where he learned from leading aviators and purchased equipment for his experiments. He determined to attempt aircraft design and follow his own determination to build helicopters.