Detail from a photograph of Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the practical helicopter – Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Igor Sikorsky (1889-1972)

As a young man, Igor Sikorsky designed aircraft (of his own invention) in his native Russia before immigrating to the United States in 1919 to escape the Bolshevik Revolution. Four years later he founded the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation in Long Island and focused on producing seaplanes, but a fascination with vertical flight soon turned his attention to designing helicopters. On January 14, 1942, after designing a craft with a single main rotor (complimented by a smaller vertical rotor on the tail), Sikorsky piloted the first successful test flight of a helicopter in the United States. Today, his Sikorsky Aviation Corporation (based in Stratford) is one of the leading helicopter manufacturers in the world.


Igor Sikorsky and the first successful helicopter built in America, Stratford

Igor Sikorsky and his Flying Machines

This Russian émigré not only invented a machine capable of controlled vertical flight, he also re-invented his aviation career along the way.  …[more]

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Henry Ford Museum. “Donating the VS-300,” 2016. Link.
“Igor I. Sikorsky Historical Archives,” 2016. Link.


“National Helicopter Museum,” 2011. Link.
“New England Air Museum,” 2016. Link.


Connecticut Digital Archive. “Igor Sikorsky Collection,” n.d. Link.
Sikorsky, Igor I. Patent Number 1,848,389 - Aircraft of the Direct Lift Amphibian Type. 1848389. Nichols, CT, issued March 8, 1932. Link.
Sikorsky, Igor I. Patent Number 1,879,716 - Amphibian Aircraft. 1879716, issued September 27, 1932. Link.
Sikorsky, Igor I. Patent Number 1,994,488 - Direct Lift Aircraft. 1994488. Nichols, CT, issued March 19, 1935. Link.


Pember, Harry, Igor Ivan Sikorsky, Sikorsky Aircraft, and United Aircraft Corporation. Seventy-Five Years of Aviation Firsts. Stratford, CT: Sikorsky Historical Archives, 1998.
Cochrane, Dorothy, Von Hardesty, Russell Lee, and National Air and Space Museum. The Aviation Careers of Igor Sikorsky. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1989.
Sikorsky, Sergei I. The Sikorsky Legacy. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.