H.Nowarra, G.Duval Russian Civil and Military Aircraft 1884-1969
Possibly inspired by the Wright brothers’ success in 1903, the impact of which was not felt in Europe for some time, the year 1907 saw an upsurge of interest in heavier-than-air flight in Russia. Still lacking a lightweight power unit, the designers and would-be aviators turned to the next best thing - gliders, and in that year a large number of designs were created. The most successful gliders were copied, resulting in a more or less standard biplane layout with tail control surfaces carried aft on outrigger struts. The pilot’s position, or rather posture, owed something to the Lilienthal gliders of the late nineteenth century, for this consisted of hand-holds only, the aviator using his legs as an undercarriage! Among these enthusiasts was A. N. Tupolev, who had been interested in this type of aircraft for some time, and had built several efficient flying models.