When we talk about BI (Berenyak-Isayev experim
ental rocket engine interceptor-fighter), and his evolution we related to a particular person: Bakhchivandzhi. In this document we are going to talk about his talented life and his achievements. I hope you enjoy his history.
Capt. Grigory ya. Bkahchivandzhi, the BI interceptor’s second Project test pilot-and the first to make a powered flight int the BI [GORDON, Yefim. Soviet Rocket Fighters-Red Star [vol.30]. Midland Publishing, Hinckley (England), 2006. Pg. 15.]
Grigory Yakovlevich Bakhchivandzhi was born on 20th February 1909 in the village of Brinkovsakaya in Krasnodar Territory. At an early age he had worked in a foundry, then as assistant driver of steam locomotive after he had taken part in the construction of a factory in Mariupol and worked as a mechanic there. In 1931 enrolled in red Army, three years later he graduated from the Orenburg Military Flying School. In 1935 he became a test pilot at the Air Force Research Institute –NII-. At first Bakhchivandzhi flew reconnaissance aircrafts, then fighters. Some time later he became a talented flight testing pilot of aircraft engines.
Consequently the Second World War, in 1941 he had interrupted his work as test pilot. In that moment many Air Force NII test pilots became combat pilots, Bakhchi joined combat as a pilot of the 402nd special fighter regiment. Between 1st July and 10th August Bakhchivandzhi flew seventy two combat sorties, he took part on the air battles in a fighter squadron during the first months and shot down six enemy aircraft. In mid-August 1941 he, recalled from the front to continue his test work at NII VVS. Was in this period of time that Bakhchi wrote the firsts pages about earlier history of rocket propeller development. Bakhchivandzhi with more test pilots and different engineers, participate in testing BI jet plane.
Project to develop a high-speed rocket-engined fighter, build for designer Aleksandr Yakovlevich Berenyak –the leading engineer who developed the aircraft’s airframe- and Aleksei Mikhailovich Isayev –the leading engineer who development the fuel system, Il’ya Florov –deputy chief designer who directed the design work on the aircraft and the calculations-, working at OKB of Viktor Fedorovich Bolkhovitinov. The testing of new aircraft technology, course near Sverdolovsk, where the Air Force NII had been evacuated from suburban Moscow area of Shchelkovo.
(coord.) National Geographic Society; (Ed.) National Geographic Maps. Atlas National Geographic: Asia I [vol. 4]. RBA Coleccionables, España, 2004. Pg. 26
“This was the world’s first –ever flight of fighter with a liquid-fuel rocket motor specially designed for the purpose of intercepting high-altitude bombers.”
A drawing depicting the “mighty foursome”- the people involved in the development and testing of the BI –in front of the aircraft. Left to right: airframe designer A. Ya. Bereznyak, propulsion system designer A.M. Isayev, test pilot G. Ya. Bakhchivandzhi and OKB-293 head V.F. Bolkhovitinov. [GORDON, Yefim. Soviet Rocket Fighters-Red Star [vol.30]. Midland Publishing, Hinckley (England), 2006. Pg. 15.]
On 15th May 1942 Bakhchivandzhi performed first flight in the BI first model. On 17th October 1942 he was awarded with the Order of Lenin for the testing of the world’s first combat fighter powered by a liquid-fuel rocket motor. Spent seven month for Bakhchinvandzhi’s second flight. On 10th January 1943 executed flight in the second model of the BI aircraft. In this test flight the aircraft reached an altitude of 1,000 meters in 63 seconds at a speed of 400 Kilometers/hour. Two months later, on 11 and 14 March, having returned from Moscow, Bakhchi executed the fourth and five fifth flights. The aircraft could now reach an altitude of 4,000 meters after the engine had run for 80 seconds, with a maximum climb rate of 82 meters/second. On 21th March 1943 he performed the sixth flight with new third model of the BI. The particularities to these test consisted in the aircraft carrying the full battle scale of ammunition at maximum thrust. On 27 March Bakhchi performed seventh flight of the BI, the last flight for this brilliant pilot. This test flight end with death of Bakhchivandzhi. In that flight Bakhchi had got “attainment of an airspeed of 750-800 Km/h in level flight at 2,000 meters (6,560 ft), with and engine thrust of 1,100 kpg (2,425 Ibst). The amount of propellants in the tanks was 497kg (1,096 Ib). The BI No.3 easily lifted off the runway, climbed to altitude and tansitioned to level flight. After the automatic shut down of themotor, which had been in operation for 27 seconds in that flight, nothing foreboded trouble. All of a sudden the aircraft, which was flying horizontally, lowered it nose, entered a dive and plunged into a frozen lake near a small village (…)The flight had lasted 6 minutes and 42 seconds”
Grigory Bakhchivandzhi poses beside the skiequipped second prototype (BI No.2), “2 Whitte”. . [GORDON, Yefim. Soviet Rocket Fighters-Red Star [vol.30]. Midland Publishing, Hinckley (England), 2006. Pg. 16.]
REASONS THAT CAUSED THE FIGHTER ENTER IN DEATH DIVE
The accident investigation “report the board noted that phenomena taking place at speeds of 800-1000 km/h (496-621 mph) had not yet been explored. In the opinion of the “tin Kickers”, these speeds could be accompanied by new factors influencing the controllability stability and control forces; these factors might diverge with the current notions and, in consequence, might fail to be taken into account.“The true air speed was never documented; the flight recorders were destroyed in the crash and there were no precise ground measurements. It is worth remembering that at that time the official world speed record was 709,2 kilometers/ hour. The commission determined that the aircraft did not break up in the air. They could only hypothesize that during high speeds in flight new phenomena occur which affect controllability and loads on the controls. Four years later, tests conducted in the new TsaGI wind tunnels confirmed the possibility of an aircraft being dragged into a dive at speeds of around 800-1,000 kilometers/ hour.”
How Boris Chertok wrote in his book Rocket and People [vol.I]: “Bakhchivandzhi died having executed a “flight into the future”. There was much in this “future” ahead of us that was unknown and dangerous(…) Bakhchivandzhi was the first Soviet man to take off directly from the Earth’s surface using the thrust of a liquid-propellant rocket engine.”
- (1973) was awarded title Hero of the Soviet Union
- Bronze bust was placed at Sverdlovsk Airport
- (1984) erected a monument to Bakhchivandhi on his hometown the Cossack village of Brinkovskaya
- CHERTOK, Boris. E. Rockets and People [vol. I]: The NASA History Series. NASA History Office, Washington, 2005. Pg. 197-198
- GORDON, Yefim. Soviet Rocket Fighters-Red Star [vol.30]. Midland Publishing, Hinckley (England), 2006. Pg. 21 /25-27