I guess most of us have heard of and some have even seen the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-29 Superfortress. Fewer may have heard of the Kalinin K-7.
The Kalinin K-7 was an early 1930’s Soviet Russian design for a bomber aircraft with a possible civilian configuaration. As you can see in the photograph above, it was a bulky and unusual design. The first test flight revieled some design flaws and structural weaknesses and the plane was grounded again, some modifications were made which did not really tackle the structural weaknesses. As a result, after a number of testflights the K-7 crashed killing 14 people.
The project was more or less halted. I cannot say wether or not the K-7 had any real potential. Perhaps some more modifications would have turned it into a truely formidable aircraft, alas, Kostyantyn Kalinin, the designer was arrested on false charges of espionage and executed in 1938. One of the many victims of Stalin’s Great Purge.
The K-7 still lives on in the imagination of aviation enthusiasts and Dieselpunks alike. It has actually been expanded with some design graphics floating around the Ætherweb adding massive cannons to its configuaration and several more engines to its wings.
I also find it quite amusing that the K-7 encounters a Vril Reichsflugscheibe over the war-torn skys of Europe in some of these images:
Again, I do not know who is resposible for those images. I will be happy to add full credentials and a link to the artist’s homepage if someone points it out to me.
I wonder if the K-7 had ever made it to mass-production and frontline service if it had not been for Kalinin’s untimely demise at the hands of Stalin’s henchmen. One thing is for sure, though: There would never have been an encounter with a Reichsflugscheibe…