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Unflown Wings

Unflown Wings Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2013 Title Unflown Wings
Author Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Classic Publications
Published 2013 ISBN 9781906537340
Format 640 pages, hardbound MSRP (GBP) £55.00


How about an attack version of the PS-84 airliner – the Soviet license-built DC-3?  Or a helicopter spinoff of the same Douglas design?  Or an executive jet variant of the MiG-25 interceptor?

Those are some of the terrific treasures unearthed in Unflown Wings from Classic – an imprint of Ian Allan Publishing.

Subtitled "Soviet and Russian Unrealised Aircraft Projects 1925-2010", this massive masterpiece by the matchless Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov takes readers on a wild, wondrous, 640-page tour of weird and wonderful wings.

Hundreds of strange, striking, surprising and, ultimately, stillborn studies saturate this colossal compendium.  Principal sections chronologically cover major names in Soviet and Russian aviation:

  • Tupolev
  • Polikarpov
  • Il'yushin
  • Mikoyan
  • Sukhoi
  • Yakovlev
  • Myasishchev
  • Antonov
  • Beriyev

A tenth chunky chapter recaps "Projects from various design bureaux and individuals".  And a final part probes sundry rotary-wing, tilt-rotor and VTOL projects.

Rocket to MiG's futuristic "Spiral" aerospace system.  There you'll find EPOS, a truly "epic" spaceplane design that supposedly achieved limited production – but never flew.  Reenter the atmosphere with Sukhoi COIN configurations – including an OV-10 clone with Su-25UB cockpit.  Marvel at Yak-40 parasite project fighters – six of which nested beneath Tu-4 wings.  And reenter space in Myasishchev's S-XXI aerospaceplane – for tourists!

But for me, the titanic, 166-page tenth chapter proved particularly provocative.  That's where you meet Borokov/Florov's "Aircraft 10".  The mixed power, 1940-vintage fighter-bomber sported cantilever wings, retractable tricycle undercarriage, 2,000 hp radial, auxiliary ramjet and projected "design speed" of 840 km/hr – 522 mph.  Not bad for a biplane!

Along the way, you'll also greet Moskalyov's 1934 SAM-4 Sigma fighter – an amazingly futuristic flying wing of ogival planform worthy of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers.  Then steel yourself for B.P. Ushakiv's astounding 1937 LPL "flying submarine"!

Over 800 hundred photos, drawings and diagrams – both color and B&W – flavor this fulsome feast.  And text traverses, maybe, 2,500 total topics.

From biplanes to UAVs, through designers famous and obscure, I thoroughly loved this terrific tome.  Treat yourself to loads of fascinating fun – and get Gordon and Komissarov's enormously entertaining effort.

Rabidly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Ian Allan Publishing for this review sample!