This story was first published on May 4th, 2010
Circulating message claims that attached images depict a K-7, an exceptionally large aircraft built in Russia during the 1930s.
The K-7 was a real aircraft that was indeed designed and built during the 1930s in Russia. However, the images that come with the message are only an artist’s rendition of the aircraft. They make the aircraft appear much larger than it really was. The images are not accurate depictions of the real aircraft.
Subject: K7 heavy bomber The most amazing airplane in History…..
Built in Russia during the 1930s, it flew 11 times before crashing and killing 15 people.
The designer, Konstantin Kalinin, wanted to build two more planes but the project was scrapped. Later, Stalin had Kalinin executed. Evidently, it was not good to fail on an expensive project under Stalin.
It’s got propellers on the back of the wings, too. You can count 12 engines facing front. The size would be equivalent to the Empire State Building on its side, with cannons. And you think the 747 was big… not only a bunch of engines but check out the cannons the thing was carrying.
In the 1930s the Russian army was obsessed by the idea of creating huge planes. At that time they proposed to having as many propellers as possible to help carrying those huge flying fortresses into the air, jet propulsion has not been invented yet.
Not many photos were saved from those times because of the high secrecy levels of such projects and because a lot of time has already passed. Still, on the attached photos you can see one such plane – a heavy bomber K-7.
Can you imagine what it would be like sitting in this thing when those cannons go
The rather compelling images that come with this widely circulated message are said to depict the “K7”, an exceptionally large aircraft built in the Soviet Union during the 1930s. The description that accompanies the images notes that the aircraft was designed by Russian aviator Konstantin Kalinin.
According to the message, the aircraft crashed on its eleventh test flight killing 15 people. While these claims are true, other information in the message is less factual. Moreover, the images that come with the message are not photographs but rather an artist’s renditions of how one of these aircraft might have looked. And the person who created these renditions used a considerable amount of “artistic licence” in his or her work.
While the K7 was certainly large, these images depict an aircraft much larger than the one that was actually built. The images also show a plane with more engines – 12 rather than the actual 7 – and considerably more firepower than the original aircraft.
Crew: minimum 11
Capacity: 120 passengers in civilian configuration
Length: 28 m (91 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 53 m (173 ft 11 in)
Wing area: 454 m² (4,886.8 ft²)
Empty weight: 24,400 kg (53,793 lb)
Loaded weight: 38,000 kg (83,776 lb)
Powerplant: 7× Mikulin AM-34F V-12 piston engines, 560 kW (750 hp) each
Another article by Alexandre V Savine of the Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics also gives details about the aircraft. Both military and civilian versions of the aircraft were designed. More prototypes of the aircraft were ordered after the crash, but the project was shelved in 1935 before the planes could be completed.
Reports suggest that the plane’s designer Konstantin Kalinin was indeed executed as an “enemy of the state” in 1938 during one of Stalin’s purges. However, it is unclear if Kalinin’s fate was a direct result of his involvement with the K7 project as suggested in the message.
The images that come with this message are only 3 in a longer series of artist’s renditions depicting the plane. As shown below, others in the series are even more fanciful and depict the K7 in a close encounter with an even more outlandish aircraft:
A photograph of the real K7. This plane is obviously much smaller than the one depicted in the above images.