YouTube – Tupolev ANT-20
8 x 900 hp ea.
107 ft. 11 in.
206 ft. 8 in.
Produced as a model to show the world the superiority of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, the Tupolev ANT-20 (ANT = AN Tupolev) was the largest aircraft of its time. It set a number of world records for its class.
The Tupolev ANT-20 was designed by Andrei Tupolev. Its components were produced in numerous locations throughout the Soviet Union. That is much like the manufacturing of aircraft of today by major corporations. Their components are often made throughout the world. It is said that thousands of workers participated in the Tupolev ANT-20 construction with final assembly taking place in Moscow.
As an example of the strength of the Soviet Union, it was intended that the Tupolev ANT-20 would be the most modern, technically advanced aircraft built to date. Due to its size, the huge aircraft was a technical and financial challenge to construct. It is estimated to have taken some 750,000 man hours to build.
The first public flight of the Tupolev ANT- 20 took place over Red Square where it was witnessed by thousands of people celebrating a national holiday. It was praised by the Soviet press for its advanced features and excellence of design.
However, aviation experts outside of the Soviet Union were critical of the Tupolev ANT-20. They described it as an enlarged design of a current aircraft, with no new technology. Its construction was said to be of low quality using flawed materials.
In reality the Tupolev ANT-20 continued in the tradition of its recent predecessors. It was made primarily from steel cross members using steel sheeting as covering. The sheeting did not contribute to the structural integrity of the aircraft. The wings were designed using a main spar for strength. Cables ran from the cockpit to the engines, ailerons, elevator, and rudder for control. The landing gear of the Tupolev ANT-20 were not retractable and did not have wheel brakes.
About a year after its first flight, the Tupolev ANT-20 met its demise when a fighter escort collided with it, sending both down. Some 45 people perished as a result.
The Soviet Union produced a second aircraft with the same Tupolev ANT-20 designation. It was outwardly similar to the original, but without the push-pull engines on its centerline. It was used primarily as a passenger transport from 1938 through 1942.
The scratch built RC Tupolev ANT-20 built by Martin Hunter has a 10 1/2 foot wingspan and uses CD ROM motors for power. Weight is only a little over 7 lbs.
Martin describes the flight of his RC Tupolve ANT-20 as smooth and slow. The take off run is more of a hop into the air at less than full throttle. Because of the low wing loading, the RC Tupolev ANT-20 is best flown in minimal wind conditions. Due to its low stall speed, landings are very easy and in a very short distance.
You can download 3 view drawings from which to help build a RC Tupolev ANT-20 at Blueprints. com.
Dick Nadine at RC Universe started a build thread for a RC Tupolev ANT-20. Its wingspan is 60 in.