Tupolev ANT-20 Maxim Gorki


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Tupolev ANT-20 Maxim Gorki

Built entirely for propaganda purposes at the behest of the Union of Soviet Writers and Editors to celebrate the career of the writer Maxim Gorkii (or Gorky), and paid for by public subscription, the giant ANT-20 toured the otherwise inaccessible areas of the USSR, bringing the communist message to the masses. To this end, the ANT-20 contained a small printing plant, a photographic studio, a cinema and a radio station. Of course, to show the wider world the superiority of Soviet aeronautics, the Maxim Gorkii had to be the largest aircraft in the world. Only a few subsequent aircraft (such as the B-36 and the An-124) have had greater wingspans. The six engines originally fitted were not enough and an extra pair were added on a pod above the fuselage. The Maxim Gorkii was lost when a Polikarpov I-5 fighter plane attempted a barrel roll around it. The fighter pilot, all 49 occupants of the ANT-20 and three people on the ground perished.

Jim Winchester "The World's Worst Aircraft", 2005


© As well as its media production and output capabilities, the ANT-20 had a cafeteria, an internal telephone exchange and sleeping accommodation for the crew. Some sources say it also had a laundry, a pharmacy and a bar.

© Four smaller auxiliary engines were required to drive various devices, including the giant sound system and a series of lights for displaying propaganda slogans at night.

© Six of the engines were mounted on the leading edge and the other two in a pusher-puller pod located above the rear fuselage.

© The giant wheel spats were probably the largest ever fitted to an aircraft.

© The crew is said to have been up to 23 people, although most of these were associated with the propaganda function. Between eight and 10 crew were involved in actually operating the aircraft.

Tupolev ANT-20 "Maxim Gorki" on YOUTUBE

Tupolev ANT-20 Maxim GorkiA three-view drawing (682 x 654)

  Take-off weight44000 kg97004 lb
  Wingspan64.0 m210 ft 12 in
  Length34.1 m112 ft 11 in
  Height7.0 m23 ft 12 in
  Wing area486.0 m25231.26 sq ft
  Max. speed275 km/h171 mph
  Cruise speed225 km/h140 mph
  Ceiling5500 m18050 ft
  Range900 km559 miles

tim@tim.com, 19.01.2021 21:59

this plane was the first to have a heated swimming pool


Barry, 30.04.2012 13:46

Perhaps we can go to the Boeing or DeHavilland sites and discuss windows and curtains.
There were three ANT20's built. The prototype was powered by 8 M-34FRN engines that developed 900hp each the two subsequent models were powered by 6 M-34FRN-Vs developing 1200 h.p. each. Along with the facts noted above each aircraft had their own AC /DC generators developing 120 volts. There was an autopilot and servo compensators for the rudder and elevators. The initial take off weight was 42 tonnes rising later to 53 tonnes. Finally the first aircraft crashed after an escorting ANT12, not a Polikarpov I-5, attemted a loop around the wing and collided with the undersurface.


Vahe David Demirjian, e-mail, 23.12.2022 Barry

There were two ANT-20s built, not three. The first ANT-20 had eight engines and was the one that collided with an escorting I-5. The second ANT-20 (PS-124) was a passenger aircraft with six M-34FRNV (later AM-35s), and it had a longer life than the first ANT-20, although it crashed in Uzbekistan after the pilot allowed a passenger to take his seat and the passenger apparently disengaged the automatic pilot.


peter, e-mail, 02.02.2012 17:13

Chaps,( and Chapesses ) you may have missed the point. No, it wasn't pressurized. The FUSELAGE is square. Never heard of a pressurized plane that didn't have a round fuselage. ( except poss the Short 360.Was that pessurized.
Boeing building Comets ! the very thought !


baiwang, 21.06.2011 07:03

Was this plane pressurized? Looks too early for pressurization. If not pressurized, SQUARE windows don't make ANY difference.


Sergei, e-mail, 29.11.2010 13:54

data is for ANT-20bis, NOT Maxim Gorki
ANT-20 had 8 x AM-34FRN with tandem push-pull nacelle atop


Vahe David Demirjian, e-mail, 23.12.2022 Sergei

You're definitely right, but the ANT-20bis and first ANT-20 nevertheless had the same airframe despite the second aircraft having a vertical stabilizer with a slightly different shape than the first aircraft.


Bob Henry, e-mail, 11.01.2010 19:02

The Comet Mk1,[De Havilland UK ], had square windows which failed at corner due to air pressure differential at altitude.The Comet 2 and comet 4 served with the RAF safely for many years.


Art Deco, 15.07.2009 18:58

3 Comets, Boeing 307, and easier to make curtains for square windows. Couldn't be a bomber unless they took out the grand piano.


matt, e-mail, 15.07.2009 16:12

The comet was indeed made in United Kingdom by the De-Havilland company, not all of them crashed only two.
The British Royal airforce still uses a variant of the comet called Nimrod for reconnaisance.


melissa, e-mail, 22.06.2009 00:32

the comment provided before was not mine / / someone put it there / / take it off thte comments / wattheheck man / /


Sgt.KAR98, 19.12.2008 00:54

Indeed,the first pressurized plane I know was the B-29.
And I suppose most planes had squared windows at that time.

Also,why they didn´t used it as bomber instead the TB-3?


Vahe David Demirjian, e-mail, 23.12.2022 Sgt.KAR98

The Soviet Union had a modern heavy bomber in World War II, the Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7), of which one aircraft was used by Stalin's top diplomat, Vyacheslav Molotov, to fly to the UK and US for negotiations to open up a second front against Nazi Germany in western Europe. However, only 93 Pe-8s were built, because most Soviet combat aviation in World War II involved tactical combat aircraft.


Barrett, e-mail, 19.10.2008 01:11

Pardon me, but did you say BOEING made the Comet? Check again. (Check Britain's 'De Havilland' company). Was this plane pressurized? Looks too early for pressurization. If not pressurized, SQUARE windows don't make ANY difference.


Daniel DR, e-mail, 03.07.2008 20:39

aerodynamical UNSAFE.....square windows...boeing tryed the same...and....lost the comet, every /one of them that they have build


Melissa Perez, e-mail, 14.05.2008 17:33

What a Craft? Very Good!


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