Igor Sikorsky (1889-1972) was a Russian pioneer of aviation who designed and flew the world's first multi-engine aircraft and modern helicopter, and developed the first of Pan American Airways' ocean-conquering flying boats in the 1930s. Sikorsky became interested in aviation after reading about the Wright brothers and studied engineering in Paris. He soon began making his own designs for helicopters and airplanes. His early work included the construction, as chief engineer, of the first four-motor aircraft. He was also the test pilot for its first flight in 1913. He designed the world's first long-range strategic bomber and reconnaissance squadron, which became a stronghold of the Russian air force.
Sikorsky emigrated from Russia to the United States in 1918 due to the Civil War. In 1923 he founded Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation; his major success was an amphibious plane used for commercial transport. In the 1930s he designed the first practical single-rotor helicopter, which was used widely for rescue and supply missions by the U.S. Army. In 1942, the Sikorsky R-4, the United States Air Force's first service helicopter became the world's first production helicopter, pioneering a rotor layout used by most helicopters today.
The Sikorsky R-4