Obituary: Nikolai Kuznetsov

Nikolai Kuznetsov was a leading designer of aircraft engines in the Soviet Union for 40 years from 1946.

He headed the design teams for the engines that powered the TU-114, TU- 154, AN-22 and IL-62 airliners and the TU-144 supersonic passenger aircraft (dubbed "Concordski" in the West), and was the last survivor of the "Big Five" aviation scientists who played a key role in the Soviet war machine.

Kuznetsov worked closely with the four most secret names in aviation design: Sergei Korolev; Andrei Tupolev (who died in 1972); Sergei Ilyushin, with whom he worked until Ilyushin's death in 1977; and Oleg Antonov, who died in 1984.

Kuznetsov was born in 1911 in Aktiubinsk (White Hill), in Turgai Province. He attended Zhukovsky Military Aviation Engineering Academy, in Moscow, graduating in 1938, and going on to work at highly secret military institutes. This was a time when Korolev, Stalin's designer-in-chief, had been arrested on suspicion of being a German spy, and was working on jet engines with a group of other scientists, among them Tupolev, at a special prison laboratory.

In this atmosphere of spy paranoia, Kuznetsov was appointed deputy chief designer of military aircraft in 1943 and was put under surveillance by Lavrentii Beria's secret police. In 1946 he was made designer-in-chief of his institute. In 1956 Nikita Khrushchev appointed Kuznetsov to be Soviet Designer-in- Chief for aircraft engines. Until 1973, Kuznetsov's name was never mentioned in the Soviet press. He would be referred to only as "Glavny Konstruktor" ("Designer-in-Chief").

Jeanne Vronskaya

Nikolai Dmitreyevich Kuznetsov, aircraft engine designer: born Aktiubinsk 10 June 1911; died Samara 30 July 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Recruitment Genius: HR Consultant

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An HR Consultant is required to join thi...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable