May 25 1889 – October 26 1972
Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky had been passionate about engineering from an early age. Originating from Kiev, Russian Empire (now Ukraine), Sikorsky attended the Mechanical College at Kiev Polytechnic Institute. Upon finishing the academic year, he travelled with his father to Germany at age 19. There, he came to learn of the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers’ Flyer and Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s dirigible. Sikorsky later said about this event: "Within twenty-four hours, I decided to change my life's work. I would study aviation.”
By the start of World War I in 1914, Sikorsky's airplane research and production business in Kiev was flourishing, and his factory made bombers during the war. But in November 1918 the war ended and the French government stopped subsidizing military orders. He arrived in the U.S. a few months later in 1919, to continue his work, much of which had now turned passionately toward helicopters.
By May of 1940, Sikorsky had successfully lifted his VS-300 helicopter off the ground in free flight. The ability to lift straight off the ground, as well as hover, forever changed the world.
He died in Easton, Connecticut at age 83.