Photos of this Soviet behemoth, posing as a K-7 designed by Konstantin Kalinin, have been zinging around the Internet lately, eventually landing on the desktops of National Air and Space Museum curators. “If it’s on the Internet, it must be true,” goes the saying.
No dice, says curator Von Hardesty, who specializes in Russian/Soviet aeronautical history. "No Kalinin design on this scale ever flew. A Russian caption suggests that this is a model of a purely hypothetical Kalinin design. K.A. Kalinin, who was later purged by Stalin, did design a prototype K-7 aircraft, a civilian version that flew briefly in the early 1930s. The K-7 was a large aircraft for its time, with seven engines (one pusher), but it did not match the giant Maxim Gorky (ca 1935). Both aircraft were destroyed in crashes."
Admits an otherwise anonymous “Randy,” posting on a Web site: “They are actually computer-generated graphics, embellished by the artists.”
To me, they evoke the grandiose designs of Bruce McCall, as seen on the cover (right) of one of his books.