Oldies & Oddities: Sikorsky's Piano Man
- By Vadim Prokhorov
- Air & Space magazine, November 2002
(Page 2 of 2)
Rachmaninoff made many visits to Sikorsky’s house, and the Sikorsky family attended Rachmaninoff’s concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Sergei Sikorsky recalls that Rachmaninoff once brought fellow pianist and composer Josef Hofmann to see Sikorsky building airplanes at his Stratford, Connecticut plant. “I remember my mother had to prepare an impromptu lunch for them,” recalls Sergei Sikorsky. “I also remember that there were two or three reporters that were following Rachmaninoff to the factory and then to our home, and I remember my father had to walk out to the front door and ask the press, ‘Gentlemen, please don’t walk in our front yard or back yard. Please don’t try to peek through the windows and photograph, because it is very impolite. We are here just with friends.’ ”
On September 25, 1924, after one more year of tribulations, including a crash, the S-29A took off successfully, and with it the Sikorsky company. Many demonstrations and charter flights followed, but the company made its first real profit—$500—by using the airliner to transport, appropriately, two grand pianos from New York City to Washington, D.C.