Moskow's Planes Manufacturer
This Russian military reconnaissance aircraft produced several models, and the company was funded by Vladimir Alexandrovitch Lebededev, a sport-pilot, which after trying foreing planes conceived his own glider, Ogognek, and went in France to study Farman's designs. Back home in 1912 he opened a workshop in St Petersburg, for reparing and making propellers of the integral Chauvières type. He was able soon to propose the assembly of Deperdussin planes, boat engines, and carriages for planes like the Nieuport IV. Unfortunately in 1913 the workshop burned. Lebedev however purchased a terrain near Moskow's main airfield, funding the Aktionervoye Obtitsestvo Vozoukhoplaniya VV Lebedev. He first manufactured Deperdussin models, Voisin types, and then some floatplanes, but in 1915he was ordered to reverse-engineering and copy a captured Albatros ad then declined a few prototypes using different engines. He was also in charge of building the experimental VM-4 from Villich, Gurevitch's Lebed XVII, K1 and Lebed-Grand from Kopakov-Mirochnitchenko, Slesarev's Sviatogor and Sea parasol from Fride. Until 1916 he woud create ten models, of which little is known. However after that time, he would design two models that competed with Sikorski: The Lebed VII, close to the Sopwith Tabloid, and propelled by a Gnome 80 hp, and the Lebed VIII (two prototypes), and eventually the Lebed X, in two versions, with a larger span, and specific cage, and a shorter-span version, repectively as an observation and fighter planes. Both had a Gnome 80 hp, with a 7.7 mm machine gun. But both are considered underpowered and were not ordered.
Lebed XII, the manufacturer "best seller" with over 200 produced until the revolution.
Before 1914, the featured fighter/observation plane from Lebed was a copy of the Deperdussin model D, and 63 of these planes derived from these French monoplane were built under licence, used on the frontline until 1917. Lebedev would acquired one of the next "Deperdiussen-Sport", "monocok N°11", and it was built in early 1916 with a Gnome 100 hp (74 KW), with a wooden propeller. The fuselage was made of wooden frames and canvas, and plywood for the central, forward section, and Lebedev tried, but failed, to fit a synchonized machine-gun. This ended all prospects to sold this model to the authorities, despite its 180 kph top speed. However, Lebed found success with the Lebed XII, derived from the model X but with the right propulsion, and a small serie was derived in 1915. Better still, the next Lebed XII was a success, massed-produced until the end of the war.
In strong are the production models, followed with the estimated numbers, in brackets
- Lebed-Deperdioussen D (1914)(63)
- Lebed-Voisin (1915)(?)
- Lebed VI (?) (1)
- Lebed VII fighter (1916) (1)
- Lebed VIII fighter (1916) (1)
- Lebed X fighter/observation (1915) (2)
- Lebed XI (1915) (10-12)
- Lebed XII (1915) (216)
- Lebed Deperdioussen-Sport (1916) (1)
- Lebed XIII (1916)
- Lebed XIV, Lebed-Grand (1917) heavy fighter (1)
- Lebed XVII
- Lebed K1
Herbert Leonard Russian and Soviet fighters 1915-1950
The Osprey Encyclopedia Of Russian Aircraft 1875-1995