It was in Russia 1909. The czarist ballon and airship troops were extending the Gatchina flying field for training purposes and it happens that the Wright Brothers, now touring across Europe, offered to provide 10 copies of their Fyler (obviously the Model A at that time) to the war ministry. The offer was not accepted. Instead it was decided to design some own machines.
In all 7 aircraft were constructed (or at least started) by different designers 1909/1910 under the supervision of A.M. Kovanko in Gatchina. Therefore 7 engines were aquired from abroad, ranging from 25 to 55hp. Finally the biplane of M.V. Agapov with 55hp Renault engine, featuring elements from Farman and Sommer types, proved to be the best one – and was used as trainer until 1912. But it remained an „only child“. Other French machines were purchased in the following years.
But back to our challenge. Among the 7 aircraft constructed in Gatchina there was one christened „ласточку“ - swallow
. It was a triplane that followed the Wright design but it had curved wings – as to see in the picture. Also the horizontal tail had a spread layout, while the front elevator more closely resembled the Wright Flyer. The propulsion consisted of a 25hp REP engine, that drove two inward slanted propellers via bevel gear, to centre the airstream on the side rudder. After all the triplane was not finished when the project was closed in 1910. So no flight tests were undertaken.
The machine is to find in the literature as „Самолет АПВ“ – A.P.V. Aeroplane.
Designed by Alexander Petrovich Vernander (Александр Петрович ВЕРНАНДЕР - 1844-1918), professor of the Military Academy of Engineering, then second chief of the engineering bureau in Gatchina. He was killed by the Cheka in 1918.
(Shavrov might have misinterpreted the initials of Vernander – „Л“ (L) instead of „A“ (A)
You do want a link to prove? Here is one with a sketch of that machine: Ãàò÷èíñêèå êîíñòðóêöèè
By the way, has someone the complete name (with life dates?) of M.V. Agapov?