Imperial Russian Airforce 1898-1917

Ilya Muromets flying

Sikorskyi Ilya Muromets

Sikorsky Russky Vityaz (Le Grand)

Russky Vityaz

Imperial Russian Air Force, 1898 – 1917

Gennady Petrov

Publication: 10th November 2013

Price: £24.99 ISBN: 978-1-906-509-408

A visual feast of early Russian aviation: a delight for anyone who loves history, aircraft and the thrill of flying.

Imperial Russian Airforce: 1898-1917 is an incredible photographic and textual history into the very first attempts at military flight in Russia. Covering the period from the end of the 19th century to the fall of Imperial Russia in 1917, this astounding documentary collection owned by historian G.E. Petrov, comprises more than four hundred previously unpublished photographs, brought together for the first time in lavish array.

Nighthawk News


Firetrench Directory

From these earliest days of flight in balloons and gliders, Petrov’s unique and engrossing collection reveals a snapshot of a time gone by: here we glimpse the activities of the aircraft manufacturers, the establishment of Russia’s Naval Aviation, the World War I combat operations undertaken by squadrons equipped with the great ‘Ilya Muromets’ bombers and much more: we discover, in fact, the photographic history of the very foundations of the Soviet Air Force.


Pioneer aviators of the early twentieth century stand proudly beside spindly aircraft; a plane nose-dives into the snow, scattering a group of military officials; a crowd gathers beneath an air balloon, appearing tiny against its gargantuan majesty; military enthusiasts gather excitedly at the first Russian aviation shows; vast, broad-winged craft are photographed as they are released from their hangars; a lady in Edwardian dress sits apprehensively in the passenger seat of a ‘new-fangled’ ‘flying machine’ as the pilot prepares for take-off. A rare insight into a golden age of aviation, these images capture the drama, passion and thrill of this new dawn of discovery.


An exhilarating and fascinating collection, Imperial Russian Airforce: 1898-1917 is an essential addition to the library of the military historian, as well as the amateur enthusiast and aviation professional alike.

Leave a Reply