On June 19, 1910, the Board of the Joint Stock Company Russian-Baltic Carriage Works in Riga announced to the Main Engineering Department about the creation of an aeronautical department at the plant. In 1911, an aviation workshop appeared in Riga as part of the enterprise, which began to build Sommer vehicles based on the French model. In January 1911 “RBVZ” was invited railway engineer A.S.Kudashev who built that time in Kiev, the first Russian aircraft to its design, and later two more inventors-designers: process engineer I.I.Volovsky and Engineer I M. Gakkel . One of the first Russian aviators Vladimir (Voldemar) Fedorovich Smith tested the built Sommer vehicles .
The aircraft workshop grew as the activities of the aviation school developed: initially, a small number of workers quickly increased to 25-30 people. After the aeronautical exhibition, due to the clarified expediency of separating the aircraft plant from the carriage plant, on May 27, 1911, the aircraft workshop in Riga was closed.
At the suggestion of MV Shidlovsky, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Joint Stock Company RBVZ, in 1912, a new aviation workshop was opened in St. Petersburg on Stroganovskaya Embankment, at the RBVZ car garage. For her, in the fall of 1911, an order was received for the production of airplanes of the “Farman”, “Bleriot”, “Nieuport” types under license.
M.V.Shidlovsky had been looking for a competent specialist for a long time, capable of leading the engineering and design personnel. Considered the candidacy of A.S. Kudashev , Ya.M. Gakkel , who created the first successfully flying domestic aircraft. In March 1912, an agreement was signed with Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky for the construction of aircraft designed by him. MV Shidlovsky was inclined to appoint II Sikorsky as chief engineer and designer of the RBVZ aviation department. II Sikorsky, having assumed the position of chief engineer and designer of the aviation department of “RBVZ”, managed to transform the workshop into an aircraft plant.
In 1912-1913, a number of single-engine aircraft designed by Sikorsky were built, including the S-6B and S-10 biplanes (winners of military airplane competitions in 1912 and 1913), the S-11 and S-12 monoplanes produced in a small series , seaplanes-biplanes C-5a and C-10 “Hydro” , adopted in a small number of copies by the Maritime Department. For further work on the problems of hydroaviation “RBVZ” equipped an experienced hydrodynamic pool for testing models.
Since 1915, the RBVZ began the serial construction of the C-16 training aircraft and fighter (it was also referred to as the C-XVI). The maximum speed reached 143-144 km / h. Thus, the plant was one of the few enterprises in Russia that mainly produced machines of domestic design.
In the summer of 1915, when the Germans approached Riga, the RBVZ was evacuated to Petrograd, Moscow and Tver (the Automobile Department was evacuated to Moscow, the Carriage Building Department was evacuated to Tver). On the Vasilievsky Island of Petrograd, the RBVZ Mechanical Plant appeared, and on the basis of the aviation department, actually two production facilities were formed: the old one on the Stroganovskaya embankment and the new one near the Korpusnoy airfield. The latter specialized in assembling “Muromtsev”. All of these enterprises were closely related to each other.
The following figures indicate the intensity of the development of aviation production on the Stroganovskaya embankment in the first two years of the war: if in the first half of 1914 only 270 people worked at the plant for 9 hours a day, then at the end of 1914 – 470 people for 10-11 hours, out of there are 230 of them in the machine shop, 111 in the carpentry shop, 74 in the assembly shop, and 29 in the painting shop. The machine shop consisted of 18 woodworking machines, 15 screw-cutting lathes, 2 revolving machines, 2 automatic ones, 1 milling machine, 5 drilling machines, 1 slotting machine. The director of the aviation department (during the war years it was sometimes called “Aviabalt”) was MF Klimikseev. NN Polikarpov began his aviation and engineering activities at Aviabalt, the future famous aircraft designer. Sikorsky instructed a young engineer to conduct a study of the floats of a hydroaeroplane for future design developments.
In the summer of 197, an experimental series of S-20 aircraft in the amount of 5 copies was built at RBVZ . But they did not manage to bring the production of this Sikorsky fighter to large series …
In Moscow, on July 1, 1917, the plant was opened under the name “Second Automobile Plant Russo-Balt”.
In 1918, the plant was nationalized and renamed into the First State Armored Plant by the resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars.
In 1922, 5 Russo-Balt vehicles were produced.
In 1923 the plant was transferred on a concession to the Junkers firm, and the production of the U-20 and U-21 aircraft began . On March 1, 1927, the concession was liquidated and the plant was renamed into “State Aviation Plant No. 7”, and soon into “Plant No. 22 named after the 10th Anniversary of October”.
In 1933 the plant was named after S.P. Gorbunov.
In 1941 the plant was evacuated to Kazan (now it is the Kazan Aviation Production Association named after S.P. Gorbunov).