The famous ANT-25 plane that hero-pilot Valery Chkalov flew on the first ever non-stop flight from Moscow to Vancouver WA in the 1930s is to get a new lease of life at an aircraft repair plant in Nizhny Novgorod, the plant’s press service said on Tuesday. In June 1937, Chkalov flew the ANT-25, made at the Sokol plant, from Moscow to Vancouver WA (USA) via the North Pole. The 9,130-kilometre (5,674 miles) flight lasted 63 hours and 16 minutes, setting a record at the time. US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met the crew when they landed.
The press release from the Sokol plant stated, “Experts at the Sokol plant are repairing the ANT-25 that made the Moscow-North Pole-Vancouver flight. It’s one of the unique items on display at the Chkalov Museum”. The plant will restore the lacquer cover on the plane and repaint it by early June. Last year, Sokol technicians renovated vintage Polikarpov I-16 and Po-2 warplanes in the same Chkalov museum. Aleksandr Karezin, the General Director of Sokol said, “In the 1930s, Valery Chkalov was our senior plant test pilot; he checked out the I-16s built at our factory”.
Nizhny Novgorod will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Chkalov’s mission on 23 June, and will hold a series of aviation-related events, a souvenir fair, and a feature film devoted to the legendary flight. Born in 1904 in Vasilevo (near Nizhny Novgorod), Chkalov joined the Red Army in 1919 and undertook pilot training in 1921-24 in various flying schools across the country. He was known as a troublesome, risk-taking pilot, and was sentenced to a year in jail for a brawl in 1925 and then to another year for violating flight safety regulations in 1928. Chkalov was the holder of numerous high-ranking state awards, including the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of the Red Banner. He died in 1938 at the age of 34 during a test flight of the Polikarpov I-180 fighter. Development of the aircraft was incomplete and it had numerous defects, but the authorities rushed the test programme on Stalin’s orders.
22 May 2012
Soviet Russian aviators wrote a glorious chapter in aviation history, but they lost as many daring pilots as any other of the pioneering aerial countries. One need think only of the bravery of the crew of the stratostat Osoaviakhim-1, which burst after it rose above its pressure ceiling. Bravery wasn’t only the province of the Western Übermenschtum… it resided (and still resides) amongst the other civilisational blocs as well. Americans would do well to remember that… we should remember the hero-martyrs Pavel Fedoseyenko, Andrei Vasenko, and Ilya Usyskin. Not all martyrs are religious… some gave their lives for their country, others for the good of all mankind… we owe them honour, too. A people without heroes is a people without a soul… and a people without a soul are nothing but “brutes in suits”… ponder that when you pass your next McMansion in the affluent effluent exurbs (it says much about the likes of draft-dodging money-grubbing scum like Rush Limbaugh, Willard Romney, and Richard Cheney)…