Monday 15 October 2012

Visitors - The "Soviet" connection

"A Soviet aeroplane flew to Tokyo from Moskow, a distance of 10,000 kilometers in 12 days."

"Top-Left: Pilot Shestakov and Mechanic Fufaiev being given a hearty welcome at Tachikawa, September 1.
Top-Right: The airmen were presented with flowers.
Center-Left: Major Abe, hero of the Asahi European flight, welcome M. Shestakov.
Center-Right: The plane landing at Okayama, August 31."

"Right-in-Oval: A welcome dinner was given at the Tokyo Asahi Office, September 2. Dr. Shinomura, Director of the Asahi, addressing the guests. 
Lower-Left: The plane being led by an Asahi plane over Hakone mountain range.
Lower-Right: A welcome dinner at Heijo [Pyongyang]."

Photos from "Asahi Graph" September 14, 1927 issue. Original captions.

According to Wikipedia (here):
"In 1927, the British minister at the foreign office, Austin Chamberlain, brother of British Prime Minister Neville, severed diplomatic ties with the USSR. In response, the next journey by an ANT-3 was a flight from Moscow to Tokyo and back to Moscow, which took place between August 20 and September 1, 1927, and the plane was titled “Our Reply.” The flight was titled “The Great Eastern Overflight,” and was piloted by Semion Shestakov. The ANT-3 used was powered by a Mikulin M-5. The expedition covered about 22,140 km (13,500 mi) in 153 flying hours (today, it would take 18 hours), by going from Moscow- Sarapul- Omsk- Novosibirsk- Krasnoyarsk- Irkutsk- Chita- Blagovenshensk- Nanian- Yokohama- Tokyo, and then return. Though not the most direct possible, there were good propaganda opportunities."

From the net:
Registration was "RR-INT" Osoaviakhim SSSR Nash Otvet (Our Answer). Pilot S. A. Shestakov and mechanic D.V. Fufaev were awarded the Order of the Red Banner for their effort. 

One more photo from our collection:

Iskender sent the following:
I'd like to provide some information regarding the pilot. 
   Shestakov Semen Aleksandrovich (1898-1943). Test pilot, Colonel. Participated in Great October Revolution (1917), Russian Civil War (1917-1923), Great Patriotic War (1942-1943). 
   In 1920’s Shestakov worked as a test pilot at Scientific Research Institute of the Air Force (NII VVS). In spring 1927 he was also a member of commission accepting (in Leningrad) Junkers C.30 (Yug-1) bombers produced in Germany for VVS RKKA. 
   He participated in a number of long distance flights. Between August 20 and September 1, 1927 pilot Shestakov and flight mechanic Fufayev D.V. completed the long distance flight in ANT-3 (R-3) “Nash otvet” (Our Answer) between Moscow-Sarapul-Omsk-Novosibirsk-Krasnoyarsk-Irkutsk-Verkhneudinsk-Chita-Nerchinsk-Blagoveshensk-Spassk-Nanyan-Okayama-Tokyo and back (September 10-22), covering 21 700 km. in 153 flight hours. Shestakov was awarded the Red Banner order for this feat.
   Shestakov had approached Tupolev A.N. (aircraft designer) and Baranov P.I. (VVS RKKA commander in chief) with a suggestion for a transcontinental flight. Boris Sterligov – leading specialist at NII VVS (later to become chief navigator of VVS) and navy pilot Filipp Bolotov (commander of seaplane detachment) were invited to the crew. The first unsuccessful flight commenced on August 6, 1929 in TB-1 (ANT-4) named “Strana Sovetov” (Soviet Country). Engines stopped after the fuel has run out close to the city of Chita and the plane crashed in taiga. 
   The crew returned back to Moscow and took off on a second flight using a backup plane. First pilot Shestakov S.A., second pilot Bolotov F.Y., navigator Sterligov B.V. and flight mechanic Fufayev D.V. flew the path of Moscow- Chelyabinsk-Novosibirsk-Krasnoyarsk-Irkutsk-Chita-Blagoveshensk-Khabarovsk-Nikolayevsk on Amur-Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy-Attu-Unalaksha-Seward-Sitka-Waterfall-Seattle-Oakland-San-Fransisco-Chicago-Detroit-New York. The distance of 21 242 km. was covered under extremely unfavorable weather conditions (constant fog and storms along the whole course) in 141 hours 53 minutes of flight time. Wheels were changed for floats in Khabarovsk and back to wheels in Seattle. The distance of 8 000 km. was flown over the ocean in 50 hours and 30 minutes. The welcome party in Seattle on November 1, 1929 was triumphant. 
   Later in his career Shestakov commanded TB-1 bomber detachment in the Soviet Far East. In 1933 his detachment was reequipped with TB-3 bombers. On October 16, 1941 together with flight engineer Rozenfeld A.A. he took off in the experimental Pe-2M plane equipped with M-105TK (turbocharged) engines and flew it from Kazan to Moscow.
   Shestakov took part in the Great Patriotic War. In October 1942 he took command of 146th fighter regiment, which was at the time fighting on South-Western Front. He was shot down flying his Yak-7b fighter and wounded in both legs on August 1, 1943 during heavy fighting close to Lokno-Borilovo village at Orel salient (Battle for Kursk). According to a later research after bailing out over the enemy lines he became POW and perished in German captivity. His wingman was also shot down and captured in the same fight, but later managed to escape.
   Unfortunately Shestakov and his long distance flights were undeservedly forgotten in the USSR, unlike the pre war deeds of other famous Soviet flyers: Chkalov, Baidukov, Levanevskiy, Grizodubova, Kokkinaki etc. 
Link to Shestakov’s pre war picture (here).
Thank you very much Iskender for the most interesting information.

1 comment:

R. Vieira said...

Very interesting, George! I have been browsing through your fascinating blog and just found this post about ANT-3 RR-INT long distance flight. I have a photo of this aircraft, never published before.