VDNKh display of Arctic and veteran combat aircraft

December 13, 2020
Culture

International Civil Aviation Day is marked around the world on 7 December. The VDNKh Press Service prepared a review of unusual and unique exhibits from the history of conquering the sky that have been on public view at the display.

Arctic plane

The first aircraft the general public could see at the exhibition was a full-scale model of the Tupolev ANT-25 aircraft placed on the roof of the Soviet Arctic pavilion in 1939, soon after the exhibition opened and before the Great Patriotic War. The plane manned by Valery Chkalov, Georgy Baidukov and Alexander Belyakov made a record-long non-stop flight from Moscow to Vancouver over the North Pole.

Tupolev’s masterpieces

VDNKh Press Service

The first passenger planes went on display when VDNKh reopened after the war, in the mid-1950s. One of the first such planes was the Soviet Union’s first Tu-104 turbojet-powered liner, known as the symbol of air passenger transport, which was installed on the exhibition’s Industry Square.

Five other planes designed at the Tupolev Bureau were exhibited at VDNKh during its history, but the most popular was the famous Tu-154 airliner made in 1968, which had been on display for over 30 years since 1976. Visitors could enter the cabin and even sit at the yoke. The plane was dismantled in the early 2000s.

Agricultural aircraft

VDNKh Press Service

Agricultural aircraft Po-2 and An-2 were displayed at the Cosmos Pavilion, which came under the names of Mechanisation and Machine-Building at different times in the exhibition’s history.

The Polikarpov Po-2 plane became famous during the Great Patriotic War thanks to the unparalleled courage of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, composed of an all-woman pilot and ground crew complement, which the Germans nicknamed the Night Witches. But the Po-2 was also produced in many civilian modifications.

The Antonov An-2 aircraft was used for field irrigation, firefighting and airlifting patients from outlying areas.

Record-breaking aircraft

VDNKh Press Service

Not only mass-produced but also unique planes were exhibited at VDNKh. In 1981, a Yakovlev Yak-42 plane that was never used for carrying passengers was installed on Industry Square for breaking a world non-stop flight record. The plane covered a distance of 4,730 km from Ramenskoye to Chita. Two years before being placed at VDNKh, it represented the national aircraft achievements at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget. This record-breaking pane is still on view at the exhibition.

Helicopters

VDNKh Press Service

The aircraft displayed at VDNKh also included helicopters, for example the Mil Mi-4S and Mi-26 transport choppers and the world’s most produced Mi-8 medium twin-turbine helicopter, which still stands on Industry Square.

The Mi-8 helicopter on view at VDNKh is a military chopper, but its other modifications are widely used in agriculture, medicine, firefighting and passenger transportation.

Men of the sky

Aircraft expositions at VDNKh are famous not only for their exhibits but also for their visitors, including cosmonauts, many of whom began their careers as pilots, namely Yuri Gagarin, Alexei Leonov, German Titov, Vladimir  Dzhanibekov, Vladimir Titov, Boris Volynov, Alexei Ovchinin and Sergei Zaletin, to mention just a few.

Early days of aviation

VDNKh Press Service

In 2015-2016, an exposition titled Aviation. The Dawn of New Era. Russia 1910-1935, prepared together with Moscow’s Polytechnic Museum, was open to the public at Pavilion 67 Karelia. A large number of exhibits and unique documents traced the evolution of aircraft manufacturing from light-weight wooden structures to multi-engine metal giants.

Aircraft of the future

Novel achievements of Russian aircraft manufacturing will be the main theme of a new exhibition space at the Cosmonautics and Aviation Centre in the renovated Cosmos Pavilion. The space part of the centre opened to the public in 2018, but work is still underway on its second part devoted to aviation.

The display located on two floors will retell the long history of man conquering the sky. It will have full-scale models of aircraft as well as interactive and multimedia exhibits.

Source: mos.ru

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