Jetrader - Fall 2014 - (Page 47)
The Russians Are Here!
By Jack Feir, Administrative Director, ISTAT Appraisers' Program
A Wake-Up Call from Moscow
Early on a Sunday morning in June 1937,
a large, single-engine aircraft with an enormous wingspan appeared in the foggy sky
near Portland, Oregon. Flying low, following
the Columbia River inland from the Pacific
Ocean, the aircraft landed on the grass
runway at Pearson Field, a military base
near Vancouver, Washington, on the north
side of the river from Portland. It taxied
toward the airfield offices, the engine was
switched off, and three very tired Russian
airmen slowly disembarked.
The aircraft was a Tupolev ANT-25, a special long-range aircraft by one of Russia's
most accomplished designers, Andrei N.
Tupolev. Fully loaded, the ANT-25 weighed
about 25,000 pounds, one-half of which was
2,000 gallons of gasoline stored in several
tanks built into the huge wings.
The aircraft had departed Moscow about
two and a half days earlier, passed over the
North Pole, then over Canada's Northwest
Territories, across British Columbia and
down the Pacific coast, intending to reach
Oakland, California, for a total nonstop
distance of nearly 6,000 miles. With fuel
running dangerously low, the pilots were
forced to land and chose Pearson Field at
the last moment.
What Was the Purpose of
Joseph Stalin wanted to show that the
USSR had mastered the technology required
to design and manufacture one of the most
sophisticated aircraft of the time. Also, as
explicitly stated in Pravda, official organ
of the Soviet Communist Party, the Soviets
wanted the world to know the USSR would
soon have long-range bombers that could
reach any city in the northern hemisphere.
To show this flight was not a lucky
fluke, one month later another ANT-25
left Moscow and landed in an open field
near San Jacinto, California, not far from
Los Angeles, capturing by a wide margin
the world record for flight distance.
The first of two Tupolev ANT-25 aircraft that flew non-stop from Moscow to the United States
in 1937. This one landed at Pearson Field in Vancouver, Washington, near Portland, Oregon, in
June 1937. The second one landed near San Jacinto, California, in July, capturing the world record
for longest distance flown. San Diego Air and Space Museum archives.
The First Flight, A Nail-Biter
from the Start
Tupolev ANT-25 in flight. San Diego Air and Space Museum archives.
The three-man crew, hand-picked by
Stalin, had taken off early in the morning of
17 June 1937, departing from the Sholkovo
Aerodrome, about 25 miles northeast of
Moscow. After a long ground roll, they
lifted off, cranked up the landing gear,
climbed to 6,500 feet and headed to the
North Pole, some 2,350 miles away.
The ANT-25 was essentially a very large
powered glider with an economical cruising
speed of only 100 mph. Depending on the
winds, it would take about a day to get to
the Pole, another day to reach the mainland of northern Canada, and could reach
Continued on page 49
Jetrader * Fall 2014 47
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jetrader - Fall 2014
A Message from the President
Reach for the Stars
Boeing’s Current Market Outlook for 2014
Aircraft Recyclers Debate the Coming ‘Tsunami’ of Retired Aircraft
Engine Support Plans Shift Market
The Second Life of Aircraft: Does It Still Exist?
Restructuring Aircraft Leases in Bankruptcy
Jetrader - Fall 2014