Saturday, February 4th marked the arrival of Flying Heritage Collection's Il-2 Shturmovik, the only one of its kind in flying condition, despite being the most widely produced military aircraft in history. Even though it is so rare, this aircraft will in fact be participating in this summers free fly days.
Here is what Flying Heritage Collection says about the aircraft on their website (www.FlyingHeritage.com)
Place in history: The Il-2 operated close to the
ground, attacking enemy tanks, trucks, and troops near the front line.
The job was dangerous and though the IL-2 was heavily armored, many of
the planes were lost in battle. As Germany threatened western Russia,
Soviet factories moved east, to ensure new Shturmoviks arrived to take
the place of recent casualties. The enemy called the plane "Black Death"
or "Betonvogel" (loosely, the Concrete Bird). Soviet pilots lovingly named the plane "Ilyusha." To the Soviet soldiers, the Il-2 was "the Winged Tank" or, perhaps most endearingly of all, "the Flying Infantryman."
This airplane: The FHC's Il-2 was
constructed in Kuybyshev in mid-1943 and was assigned to the 828th
Attack Aviation Regiment on the lower Karelian Front. On October 10,
1944, the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire while attacking an
airfield and crashed near the Titovka River. The plane was discovered in
a nameless lake by searchers scouting the area with a helicopter in
1991. When the recovery crew raised the Il-2 to the surface, they found
it still had its complement of rockets and bombs under its wings. The
plane was restored using parts from four wrecks discovered in
northwestern regions of the former Soviet Union. Il-2 serial number
305401 makes up a large percentage of the aircraft.
Latest news has them installing the wings this coming Friday, February 10th. Stay tuned for updates!! Until then, enjoy these photographs I shot after its arrival on Saturday
As with the other aircraft in the FHC collection, even the manner in which the paint was applied in 1943 was replicated with this aircraft. When it was originally produced, the manufacturers were in such a hurry to get the aircraft on the front lines, they didn't even apply primer to the airframe, thus, the paint chips and peels very easily! Add to that the long trek from Russia to a port in Germany and this aircraft has already been through a lot!
For those with an eye for detail, there are also a few remaining bullet holes in the fuselage.
Come see this aircraft and many others at Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field in Everett, Washington!