Novosibirsk aviation restorers repair Douglas
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Novosibirsk aviation restorers repair Douglas

December 30, 2021

The legendary plane has lain in the Taimyr tundra for almost seven decades.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The American military transport board, crashed on Taimyr in 1947, after restoration will become the central exhibit of the future North development park-museum on Molokov Island in Krasnoyarsk.

The S-47 Douglas aircraft, aka Tyurikov’s Board, was evacuated from the Taimyr tundra to Krasnoyarsk in 2016–2017 by the Russian Geographical Society regional branch expedition. The plane was partially restored in the regional capital. In mid-December 2021 the plane was sent to Novosibirsk to the Mochishche airfield, where the Helicopter company, which is professionally engaged in the restoration of rare aircraft, is located, to fully restore.

According to the restorers, the restoration of the Douglas will take about two years. Companions from the United States will help Novosibirsk residents find replacement for the lost parts. The Wisconsin-based company still purchases and uses these aircraft. Its representative promised to purchase two aircrafts for spare parts and deliver them to Novosibirsk in spring.

The found on Taimyr Douglas S-47 release date is February 1943. This is one of the eight thousand American aircraft transferred to the USSR under Lend-Lease. The board did not get to the front, but was left to work in polar aviation in the Krasnoyarsk region north. Douglas was engaged in ice reconnaissance in the Kara Sea, was a part of the Chukotka polar aviation air group.

On April 23, 1947, during a flight from Kozhevnikov Bay to Krasnoyarsk, both plane engines failed. The crew commander was forced to land. The aircraft carried 26 passengers, 852 kilograms of luggage and four crew members.

Three days later, the commander, flight mechanic, radio operator and six passengers left the accident scene in search of a settlement and disappeared. The plane and the people who stayed near it were found and evacuated on May 11. The commander remains were discovered by accident only in 1953. The rest are still missing.

The decommissioned Douglas has lain 180 kilometers from Volochanka for almost 70 years. Two stars can be seen on its body still: the white one was applied to the plane when it was released in America, the red one was completed in the Soviet Union.

On the partition there is a text that the commander wrote with a chemical pencil: “I am Tyurikov’s side. There are 3 children, 5 women on board. On April 22 at 00:30 we headed for Krasnoyarsk. Emergency landing at 5:30, no casualties”. One can also read the inscription added by someone on May 11: “We are saved”.

The five-year-old expedition’s members were lucky to find a number of artifacts of historical interest. American radio equipment, special ovens for warming up aircraft engines, cans of stew supplied under Lend-Lease to the USSR during the Great Patriotic War – all these finds after the aircraft restoration will also become the future museum’s exhibits in Krasnoyarsk, the North exploration park-museum on an island named after the polar pilot Vasily Molokov.

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Text: Varvara Sosnovskaya, Photo: the Russian Geographical Society Krasnoyarsk regional branch

December 30, 2021

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