In Norilsk winter airfield planes landed right on snow

In Norilsk winter airfield planes landed right on snow

November 21, 2022

The winter military airfield Nezhdanny began operating in 1958.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. That temporary landing strip was built in the tundra, because the Nadezhda (Hope) airport, the Norilsk air gateway, was not enough.

For an airfield, the name Nezhdanny (Unexpected) is rather strange. Especially in the conditions of the Far North, where, due to blizzards and snowstorms, the arrival of an aircraft is a long-awaited event.

The snowy airfield got its name from the Nezhdanny railway siding, near which it was located. And not far from that place there is a tract Unexpected.

The snow and ice runway of Unexpected, 4.5 kilometers long, was intended to receive large turboprop aircraft such as Li-2, An-10, An-12, Il-18. The airport was equipped with a driving radio station and a landing radar.

As a civil airport designed to receive large turboprop aircraft, Nezhdanny began operating in the winter of 1958. At the same time, it was also a harbor for the Air Force.

Often, at the airport, aircraft were met by two dispatchers at once – a military and a civilian. Moreover, Norilsk local historians have a version that it was the military who began to receive their planes on Nezhdanny ten years earlier. But to find documentary evidence of this due to the secrecy of the department is now almost impossible.

Unexpected operated until 1965, when the airport in Alykel began to operate.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that the Norilsk people still call their airport Alykel.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

November 21, 2022

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