Ilyushin Il-2 ground-attack aircraft used during the the Second World War took off again after its restoration by the team of Wings of Victory Foundation is being tested for long range flights. The Foundation have the plans to participate in airshows outside of Russia with the aircraft, namely on ILA Berlin Airshow in April and Duxford Flying Legends in July. The tests has started yesterday and we hope we will get promising updates about it in the following weeks. These informations with some images and a stunning video about the flight has been shared by the Foundation on their Facebook page.
70 years in a lake
This is the second Il-2 in the World recently restored to the airworthy condition. This aircraft, with the crew Valentin Skopintsev (pilot) and Vladimir Gumennoy (gunner), was damaged during the air raid near Murmansk in November 1943. Skopintsev managed to belly landing his Sturmovik on the frozen surface of Kryvoe lake, the crew managed to escape but the airplane sank to the bottom of the lake. Skopintsev´s Il-2, still lying in the Kryvoe lake, was localised in 2011, at the depth of 20 meters. In 2015 the aircraft was recovered from the lake and moved to Novosibirsk for restoration works performed by „Авиареставрация“ company and Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute (СибНИА), with the cooperation of several other Russian companies, ´Wings of Victory Foundation´ and pilot´s relatives. After more than 70 years in the lake, the restored Il-2 made the maiden flight on 16th June 2017. The aircraft is now powered by the Allison engine and having the same 46th ShAP markings as used in 1943. This IL-2 (cn 1872452) is painted in its original markings, as it was when last flown by pilot V. Skopintsev and gunner V. Gumyonny with the 46thShAP Shturmovik Assault Regiment.
The Il-2 is a single-engine, propeller-driven, low-wing monoplane of mixed construction with a crew of two (one in early versions), specially designed for assault operations. Its most notable feature was the inclusion of armor in an airframe load-bearing scheme. Armor plates replaced the frame and paneling throughout the nacelle and middle part of the fuselage, and an armored hull made of riveted homogeneous armor steel AB-1 (AB-2) secured the aircraft’s engine, cockpit, water and oil radiators, and fuel tanks. In early 1941, the Il-2 was ordered into production at four factories, and was eventually produced in vast quantities, becoming the single most widely produced military aircraft in aviation history, but by the time Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, only State Aviation Factory 18 at Voronezh and Factory 381 at Leningrad had commenced production, with 249 having been built by the time of the German attack.