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Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s historic ‘personal plane’ found at aviation graveyard in Arctic

By Olga Gertcyk
23 September 2020

Rusting Ilyushin Il-14P with tail number СССР-61755 is located 61 years after his famous speech to the United Nations.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s former personal aircraft pictured in the town of Chersky, Yakutia. Picture: Timur Fatkulov

The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 

It was spotted by helicopter pilot and aviation enthusiast Timur Fatkulov, 33, who flies with Polar Airlines. 

He checked out the sighting with an anonymous aircraft historian who told him: 'My father flew [the aircraft with tail number] 61755. It is a former private plane of [Nikita] Khrushchev, and he had recollections about it.

'There was very unusual and very cool American navigation equipment on board for the time.

’In particular, the plane had (radio equipment) that could tune to five world radio stations, among them definitely Japan, Australia, NY, and after adjustment it provided current coordinates of the aircraft in flight, apparently, using the triangulation method.’

The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev by the plane, GVs of the Arctic town of Chersky, Yakutia, and pilot Timur Fatkulov who has recently visited the town's plane graveyard. Pictures: Timur Fatkulov


An undated picture shows Kremlin leader Khrushchev with the twin-engine plane in the late-1950s.

It was manufactured at the Znamya Truda plant in 1957, with its maiden flight in 1957 and final journey in 1987, when it was abandoned in Chersky. 

It boasted a lux cabin for its VIP passenger although it was formally part of the Soviet air force. 

Another plane here is an Avia-14 of Czech Airlines with its own name Pisek, a version of the Il-14 manufactured in Czechoslovakia.

It was passed to the Soviet Union in 1975 and became СССР-61713, named Pisek, serving with the Yakutian squad of Aeroflot, said Timur Fatkulov.

The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 
Avia-14 OK-MCH Pisek, Czech Airlines, was passed to USSR in 1975 to become USSR-61713. Pictures: Timur Fatkulov


A third plane in the graveyard is an An-2B СССР-09260 which ‘is not as humble as it looks’, says Timur.

‘Instead of chassis it has two floats and a reverse rotor. This particular aircraft spent its entire life in high latitudes.’

The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 
AN-2В USSR-09260 pictured at Chersky's planes graveyard and in service. Pictures: Timur Fatkulov


Another Warsaw Pact relic is another Il-14, СССР-41863. 

This aircraft [with tail number] HA-MAD started operating in Malev, in the then Hungarian People's Republic. 

Later the aircraft came to the Soviet Union. 

In 2005 a wing of this aircraft was transported to Yakutsk to attach it to [the aircraft with tail number] СССР-61663, the fuselage of which was stored in Yakutsk, and was to be deployed as a display aircraft in front of the airport.

The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 
IL-14 USSR-41863, former HA-MAD at Malev airlines in Hungary. Pictures: Timur Fatkulov


In Soviet times, the planes were used from Chersky as a centre of polar aviation.

‘They carried drillers, geologists, mail, food, and performed medical flights,’ said expert Evgeny Lebedev. ‘The planes [...] were written off and left at numerous air dumps then. 

‘One of the centres of polar aviation was the village of Chersky. 

‘There was a large airport during the Soviet era. [...] Several aircraft cemeteries were formed and still exist. 

‘Fuselage and planes of the Il-14, An-2 and even the ancient Li-2’s are still in Chersky. 

‘These are the remaining witnesses of past flights […] ‘It is a pity that these planes will never end up in museums.’

The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 


The Kremlin leader’s former personal aircraft today languishes in an aircraft cemetery in Chersky, in Yakutia region. 
IL-14 СССР-04199, USSR-Н629 of the Polar Aviation. Pictures: Timur Fatkulov


When he flew for the first time to the US, Khrushchev used a different aircraft, the giant Tu-114 long-range airliner, based on the Tu-95 strategic bomber. 

The Americans at Andrews Air Force Base had no mobile staircase high enough for such an aircraft. 

So Khrushchev and his delegation descend by a fire truck ladder.

He later rejected the Il-14 for an Il-18 four engined airliner believing the two additional engines afforded more safety. 

Soviet planes graveyard in the town of Chersky, extreme north of Yakutia. Video: Timur Fatkulov

Comments (2)

there the -Greens - could do somethign useful. clean up the mess, get the Aluminium to Norilsk and have it melted and recycled...
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
02/10/2020 19:22
2
0
As can be seen, the aluminum doesn't rust.

Interesting story, thanks.
David B. Benson, United States
01/10/2020 11:51
1
1
1

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