Why Stalin did not allow to build large civil aircraft

History 16/02/20 Why Stalin did not allow to build large civil aircraft

In the American military plan “dropshot” (1949), in part, which analyzed the development of the military potential of the USSR, stated:

“By 1957, the means of transport aviation of the civil air fleet and forces long-range replenished with IL-12, IL-18 and TU-70 and other means increased power.”

the five-year plan of economic development of the USSR for 1946-1950 provided for the establishment and commissioning of the new civil IL-12 for medium-haul airlines, as well as four-engine piston aircraft IL-18 and TU-70 for long lines.

After the war all over the world began to grow rapidly, the volume of air passenger traffic. In the US and UK began to operate four-engine DC-4, Bristol Britannia, carrying without landing, respectively, to 86 and maximum 133 passengers across the Atlantic ocean.

the Initial decision of the Soviet leadership in the creation of spacious long-range transport aircraft complied with world trends. In addition, the implementation of this plan allowed to increase the transport connectivity of a large country that was important and in military-strategic terms.

the First post-war IL-18 and TU-70

17 August 1946 made the first test flight of the airliner IL-18. Equipped with four piston engines, he developed cruising speed of 450 km/h and was able without refueling to carry 60 passengers for a distance of 4000 km And on 27 November 1946 for the first time rose into the air, the TU-70. It is calculated for the transport of 72 passengers at a cruising speed of 560 km/h at a distance of 5000 km.

the principal innovation in both models was the presence of the pressurized cabin, which enabled it to fly at a cruising altitude of 5-6 km.

In the development of aircraft as much as possible into account the experience of long-range bombers of the Second world war and the latest foreign counterparts. So, the TU-70 was, basically, converted into a civilian plane option range bomber TU-4. And that, in turn, was a “pirate” copy of the American “flying fortress” b-29.

the test was not without incident. However, on August 3, 1947 the prototype IL-18 was demonstrated at air parade in honor of Aviation Day in Tushino, where he saw the country’s leaders and thousands of Soviet citizens. There four-engine IL-18 was held in the head of the column also brand-new twin-engine passenger IL-12.

However, Stalin made a choice in favor of the TU-70. In June 1948, the USSR Council of Ministers adopted a resolution on the launch of a series of twenty aircraft TU-70. They were supposed to release in three versions: the government (salon “Lux”), international lines (salons, as we would say today, business class and economy class, total capacity 48 passengers) and internal lines (two cabin economy-class – 72 seats). However, their construction has not started.

prototypes of the IL-18 and TU-70 to mid-1950s years, participated in various trials, after which it was dismantled for scrap.

Certificate Novozhilova

legend has it, authored by Sergey Ilyushin’s successor in the leadership of his design Bureau, Genrikh Novozhilov. He said in one of the films, though after showing IL-18 at the air show Ilyushin was summoned by Stalin and said:

— I do not recommend You to continue working on this plane. Any crash of such a plane would be a tragedy for the state.

it Should be noted that we then used LI-2 (licensed copy of the American DC-3), the American C-47 and have just launched a series of new IL-12 was transporting a maximum of 28-32 passenger. The new four-engine Airliners, it was planned twice more capacity.

However, as we have seen, Stalin gave the nod to rival Ilyushin TU-70, although later and its constructionon also frozen. These types of aircraft could not be used as a civilian and as a military transport, which was important in the preparation of the USSR to the Third world war. There is already a disaster could not play the morally-corrupting factors: in war as in war. What is the reason of rejection?

the Fear of catastrophe and the lack of passenger

First of all, as most scholars of the history of civil aviation, new mud and THAT would be at the time – the late 1940s—early 1950s – even there is nobody to carry over long distances. Traffic flows in the USSR has reached such levels of traffic to a roomy four-engine aircraft could be economically justified.

However, you should not completely ignore the testimony Novozhilov. New large passenger planes would, in a sense, a symbol of air power, the USSR. And crash any of them could have negative impact not only on the moral charm, but also on the estimation of military-economic abilities of the Union to do complicated modern techniques.

Over Stalin could strongly dominate the memory of the crash in 1935 of well-publicized aircraft “Maxim Gorky”. Then killed 49 people.

the Reliability of Soviet aircraft and ground services to ensure their flights left much to be desired. So, one day 5 Nov 1946 in district of Vnukovo airport was lost just three aircraft (two LI-2 and one p-47). Killing a total of 19 of the 57 people who were on Board.

it Should be noted that new ships (and new engines) also have not been sufficiently reliable. So, shortly before the screening of IL-18 in Tushino, July 25, 1947, the aircraft during the test destroyed one of the engines. The TU-70 was forced to dramatically abort one flight due to the failure of systems, made an emergency hard landing, followed by long repaired.

Apparently, all these factors together played a role in final refusal of Stalin from large passenger aircraft.

KROIU fact, at that time in the domestic aviation had not yet gained the experience of operating aircraft with a pressurized cabin. Later English jet “De Havilland Comet” sudden depressurization caused several disasters. In light of this, the decision to refuse launching IL-18 and TU-70 in the series can even be called visionary.

the Achievements of those years were not wasted. So, in 1957, for the first time we saw a new variant of four-engine IL-18 – already with turboprop engines. For more than fifteen years, he remained the main aircraft of Soviet civil aviation. By that time much more the Soviet people could afford luxury air travel than right after the war.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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