Rare Russian WWII tank killer to fly in Wash. event
EVERETT - What's believed to be the only flying Ilyushin II-2 Shturmovik - a Russian plane known as a "tank killer" - left in the world will make its U.S. public flying debut this weekend.
The World War II-era ground-attack aircraft was built in Kuybyshev, Russia, in the middle of 1943, according to the Flying Heritage Collection that now has it. The plane was assigned to the 828th Attack Aviation Regiment of the 260th Composite Air Division operating on the lower part of the Karelian Front.
After flying more than a year of combat missions, the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on Oct. 10, 1944, while attacking an enemy airfield southeast of Luostari, near the Norwegian border, according to Cory Graff, military aviation curator for the Flying Heritage Collection.
The pilot attempted to land the damaged plane on a frozen lake. The wreck was abandoned and sank into the lake during the spring thaw.
In 1991, the wreckage was discovered in the lake by searchers scouting the area with a helicopter, according to Graff. It was raised from the water and restored.
The plane made its maiden flight in Russia in September 2011 and flew in a parade on Nov. 7, 2011. It was crated and sent to the Flying Heritage Collection by ship.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Ilyushin II-2 will fly out of Paine Field along with the collection's Republic P-47D Thunderbolt fighter-bomber during Free Fly Day. The event from noon to 1 p.m. may be canceled for bad weather, but the forecast so far is positive.
Watching the flying is free, but if you want to tour the Flying Heritage Collection and its many planes, it costs $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for kids; children 5 and under free. It's open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Ilyushin is scheduled to fly again Sept. 29, along with a B-25, at the collection's last Free Fly Day of the summer.
Distributed by MCT Information Services