Flight of the Il-2 Sturmovik

Back in February 2012 I visited the Flying Heritage Collection to see their Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik (click on the link to read about that day and the history of this particular aircraft) that had just arrived from Russia to be put back together in preparation for its first flight in the United States. This flight was meant to occur in June 2012, but due to delays test flights didn’t actually begin until August 2012. I was lucky enough to recently see one of these test flights (with test landings and touch and goes it was actually four flights – one lasted about an hour the others were just short flights!). The first official public display flight will be in September.

Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik Flying Heritage Collection USA 2012
The IL-2 rolling out for take-off
IL-2M3 Flying Heritage Collection Washington USA
The Sturmovik heads down the runway

This particular IL-2M3 is currently the only flying example in the world. Between 1941 and 1945 over 36,000 of these machines were built primarily as a ground attack aircraft for the then Soviet Union.

Ilyushin Il-2 in flight Flying Heritage Collection USA August 2012
The Il-2 makes an approach for landing
Ilyushin IL-2M3 Washington USA
Almost down
Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik Flying Heritage Collection
Passing home
IL-2 Sturmovik
Airborne again
IL-2M3 Flying Heritage Collection Paine Field
Final landing for the day

Given the numbers built it is surprising that it is currently the only flight capable IL-2. Therefore it makes seeing it fly a very rare treat indeed! I am glad I could be there for these early flights and a part of history.

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