Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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TsAGI centenary in history: Chelyuskin rescue mission

6 March 2019

The Chelyskin rescue mission lasted for more than three months from the middle February to the middle April in1934. The Soviet steamship Chelyuskin was reinforced to navigate through polar ice and became ice-bound in Arctic waters with crew and passengers on board.

An important event took place in March 5. On that day of all days, Anatoly Lyapidevsky, the pilot of the TsAGI’s aircraft ANT-4 (TB-1), got to the camp, took away ten women and two children from the ice plate and brought them to the Big Land. The rescue of the first group of Chelyuskinites became another stroke to the portrait of the legendary aircraft, the creation of the ingenious scientist Andrey Nikolayevich Tupolev.

The ANT-4 had the definition “the first” in many cases. It was the first Soviet designed bomber which entered series production; the first domestically made bomber monoplane, the first Soviet all-metal aircraft. The ANT-4 was tested for the newest concepts of the aircraft industry of that time due to the simplicity and flexibility of its design. The machine became a forerunner of a whole family of multi-engined aircraft, created under the guidance of Tupolev. The development of the strategic aviation in our country started with the production of this bomber.

Here is the comment of the prominent Soviet designer A.S. Yakovlev about the ANT-4: “The aircraft configuration became the breakthrough for the world of aviation. It marked the beginning of a new phase of the heavy aircraft development. All the heavy aircraft were constructed as monoplanes following the ANT-4. Factually speaking, the TB-1 was the first real bomber.”

The aircraft had a whole series of the record-breaking flights. Among them there were the flights Moscow-New York and Moscow-Yekaterinburg-Irkutsk-Anadyr-Uelen-Arkhangelsk-Moscow. The Ant-4 aircraft flew in our sky for more than 20 years. It made way for the huge TB-3 and then later to high-speed attack aircraft with a smooth lining, contractile undercarriage and closed cabins.

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