Invincible “whatnot”. 10 interesting facts about the U-2 aircraft

Plot World history with Andrey Sidorchik

On January 7, 1928, the Soviet pilot Mikhail Gromov made the first test flight of the U-2 aircraft designed by Nikolai Polikarpov.

The U-2 became the second training aircraft in the history of Soviet aviation & nbsp; and the first made according to the original project

One of the most famous aircraft in the history of Russian aviation was originally created as a training aircraft. Since 1919, the main training aircraft in the & nbsp; RSFSR was & nbsp; U-1, created on the basis of the English intelligence officer & nbsp; Avro-504. But the rapid development of aviation required the creation of new technology.

The creator of the U-2 was the aircraft designer Nikolai Polikarpov , who had been working on the design of the aircraft for several years. Ground tests of the vehicle began in the summer of 1927. On January 7, 1928, the biplane, piloted by the pilot Mikhail Gromov , took to the skies for the first time.

In addition to the Red Army, the Germans and Finns flew on the U-2

The U-2 is one of the most massive aircraft in the history of world aviation. The first prototype series was produced at a time when the first prototype of the car was still being tested. In total, in the period from 1928 to 1953, about 33 & nbsp; 000 aircraft of this type were built. According to this indicator, the U-2 is ahead only of the Cessna-172 Skyhawk, the front-line fighter Messerschmitt. Bf 109 and Il-2 attack aircraft. In addition to the Soviet Union, the U-2 was used in different years in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, China, Mongolia and North Korea. During World War II, the U-2 captured during the & nbsp; battles were also used by the German Luftwaffe and the Finnish Air Force.

The U-2 was the road to the sky for almost all Soviet pilots of the 1930s & mdash; & nbsp; 1950- x

For many years, U-2 aircraft were the only machines for initial training in flight schools and flying clubs of Osoaviakhim. The training organizations of the Defense Society on this aircraft trained almost 100 thousand Soviet pilots during the war years. & Nbsp; In fact, every domestic pilot who began his career in the 1930s & nbsp; 1950s, began his way into the sky with piloting U -2.

The Germans called the U-2 “ Iron Gustav '' and were terrified of him

Initially, the U-2 was considered as a training aircraft with a military bias. True, in addition to training military cadet pilots, he was assigned auxiliary functions – an ambulance plane and a communications plane. But with the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the existing standard versions of the U-2 began to be converted into light night bombers. The aircraft, depending on the modifications, could take a bomb load from 100 to 350 kg. The poorly protected aircraft could not be successfully used during the day, but at night the relatively quiet aircraft turned into a force that had not only a shock, but also a serious psychological effect. The U-2 strikes caused real panic among German soldiers who called the Soviet bomber Iron Gustav.

The Red Army Air Force had three women's regiments, but only one of them flew the U-2

In 1941, by order of the People's Commissariat of Defense, three women's air regiments were formed in the Red Army Air Force, one of which was equipped with U-2 aircraft. It was the 46th Guards Night Bomber Aviation Taman Red Banner and the Order of Suvorov Regiment that received the nickname “ Night Witches '' from the Nazis. 23 female pilots who served in the air regiment were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Five of them were awarded posthumously. But not only women fought on the U-2 & mdash; More than 30 men also became Heroes of the Soviet Union.

In 1944, U-2 was renamed in memory of its creator

The biplane was renamed in 1944, after the death of aircraft designer Nikolai Polikarpov. In memory of the man who bore the unofficial title of the King of Fighters, it was decided to name his most massive creation. So the U-2 turned into the Po-2, but the former name, which by that time was firmly entrenched in the people, is still used much more often.

The U-2 was so outdated during the war that the Nazis could not find it

The biplane designed by Nikolai Polikarpov turned out to be the most flying Soviet aircraft of the Great Patriotic War. Soviet pilots flew only on the U-2, who had more than 1000 sorties to their account. At the same time, the losses of aircraft and pilots in Polikarpov's biplanes were significantly lower than in all other combat vehicles. The reason is that the archaic U-2, with its stealth and low speed, was very well protected from German attacks. It was not difficult for the Luftwaffe to shoot down the U-2, but for this it still had to be discovered, which at times was a completely impossible task.

In 1945, the U-2 became the first Soviet aircraft to be featured in a feature film

The U-2 became the first Russian aircraft to receive a feature film, in which it is, in fact, one of the main characters. In 1945, the film “ Heavenly Slow Mover '' was released on Soviet screens. with Nikolai Kryuchkov and Vasily Merkuriev . According to the plot, the fighter pilot Vasily Bulochkin after the accident ends up in the regiment of night bombers U-2. The musical comedy has become a classic of Soviet cinema, and the song from it has become the unofficial anthem of Russian pilots.

The U-2 plane of the pilot Pyotr Vlasov is preparing for a rescue flight to the Papanin camp SP-1. Photo: RIA Novosti/Yakov Khalip

During the Korean War Po-2 was defeated by an American jet fighter

It sounds incredible, but the Po-2 has won a battle against an American jet fighter. During the Korean War, the American interceptor Lockheed F-94 Starfire launched an attack on the Po-2 belonging to the North Koreans. Due to the difference in speed, the F-94 crew was forced to slow down to such an extent that the engine stalled. The interceptor fell and crashed, and the Po-2 returned safely to base. In Korea, several more cases are known when American pilots crashed into a Po-2 during the battle, but both planes were killed in these situations.

The nickname “ Maize '' the plane received for work in agriculture

The use of the U-2 in civil aviation began in the pre-war period. Especially for this, a modification of the U-2AP was developed & nbsp; with an aero pollinator for spraying fertilizers and pesticides. However, a truly broad peaceful life of aircraft of this type began after the Great Patriotic War. The U-2, which does not require high skill from the pilot, was in demand for the transport of goods and mail, agricultural work, and the transport of passengers. It was then that the nickname “ maize '' stuck to him. The aircraft was operated in the underdeveloped territories of Siberia, the Far North, Central Asia. & Nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp;


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