Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s historic personal plane has been found rotting in an aircraft graveyard in the Arctic.
The rusting twin-engine Ilyushin Il-14P, which he flew after succeeding Stalin in the Kremlin, was located in Chersky, in the north of Russia‘s diamond region Yakutia.
An undated picture shows Cold War tsar Khrushchev with the plane in the late 1950s which was fitted with a VIP cabin for his use.
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s historic personal plane (pictured), a twin-engine Ilyushin Il-14P, has been found rotting in an aircraft graveyard in the Arctic
An undated picture shows Cold War tsar Khrushchev with the plane in the late 1950s which was fitted with a VIP cabin for his use
It lies alongside other relics of Soviet aviation in a ghostly plane cemetery in this polar village, one of the coldest inhabited places in the world.
The rotting Khrushchev airliner which went into service in 1957 was spotted by helicopter pilot and aviation enthusiast Timur Fatkulov, 33, who flies with Polar Airlines.
He then confirmed the Il-14P’s role with an aviation historian whose pilot father later flew the aircraft after the Kremlin switched it for more modern variants.
The rotting Khrushchev airliner which went into service in 1957 was spotted by helicopter pilot and aviation enthusiast Timur Fatkulov (pictured), 33, who flies with Polar Airlines
The historic plane, along with many other relics, was found in Chersky (pictured), in the north of Russia’s diamond region Yakutia
The historian – who asked not to be named – told him: ‘My father flew [the aircraft with tail number] 61755.
‘It is a former private plane of [Nikita] Khrushchev, and he had recollections about it.
‘There was unusual and very cool American navigation equipment on board for the time.
‘In particular, the plane had (radio equipment) that could tune to five world radio stations, among them definitely Japan, Australia, New York, and after adjustment it provided current coordinates of the aircraft in flight, apparently, using the triangulation method.’
Another plane in the graveyard is a Czechoslovakian Avia-14, named Pisek (pictured), which was donated to Aeroflot for use in the Arctic
The Pisek was a version of the Il-14 manufactured in Czechoslovakia which later became СССР-61713 after it was handed to the Soviet Union
The crew stands on the steps of the CCCP-6173 during its heyday in the Soviet Union before it was abandoned in the Siberian plane graveyard
Another plane is a Czechoslovakian Avia-14, named Pisek, which was donated to Aeroflot for use in the Arctic.
Another Il-14 here belonged to Hungarian state airline Malev before moving to the USSR.
An Antonov-2B – number СССР-09260 – lying here ‘is not as humble as it looks’, said Fatkulov.
An Antonov-2B – number СССР-09260 – lying among the other debris, ‘is not as humble as it looks’, said Fatkulov, with images showing parts of the plane strewn across the ground
The aircraft, pictured in service, was accustomed to flying in high latitudes and has two floats
‘Instead of a chassis it has two floats and a reverse rotor. This particular aircraft spent its entire life in high latitudes.’
In Soviet times, the planes were flown from Chersky as a centre of polar aviation.
‘They carried drillers, geologists, mail, food, and performed medical flights,’ said expert Evgeny Lebedev.
‘The planes…were written off and left at numerous air dumps then.’
Another plane among the many discarded in the Siberian town was a Il-14 which is now lying by a lake
It originally belonged to Hungarian state airline Malev before it moved to the USSR
He said: ‘These are the remaining witnesses of past flights…
‘It is a pity that these planes no longer end up in museums.’
When he flew for the first time to the US, Khrushchev used a different aircraft, the giant Tu-114 long-range airliner, based on the Tu-95 strategic bomber.
Other relics of Soviet aviation, including the IL-14 СССР-04199, USSR-Н629 of the Polar Aviation, lie in the ghostly plane cemetery
The IL-14 USSR-04201 lies abandoned in the polar village, one of the coldest inhabited places in the world
The Americans at Andrews Air Force Base had no mobile staircase high enough to permit the communist leader to disembark.
So Khrushchev and his Soviet delegation descended by a fire truck ladder.
He later rejected the Il-14 for an Il-18 four engined airliner believing the two additional engines guaranteed more safety.
In Soviet times, the planes were flown from Chersky as a centre of polar aviation
Many of the abandoned planes carried drillers, geologists, mail, food, and performed medical flights
Chersky was one of the key centres of polar aviation in the USSR