Memorial stone to Aviators, testers and defenders of the Moscow sky who died in the Khodynka field

In September 2008, a memorial stone with a plaque was installed in the Aviators’ Park, on which the inscription is indicated: “To aviators, testers and defenders of the Moscow sky who died in the Khodynka Field (1910-1970).” 108 pilots, including the famous Valery Chkalov, died in this field during various tests. Valery Pavlovich Chkalov was the test pilot of the V. R. Menzhinsky Aviation Plant № 39 of the USSR People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry, commander of the ANT-25 crew, the Hero of the Soviet Union. He was born on February 2, 1904 in the village of Vasilevo, the Nizhny Novgorod region. His real name is Valerian Pavlovich Chkalov. In 1930-1933 Valery Pavlovich Chkalov was a test pilot at Air Force Scientific Testing Institute. He conducted state tests of the fighter I-5, VIT-1, VIT-2, as well as I-15 and I-16, which formed the basis of the fighter aircraft of the Soviet Air Force of the pre-war period. He was the commander of the crew of the aircraft that made the first non-stop flight across the North Pole from Moscow to America (Vancouver, Washington) in 1937. He continued flight test work at the N.N. Polikarpov Design Bureau. He was awarded 2 Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner and other medals. He lived in Moscow. Valery Chkalov died on December 15, 1938 during the 1st test flight on a new I-180 fighter at the Central Airfield. According to the observers who were at the airfield, “before reaching the airfield one and a half kilometers, at an altitude of about 100 meters, the plane made a turn to the left and disappeared behind buildings.” During landing, the M-88 engine suddenly stopped. The pilot, as it was noted in the act of the commission to investigate the causes of the accident, “until the last moment was flying the plane and tried to land it and landed outside the area occupied by residential buildings” in the area of the Moszhilgosstroy carpool (Main Street, № 13). But at the last moment, the plane caught on electrical wires, hit the right wing on an electric pole and, turning around, crashed into a pile of wood waste. Chkalov was thrown out of the cockpit for 10-15 meters along with the tail section of the fuselage, controls and seat. There was no fire, but Chkalov hit his head on a metal armature that turned out to be at the place of the fall. According to the testimony of witnesses of the disaster, the workers of the carpool removed the parachute from the pilot (they did not yet know that it was Chkalov), put him in the back of a one-and-a-half-ton truck and immediately sent him to the hospital. Chkalov died from his injury in the Botkin hospital.

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