Russian IL-2 Sturmovik joins Flying Heritage Collection

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by CHRISTIE JOHNSON / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 17, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 17 at 6:00 PM

"These are the Ferrari's of aviation, I never thought I'd get to work on them or touch them" said Chris Russell, associate maintenance technician at the Flying Heritage Collection.

It is a dream come true for Russell.

"Many of these are very rare," he said.

Rare is an understatement. Paul Allen's Flying Heritage Collection owns several one-of-a-kind planes.

Planes like the 1943 Russian IL-2 Sturmovik.

"It was made to destroy enemy tanks, trains and troops on the ground," said Cory Graff, military aviation curator.

It is the latest gem in the crown jewel of Paul Allen's vintage plane collection.

"It's an iconic plane," said Graff.

A rare survivor, that has been on an incredible journey.

"If you look really closely you can see dents and bullet holes in the armoured plate because the airplane was restored from a wreck," said Graff.

It was shot down in 1944 and left at the bottom of a lake in northern Russia until 1991. Now, it is the only flying example of its kind left in the world.

"This is the plane that helped chase Hitler's soldiers out of mother Russia," said Graff.

And now it is helping to give this generation a history lesson of a different kind.

"It's amazing to see an airplane like this fly. When you have an airplane that just sits there in a museum, it's kind of like learning all you can from a taxidermist shop about what wild animals are like. When you get to see and smell and hear them, it's quite a different thing" said Graff. 

The public will get that chance on September 29 when the plane will take to the sky above Paine Field.

For more information visit www.flyingheritage.com


 

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