The bullet holes on
cowl are probably from
the engagement that
brought the aircraft down.
Due to the rarity of the
original Mikulin AM- 38
V- 12 engine, FHCAM substituted a left-turning P- 38 Allison V-1710-113 V- 12
engine and propeller. Shturmovik 305401 made its
first post-restoration flight in Russia in September
2011. After flying in a parade over the factory where
it was originally manufactured, it was dismantled and
shipped to FHCAM. Pilot Steve Hinton flew it for the
first time in U.S. airspace on August 9, 2012.
Aircraft 305401 is now in the colors of Alexander
Efimov of the 298th Air Division. Awarded two Hero of
the Soviet Union medals, he was credited with seven
air-to-air kills and the destruction of 126 tanks. He
passed away in 2012.
Jason Muszala, FHCAM Manager of Restorations
and Maintenance, describes the aircraft as “a
fairly simplistic airplane, but that presents its own
challenges. The brakes, landing gear, and wing flaps
are pneumatic; everything else is manual. There are no
hydraulics. Chasing air leaks is difficult because you
can’t see where the air is leaking from. With hydraulic
leaks, you can see where red hydraulic fluid is leaking.”
Also, the Shturmovik was constructed using a variety
of materials; the armored bathtub uses the same type
of steel as tanks, the wings are aluminum, and the
tail section is made of wood. The steel is so hard that
FHCAM had to obtain special bits to drill it.
FHCAM pilot Ross Granley deems the Il-2 “a pretty
substantial airplane. At heart, from my Canadian Air
Force CF- 18 days, I’m a ground attack guy, and the Il-2
really piqued my curiosity. It is an impressive-looking
beast. One of our [fighter] check pilots joked, ‘If you
enjoy flying this, you’re grounded!’”
In the cockpit, the first thing you see is its very
tall stick. In addition, “the visibility is horrendous.
When you slide the canopy closed, you can barely see
over your shoulder.” However, he adds, “the weapons
selector is simple, so managing your weapons would
be easy. The dive indicator on the front windscreen,
with a couple of tick marks, helps set your dive angle.”
In the air, the Shturmovik is “not highly maneuverable.” In pitch, the Il-2 “is dynamically unstable—if
the aircraft is disturbed in pitch, it wants to continue
in that direction. And it gets worse, the slower you
get. You are always constantly fighting against the
elevator.” Still, Granley concludes that the Shturmovik
is an “honest, forgiving airplane.” J
AircrAft 305401 sAnk into the lAke with the
spring thAw And wAs forgotten. discovered in
1991, it wAs rAised in relAtively good condition
due to the cold, fresh wAter. it still hAd
rockets And bombs under the wings.
Switches on the stick selected any combination of ordnance carried.
Note the “chair” the rear gunner sat in.
the il-2 is on display at:
The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum,
Paine Field, 3407 109th St. SW, Everett, WA 98204
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p. m. Phone: 877-342-3404
Sometimes a detail in a
restoration should be left as is.