Flight to Sakhalin

Beginning of air travel.

I will begin my story sitting in a comfortable armchair Boeing 777-300, in which I now sit on my way home to Moscow. We fly at an altitude of more than 10,000 m, with a speed of about 900 km / h. After 7 hours the aircraft will touch the runway of Vnukovo airport and the air travel to Sakhalin will be completed. And while we're flying, I want to share with you this exciting adventure.

       A month ago I got a call from the early morning. The interlocutor introduced himself as Alexei, said that he was from Sakhalin, bought 150 Cessna and now thinks how to drive her to the island. I heard that you can make a system for pumping fuel, take cans with you and fly. "Of course you can, and it's not at all difficult" - I confirmed and began to tell the principle scheme of refinement. Since it was difficult for us to perceive all the subtleties from the ear, we agreed to register in the messenger. Alex asked to send photos. On this and decided. I went to bed further, and in my head the cherished word "Sakhalin" was spinning. How I dreamed of flying to Sakhalin, to see and absorb the beauty of the Far East. Yes, yes, it is the Far East that is one of those places that I want to film and beckon to. The opportunity to get there I will not trade for any European resort.

Old maps of travelers

In the subsequent correspondence I learned that the plane is now based in the Amur region in the city of Belogorsk. Alexei is now learning to fly and to overtake the plane plans with his instructor. This plane is his first. What a fine fellow I thought about Alexei. The most correct and correct way, if you want to learn how to fly and then regularly and to fly a lot - get your plane. Let small, but your own. And even if then it will be hard with money, you can always sell the aircraft and return the investments. And let me be forgiven the training centers, the cost of training in which now is equal to 1/2 the cost of the aircraft, but with limited finances, I advocate training on my plane with a good instructor-methodologist. Talking about the peculiarities of the flight from Kamchatka, I could not restrain myself and wrote to Alexei that if his instructor could not fly, then I would be happy to help overtake the plane. And just the next day Alexey made me this offer. The overtaking was planned for the May holidays. And just at once Alexey sent me a ticket to Blagoveshchensk. Preparation has begun.

Flight route

In Aviacominfo, maps were purchased along the route, the route was analyzed taking into account the practical range of the aircraft, the relief was assessed, the airspace structure was assessed, intermediate and alternate aerodromes were worked out, as well as possible weather conditions. Invaluable help in the preparation of the route was provided by our best pilots ANI: Larissa Kasyan, Vadim Drozdov, Sergey Dolzhenko.

   Assessment of the relief I carried out on physical maps of the USSR and Aviacominfo. Unfortunately, no modern electronic map gives a clear vision of the terrain, possible passes in the mountains.

On the completion of the aircraft, I asked Alexei to install a flowmeter and a temperature gauge of exhaust gases and cylinder heads and also to obtain a wetsuit. We were to fly over the Tatar Strait just over 100km, the water temperature in which is about + 2C. For a wet suit I asked Sergey Vyacheslavovich Alafinov (NPO Aerovolga, which is a developer and manufacturer of amphibian aircraft La-8 and Borey).

The day of departure arrived.

Domodedovo Airport, this plane of the Ural Airlines will take me to Blagoveshchensk

I went to the airport with two bags. In hand luggage I had: GPS-navigator Garmin 795 with the latest updates from the company Briefing +, a headset, cords and chargers and soap-rylin accessories. Also on the eve I received a wonderful present from the company "Kalashnikov" in the person of our survival instructor and the best specialist in outfitting Mikhail Yarin - a light, compact and very comfortable warm suit and thermo.

Night during the flight from west to east is short. And now the plane touched the Blagoveshchensk runway.

Larissa Kasyan and I

When I left the airport, I met Larisa Kasyan.

Alexei arrived in a few hours, so we had time to tour the city and get acquainted with private airfields of Blagoveshchensk.

Emir River embankment in Blagoveshchensk, on the other side of China.

Panorama of the embankment of the Amur River
on the other side of China


Hotel Armenia in Blagoveshchensk
The monument to the border guards was opened in Blagoveshchensk on the Amur embankment near the Kalinin-Krasnoflotskaya streets on the day of the border troops on May 28, 2007
The Arc de Triomphe - was built for the arrival on June 4, 1891 in Blagoveshchensk of the Tsarevich Nicholas, the future emperor Nicholas II. Destroyed in 1936. Rehabilitated and put into operation on October 4, 2005. The foundation contains a capsule with a message to the descendants.
Bronekater BK-905, prospect 1125. Monument to the sailors of the Amur River Flotilla of 1941-1945. (Blagoveshchensk)

Road to Cheremkhovo airfield

Cheremkhovo aerodrome

Larissa in the Amur Region is the main pilot-instructor of AON and probably the only pilot. Everyone knows her here, she taught many how to fly, helped many. And now he is engaged in the development and promotion of private aviation. Under the leadership of Larissa works a whole flying club, at the local university, she lectures on aviation, for students organizes tours to the cosmodrome Vostochny, for his pilots, organizes night flights at Blagoveshchensk airport.

But Alexei and Edward have already arrived and it's time for us to move on. We say goodbye to Blagoveshchensk and go to Belogorsk.

Our Cessna-150 lives on the territory of a canned military airfield in a personal caponier.

There are a lot of empty caponiers here ...

"Sleep and food is the basis of flying," so Edward immediately places us and puts us on the payroll. The next couple of days we will live with the soldiers and eat with them.

Beds are tucked in, but are not exactly - not order.



Now the food in the army even among the rank and file is not very bad. Being an urban spoiled resident, I gladly ate my ration in parts and at the same time it was even too much for me.

Wash basin and toilet on the street. In the morning, according to the instructions before opening the tap - you first need to split the icicle. ;-)

To inspect and begin to prepare the plane for the flight.

I'm installing a fuel transfer system, Alexei is installing a fuel computer and a cigarette lighter.

Unfortunately, there is no way to evaluate the condition of the piston. Although I brought a compressor, but there is no compressor. Turning the hand screw understand that one cylinder is weak. Okay, the flight will show ...

On the fly, another jamb is found - a deflated bow post and the shimmy nose wheel damper is not working at all.

Test flight

But otherwise the plane is good and it is clear that Edward loved him.

Edward says goodbye to his favorite plane

We equip the plane, analyze the weather.

Fly to us through small mountains, through the Jewish Autonomous Region, past the city of Birobidzhan, just over 600 km shoulder.

Reserve I choose the airfield Yellow Yar for Birobidzhan.

Larissa gives the phone pilot Yuri Frolov. He now works in the area and can give actual weather. Yuri says that in the mountains there is a forest and a strong gusty wind. However, the wind is favorable and the weather is sunny.

The forecast promises a window for the next couple of days.

We take off after lunch, according to the calculation, we have time to come to Khabarovsk before sunset.

The plane has come off the runway well, but typing 600m does not want to climb higher ... We are overloaded.

And indeed: fueling the kind of cork, two people, two full 20 liters of petrol canister in the cabin, NAZ, emergency equipment and personal belongings.

There are many fields in the Amur Region.

We pass Bureyskaya HPP and a new airfield specially constructed by its management for the summer meeting of the AON, to which all pilots are invited by Larissa Kasyan.

Place of the new airfield:

We begin to try to dynamically jump out higher. To do this, in the horizon, the plane accelerates, we make a smooth hill, again the acceleration and again the hill. So we scrape about 300m more.

And around the smoke more and more. Beneath us are fires ...

While we are so entertained passed more than an hour of flight. Cessna sank in the area of ​​27 liters of gasoline and we can begin pumping fuel from the cabin into the main tanks.

Alexei connects the compressor, presses the power button and ... The compressor motor takes one sigh and falls silent. Somewhere the electricity was knocked out. What to do? It is necessary to understand ... Turn off the main switch all the power, feel the row of gas stations for the knocked out. Everything seems to be included ... Hmm ... I wonder where the contact then fell off or burnt out? But on the ground everything worked.

And then Alexei realizes: we have burned the Chinese splitter of the cigarette lighter. We connect directly to the cigarette lighter and give food. The pump started working, the transfer went. We fly! But there are mountains and smoke ahead. There is no horizontal visibility, but you can see a little under yourself. Again we scrub the height. The red relief on the Garmin-795 is getting smaller and smaller. We pass over the mountains! Also, the increased tailwind gives a good speed increase. At an air speed of 145 km / h, the track in places was 220 km / h. We pass the mountains, we go out into the valley of the smoke becomes smaller and we have a view of Birobidzhan.

We have been flying for more than 2 hours and the second canister of gasoline is sent to the main tanks. The mood is excellent, but the Cupid is ahead. We begin the decline. Alexey smoothly translates the aircraft into planning. We need to bypass Khabarovsk from the north, so as not to interfere with the work of the airport. The flight altitude is not more than 100 m.

Khokhlat airfield

We pass Khokhlatskaya and here GPS loses satellites. 20 minutes without GPS. The course is known, the estimated time of arrival, too, there are maps. For 8 km to Kalinka, GPS determines our location and confirms that we are flying right.

The sun will soon set and it's time for us to land.

And here is our runway. Comparing the air and ground speeds determine the course of landing and build the approach with a straight line. The plane gently touches the concrete runway.

Next to the strip are the military. How then it turned out that the infantry is training here, killing an excellent runway with caterpillar technology ... I do not cease to wonder how stupid it must be and how to hate your country in order to so thoughtlessly ruin what had previously been invested colossal means. One joy is that local private aviators fenced off about 1 km (2.5 km) of the strip and support it.

I call Vadim Drozdov and he tells me where to steer. And again we see the caponiers. But already concrete. In some of them there are planes (where the fallen multi-ton gates managed to be dragged). We are met by the head of the airfield Levshin Vladimir Leonidovich and determines the parking lot.

Vadim is coming. We moor the plane and go to the city.

To be continued...

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