Who such Mikhail Vodopyanov? Gold stars on a breast just like that do not fallIn the late twenties in Germany the single-motor all-metal monoplane intended for transportation of passengers who is fated to become the first-ever passenger plane was created. It could lift in air of 4 passengers and 100 kg of a payload. Except a compass no air navigation devices existed. At an opportunity to reach height of 5500 meters, pilots were forced to fly not higher than 500 meters, and often in general in 50 meters from the earth as they could be guided only visually.
Such plane also arrived to Khabarovsk in unassembled form. Mikhail Vodopyanov and two mechanics had at - to begin to assemble independently 35 degrees the car. On 13 - y day started the motor. By this time on the route through each 50 km 11 platforms for an emergency landing of the plane were prepared.
On January 9, 1929 4 persons got into the plane. Besides the pilot and the flight mechanic the chief of “Dobrolet“ Rivadin, the secretary of regional council of Osoaviakhim Zakharov and the journalist Volynsky accommodated there.
In 2 hours 29 minutes, having overcome 350 km, the plane sat down in Tambov. There is a conversation which is written down by the journalist:
- Really you were in Khabarovsk in the morning? And we, God grant, will be there only in a month.
This phrase best of all characterizes need of the organization of an air route for those dense taiga places.
Having made some more landing, the plane reached Okhi. It was already the island of Sakhalin. On the way Vodopyanov arranged indicative flights with locals onboard.
Curious incident happened in Okh. The plane went further, but, having flown by several meters, fell in bushes.
- Again the motor brought, - Vodopyanov told, getting out of the car.
People on hands carried the plane in a workshop where the motor was adjusted.
On January 16, 1930 the Continent Sakhalin line was passed. In the summer the regular movement began. The airports were equipped, and 5 times a month the plane began to fly along this route. In the beginning Vodopyanov was one: he also prepared the plane for flight, and drove it, and even cleared away a runway from snow. Flight lasted 8 hours. Sakhalinskaya Route was the heaviest in the country, she was nicknamed “the route of heroes“.
Gradually there were still pilots, almost all problems were solved, and transfer Vodopyanov to a new site - in air squadron of the Pravda newspaper. The impracticable task was set for pilots: to carry newspaper matrixes on the largest cities of the country at night, in the morning subscribers had to get a fresh number “Truths“. It would seem that here difficult, but then, for lack of navigation devices, flew only on visible reference points which at night not to find. It did work so dangerous that pilots of group were called “suicides“.
In 1933 to Vodopyanov charged to carry out trial flight along a new long-distance route from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. There Mikhail had the most severe accident.
It occurred on February 12 over Baikal. The plane got to snowstorm, iced over and fell to ice near the coast, and in the morning it was noticed by railroad workers. The flight mechanic died, and the pilot, having got a severe wound, spent nearly three days unconscious. The set of changes, 7 lost teeth, heavy concussion, was 36 only one seams on the head, but good health and will power of Vodopyanov coped with these tests. In 5 months the medical board renders the verdict: “it is suitable for flights without restrictions“.
The chelyuskinsky epic began. I will not stop on expedition history, it is a separate subject. I will tell only that when business reached rescue of passengers of the steamship, and those there were 104 persons, including 10 women and two babies who landed from the sinking vessel on the drifting ices, Vodopyanov at once began to try to obtain that to it allowed to take part in their rescue. From - for problems with health after recent accident refused to it, however he achieved the and made impossible.
It was in Kharkiv when learned about accident. The plane by which it flew, P - 5, let made of a tree and fitted to percales was very maneuverable and prepared for work in the north. It warmed a cabin, there was an additional gasoline tank. Its motor was started at any temperature as there was a special device for its heating, and the most important - it could lift four people, but not two as usual P - 5. Mikhail proved by it need of the participation in rescue expedition.
The structure of a rescue party was already defined. Included pilots in it - Far Easterners led by Kamanin. For them decided to buy planes in America, to overtake them to Alaska, and then, having moved to Chukotka, to begin a rescue party.
Vodopyanov arrived to Moscow and addressed Kuibyshev directing a rescue operation that that allowed it flight to Nikolaevsk - on - Cupid and then to Anadyr. The compromise solution was made: in the beginning by train to Khabarovsk with the disassembled plane, and here from there already air - to Chukotka. It appeared that taking into account short light day, business was in March, to reach the country East quicker by rail.
From Khabarovsk flight in Vankarem began. A long journey - 6000 km, unfamiliar, its plane the first flew by in those places, for lack of any navigation, there was only a compass yes own eyes, any cards, settlements meet through hundreds of kilometers. It was one, neither the navigator, nor the radio operator. Here also imagine this picture. The motor - a certain death, in the bottom of the rock and the gorge will refuse.
Three weeks it spent for this flight, sticking to east coast of the country, through Nikolaevsk, Okhotsk and some more the cities and settlements where it could though is sensitive to take rest. It reached - and right there without respite on an ice floe, people perish there. He managed to fly and find successfully three times people, much of pilots did not manage it, and here he, having arrived the last, flying over every time through three high ridges, in snowstorm managed to take out ten.
On April 13, 1934 Schmidt`s camp became empty. On April 16 the Resolution of the Central Election Commission of the USSR founded a rank of the Hero of the Soviet Union, on April 20 it seven pilots including Vodopyanov were awarded. And on November 4, 1939, after establishment of a distinctive sign of the Hero, it was handed the medal “Gold Star“ with serial number 6.