Contrary to everything
- Hugo Petrovich, how do you feel about the lack of pilots in Russia today?
- It is a shame for our country that we were left without domestic aircraft and without our pilots. Now, as far as I know, a decision has already been made to allow foreign pilots to manage aircraft. For this it was necessary to change the Air Code of the Russian Federation. Previously, we could only have citizens of our own country as ship commanders and pilots. But they survived - Russia lacks its own pilots. A terrible shame. It never happened. It happened because all of our flying clubs closed. Once they were the initial link in the training of pilots. And the training there was free! But today everything costs money and everything becomes more expensive.
- The Chelyabinsk airline was created before your eyes?
- Yes, I came to the airline in 1957 year and was there the most ordinary person. In the same year I began to fly on the initial training gliders. I was still very far from flight work, because the program of flight training included only training in takeoff and landing. For ten years I was an instructor on these gliders. But all the time he made his way further - he wanted to fly. However, the fact that they took me to the airline was already a great happiness: I could see the planes, communicate with the pilots. This gave support and an incentive to practice at the flying club.
- How were you treated at the flying club?
- (Smiles.) How hopeless. No one believed that you could fly without a leg. Many bosses were opposed to me practicing in a flying club. Colonel Andrianov, for example, who worked in the regional committee of DOSAAF. Once, when I worked as an instructor in an aeroclub in Kusa, I disobeyed him - he wanted to take away the car from us, with the help of which the gliders were launched, and I refused to give this car away. The colonel was furious, summoned me to the regional committee of DOSAAF, chastised me with all imaginable and inconceivable words in all Russian languages, and handed me his written opinion that for aviation I am unpromising. I did not save this letter, then tore it in indignation.
“But it didn't stop you?”
- (Laughs.) Wanted to fly even more, despite everything! But there were people in DOSAAF who supported me and thought that I could fly. After Andrianov, Colonel Zuev came. He invited me once and said: "If you want to fly, I propose to become an instructor on the gliders of the initial training." I agreed, of course. The initial training glider was made of plywood, the wingspan was from seven to eight meters, there were different series. Flying stool. The 56 glider weighed kilograms and was launched into the air with a large rubber slingshot. The instructor had to have a certain eloquence in order to explain to the cadet how to act, since there was no place for the instructor in the glider, he was single-seat. On this glider, it was possible to take off, gain 15-20 altitude meters, make a planning flight in a straight line and land on the ground. And then they switched to more advanced types of gliders.
"You will fly!"
- Remember your first solo flight?
- And how! It so happened that the first flight was a complete surprise for me. And further strengthened my desire to fly. I worked with the guys, model aircraft and worked as an accountant on the collective farm. A glider was then bought for us, an instructor was sent to us, and we began flight training. The instructor, having completed a demonstration flight on a glider, forgot to remove the balance bar, with the help of which the rear centering was created. When I got into the glider, he had only to run over the ground. However, due to the rear alignment, the glider lifted off the ground, the breeze still played along a bit, and I flew up to the height of 7-8 meters. If I had not been prepared for this situation, the flight would have been my last. (Laughs.) But I had a good self-training, and I managed to land. The instructor was delighted and said: “You can fly, you will fly!” On the third day of our training, he wrote me an instructor's certificate and left. I stayed to work with the guys.
By the way, in Chelyabinsk, they gave me a group of gliders of initial training on the same glider. I released the guys with very good results, and on this basis, the command of the aeroclub agreed to give me direction to Moscow for the central medical flight committee of the Air Force to allow me to fly on higher-class gliders. I spent the whole year saving money on this trip. He arrived in Moscow, came to the head of the medical and sanitary department, Colonel Mazin. When he understood the purpose of my ward, he roughly cursed and expelled from the office.
- And you returned without permission?
- I did not want to give up. I walked along the corridor and thought: where to go? I saw on the door a sign “Chief of aviation training, Major General Aviation Tsarev, Hero of the Soviet Union”. I knocked and entered. He met me very well, called Mazin and ordered me to give a referral to the commission. The colonel had to surrender, although he forced me to go in this direction for another week. But I received a referral and went to the central medical flight committee. I come, and there are guys in the queue who, on the contrary, want to write to the ground. The experts of this commission were perplexed: how is it that healthy men do not want to fly, and then a boy without a foot is torn into the sky ?! But I had no other health abnormalities. And I was sent to the office to the chairman of the commission, Lieutenant General Borodin. He listened to me and called someone: “Grigory Ruvimovich, you once imagined it, you allowed Maresyev to fly, I’ll send you one eccentric now — do what you want with him.” And I went to the medical service colonel Graifer in a military hospital. It was he who during the war allowed Maresyev to fly. Grigory Ruvimovich met me well, but experienced the full program: we went to the hospital yard, and I showed how I can run, jump ... He gave a positive conclusion.
Ready towing vehicle
Is the path to independent flight open?
- Not. Soon the head of the Chelyabinsk flying club changed. A young and very hot captain came to power, who perceived me differently than the previous boss, he treated me ironically. And he began to mend obstacles. I successfully passed the medical commission, but I was not allowed to fly. In the end I had to leave for Sibay, where there was an aviation sports club, I was flying a glider as an instructor. By the way, they worked there on gliders that were launched into the sky from a winch. And the glider's takeoff was terrible: the angle of climb 45 degrees, legs above the head, vertical speed 18 meters, the ground overturned ... There were cases when the wings of the gliders broke when the gliders turned over. But I managed to feel this principle of take-off well, and I mastered it, they began to let me out on their own, then they made an instructor on this winch.
And then I returned to Kusa, where I designed and built my two-seater glider. It was possible for two of them to work out the take-off and landing. But with one pilot he flew remarkably — he didn’t fly, he just swam, I couldn’t rejoice. But when they sat down together, the glider reared up, the unsuccessful alignment was. I realized that learning it will not work. Today I would redo it.
–How did you find yourself in Kiev, in the Antonov Design Bureau?
- When the club was closed in Kus, I ended up in Zlatoust, where we worked with the designer Lev Komarov. In Zlatoust, he did his first job - the plane “Kid”, and I was an instructor of the squadron of young pilots at the city palace of the pioneers. On the “Little One” we gave the children exploratory flights. Of these guys, many later became pilots. When we built the “Kid” and flew around, Komarov was invited to Antonovskoye KB in Kiev, and then me - to retrain for flights on modern gliders.
For the first month in Kiev, they did not allow me to fly, they got accustomed, I worked with technicians, prepared airplanes and gliders for flight. And the gliders there were more advanced - of a closed type, with instrument and radio equipment, high-speed, it was necessary to work only with parachutes. But then I got the opportunity to master all these types of gliders. And it's good to fly on them. And in the third year of operation, it was even possible to fly on the Yak-12, become a towing pilot. This happened when I was already 30 years old, in 1967. I finally became a pilot and towed gliders on this plane.
- How did this happen?
- For me it was an incredible happiness! At first I mastered this plane with friends, they gave me the opportunity to feel the control of the plane. And once it took a tug pilot. Instructor Dymov, with whom I flew, pointed to me: "Here, ready tow - check and release!" I got a couple of test flights. After the second instructor gets out of the plane and says: "And you do not unfasten, now he will fly." I completed two flights. Everything went fine. However, when I took off the first time alone and realized that there was no one else on the plane, I got a little buried. The plane is serious. But everything went fine.
"Lay the parachute!"
- But what about skydiving?
- Yes, I got this question. The guys doubted: whether to allow me to jump? They were afraid that I could break the other leg. I told them then: you only listen to me, because no one wants to listen, if I cannot convince you that it is safe for me, then I will not be offended. I presented them with theoretical calculations: what kind of load during a parachute landing would be on its feet. We looked: the calculations are correct. I climbed on a stool - jumped off, showed that I was landing on both legs. Then he jumped off the table. We went to the simulators - one and a half meters, the other three meters fifteen centimeters. I started to jump, everything is fine, but when I climbed to the third step of the simulator - the guys got scared again. I tell them: you can be afraid as much as you like, but these simulators are not at your lock, and without you, I still jump here. They agreed, I did a couple of jumps - everyone was convinced that I was landing on both legs. And the chief of the parachute service could not stand it: “Go, pack the parachute!” The next day I completed the first jump.
- Joy was indescribable! I have never experienced such delight in my life, as at the first jump. In the plane I was in the far corner, and the guys jumped up to me. I looked at them and laughed that they were so worried, everyone was tense, they turned pale, they turned red, stained ... (Laughs.) But when it was my turn, my laughter passed. I, too, tensed before this abyss. But then he pulled himself up: he had been striving for this for ten years, arguing that I could jump, how could I not jump now !? And when the parachute opened, the joy was stormy. Five jumps performed. True, in one of the jumps the strap of the prosthesis burst, a hard landing was on the runway. But no one except me noticed. To fly the road was open. And only in 2009, the doctors stopped me, already here, in Chelyabinsk.
“But after passenger planes, did you still work in ultralight?”
- In the Urals, the first squadron was created, which worked on the processing of fields on ultralight aircraft. I had previously watched the guys who flew on these planes, carried out sanitary tasks with the selection of sites from the air. This work is quite complicated - the pilot does not land on the airfield, but on a random platform that no one has prepared. He had to evaluate it from the air, take into account the direction of the wind, the pressure on this site and sit down. I admired these guys - imagine the level of training of these pilots! After all, they were fully responsible for the car, if the landing is unsuccessful. With these guys, the friendship ensued for life!
And I worked on the 13 ultra-light Aviatic aircraft for the seasons. It was a kind of airplane - small, single, but strict. Everything is arranged the opposite way for him: for any normal aircraft, the engine is ahead, and he has the pilot behind his back, which is why I became deaf. Usually the flight on this plane lasted 20-30 minutes, you rest, then the next field. Once I am told - go home, the next field is not ready. I got into my “Moskvich”, what is it - all the devices of the car are working, but the engine is not audible? Although the engine of the "Moskvich" does not work quietly. And only then I realized that I was stunned by the engine of an airplane, only after three hours, when I was approaching Chelyabinsk, my hearing was restored.
And the behavior of Aviatik was also unusual - if the An-2 sagged in flight, the pilot gives gas, the plane lifts its nose and leaves the collision with the ground, the pilot aligns it. On Aviation, the opposite is true: here the plane failed, and the working height of the flight above the ground is one and a half meters, or a meter, when there was no wind or turbulence, but add gas a little and it will not leave the ground, but, on the contrary, crash into it . And even experienced pilots smashed such cars, which came to us after the Tu-154. That is, this plane needed to be very well felt, plus to be able to select sites from the air. Sometimes it was necessary to sit in the middle of the forest when two meters were left from the wings of an airplane to the crowns of trees. Not in itself was done, the nerves, not everyone will survive.
- You had no accidents?
“I couldn’t allow this, I always had to take care of myself, because I was still in 1975, when I was allowed into civil aviation, I was warned:“ Bear in mind - they will forgive any other accident, they will never forgive you! ”And I put all my strength In order to justify the trust of those who met me, they helped me get into aviation. Thank God, I didn't have to blush before them.
- At least once there were doubts that you started this fight for flying in vain?
- (Laughs.) It is enough that these doubts were constantly with others. And I - never. Even in the most difficult periods of my life. In Zlatoust, for example, when they stopped paying for my work, the cost of living reached kopecks - less than a ruble a day. Not even enough money for a student cafeteria. Going to work somewhere means I cannot deal with the guys on the gliders with full dedication, but it was more expensive for me. And then I began to buy for the day a loaf of bread and a pack of pea concentrate. All this was divided into three parts - as a result, he was not hungry. It was hard when I started working in civil aviation, but I was always absolutely sure that it was my business to fly.
- Do you still want to fly today?
- I want to fly, but I will not pass on health. There is a desire to build your airplane, although today there is a money bill. When in our country began to build capitalism, I was not taken aback. I thought that my persistence was enough to fit into the new economy. But, as I understood later, capitalism is not for honest people. At least Russian. And I do not know how to cheat. I tried to earn in honest ways and flew all the time. And I lost my deposits, like many other Russians, although I didn’t have big savings, I always lived with a dream, I never thought about money. But the system has changed, and all our habits were inappropriate. Therefore, there was no start-up capital to buy or build a light plane. And without money it is impossible. I wanted to do more for my daughter, who learned to fly, but the training at the flying club went up in price, and she did not finish her studies.
- Hugo Petrovich, and the insult remained in your heart against those people who hindered you?
- Not. I think if I do not forgive insults, then my health will suffer first and foremost. Even if no one asks for forgiveness from me, I have to forgive — I will have the benefit and relief if their conscience begins to manifest. Now we are trying to revive the trade union of veterans of the flight service, because it was dispersed during the era of perestroika, and the pilots were simply thrown over the fence, having taken away the passes. We have to revive it, because there is too much injustice. When I spoke to my comrades at the meeting, I said: it often catches my eye when we meet that someone does not want to see someone hurt against each other - this is wrong, we must forgive, we will win everything . We will forgive - it will be easier for everyone to live.