He personally knew I.V. Stalin, moreover, the leader experienced warm fatherly feelings for him and always called him exclusively by name. Stalin's entourage was particularly struck by the fact that when Alexander Evgenievich Golovanov came to him, he personally met him and tried to help undress, while accompanying him, he served his overcoat. Is it possible to imagine Stalin, who helps dress Zhukov or Kuznetsov, Khrushchev or Molotov? Some colleagues and people close to Golovanov claimed that, starting from the thirties, Alexander Evgenievich was in fact a full-grown intelligence officer and personal pilot of the country's leader, his bodyguard, confidant, even a friend. And his main activities were the most responsible and secret assignments - both in the USSR and abroad. But, the truth is, or rumors, is unknown. But even if we take the official biography of Golovanov, then his fate will seem unique to many - there were so many feats, unexpected turns, events, but at the same time, we understand - at that heroic time such people were born ... Much has been written about Golovanov’s military activities, but the civilian period has remained in the shadows. Let's try to eliminate this gap a little.
Little is known about the childhood of the future legendary marshal - it is only known that he studied in the cadet corps and was distinguished by good studies and exemplary behavior. The young man perceives the revolution as a fair act of retaliation to the capitalist exploiters, and to the ideals of it he serves his whole life faithfully and faithfully.
In 15 years Golovanov goes to the front. When the war ended, Golovanov works for the OGPU, and in 21 the year he wore four sleepers on his buttonholes - nowadays these insignia correspond to the rank of colonel.
Only two years after receiving a pilot’s diploma, and so many events! The work of the People's Commissariat of Industry, the command of the flight detachment of heavy aircraft "Aeroflot". And in January 1935, a new appointment - the head of the newly created East Siberian Civil Administration aviation.
The first acquaintance with the farm did not bring joy. The central control airfield in Irkutsk is a poorly equipped airfield and an old wooden house in which all services of the two squadrons are located. All accounts in the bank are closed due to the insolvency of the organization. And as a result - the water supply, electricity, telephones are disconnected. And this is in Irkutsk.
Golovanova's working day began at six in the morning. He checked the training of flight crews and airplanes at the "land" airfield. Then he hurried to the hydroport, the same concerns there. After lunch and until late evening - in the management. Often traveled to the city to solve operational issues in various instances. Economic tasks occupied most of the working time of the head of the department. However, he sought not to lose qualifications, continued to fly.
Being by nature a born pilot, Golovanov highly appreciated the work of the pilots, people who knew him recalled that Alexander Evgenievich was distinguished by a broad mind and a desire to help. He showed concern for aviators, was interested in living conditions, often visited hostels, helped. On his initiative, they created a special information service in the airport's control room, where the pilot's wife could go at any time of the day and find out where her husband was at the route and when his return was expected.
Once one of the pilots "stayed up" on the track due to bad weather. But he had a misfortune at home: his mother was seriously ill. Having learned about this, Golovanov, taking with him the head of the service, went to the apartment and helped to do everything to organize the treatment of the patient. “A distinctive feature of Golovanov’s character was his accessibility for all,” recalled one of his Irkutsk colleagues, Aeroflot veteran I. Dyuburg. He knew how to listen carefully and patiently to everyone, always consulted with subordinates, did not hesitate to learn from them.
He worked in the management of a skillful rationalizer, engineer V. Urdaev. Once he was invited to Golovanov. The engineer was at a loss: “Why did I need the authorities?” It turned out that the commander learned about the poor health of the engineer and got him the right ticket to Kislovodsk.
Golovanov was an active propagandist of aviation. 18 August in honor of the Day of Aviation in Yakutsk planned to conduct an air parade. Three aircraft were already in place. Golovanov decided to fly there and become the fourth participant in the parade. “Imagine,” he told flight engineer Mr. M. Vyshinsky, “the Yakuts, who consider themselves the only transport of deer and dog teams, will see their own future tomorrow with airplanes!” Many people gathered in the central square of the city. To their indescribable joy, the airplanes passed at a low altitude.
At the beginning of autumn 1936, a large group of young pilots arrived in Irkutsk. Golovanov thoroughly met each of them. And then closely followed their growth, helped. Many of the newcomers (G. Filanovsky, A. Denisov, I. Sharov, L. Rusak, N. Kuratnik and others) became masters of their craft, made a significant contribution to the development of aviation communications in Siberia.
In 1937, a wave of repression came to Irkutsk. Several management officers were arrested. Golovanov, as far as he could, tried to protect people from persecution, or at least mitigate the punishments that fell upon them. The former deputy head of the political department of the department V. Biryukov, one of the few who were lucky enough to avoid the consequences of the bloody repression, recalled: “The one whom I called my closest friend decided to err and wrote a false denunciation of me. And the one whom I sharply criticized at party meetings for failures in work — this is Golovanov — showed himself to be an extremely decent person. He filed a petition for my release, wrote an objective description, on the basis of which I was released. ” Should I blame the system for such "friends" who are trying to "insure"?
There were similar "friends" and Golovanov, thanks to which he was under the threat of arrest. It happened in 1938 year. One of the comrades warned Golovanov that a slanderous denunciation had been received, on the basis of which they were going to arrest him at night. The consequences were not difficult to predict: automatic expulsion from the party, court and sentence. Golovanov was well aware of this and did not tempt fate: he quickly got ready, hurried to the railway station and went to Moscow to seek protection.
In Moscow, Golovanov immediately appealed to the Party Central Committee with a statement, which qualified the denunciation as slanderous and asked for thorough investigation. The statement was checked, and the “facts” indicated in it were not confirmed. True, Golovanov was relieved of his duties as head of the department and appointed an ordinary pilot to the Moscow Transport Directorate.
About the aviators with whom he worked in Irkutsk, Alexander Evgenievich retained good memories. And, if it happened, he tried to help when they were in a difficult situation. Already at the high post of commander of long-range aviation in the years of the Great Patriotic War, Golovanov received a greasy triangle — such letters due to the lack of envelopes were frequent in wartime. On the triangle was the address: "To the citizen, the commander of Golovanov." He wrote to A.V. Mansvetov, the former commander of the flight detachment of the East Siberian Administration. Once on Kolyma, he asked for help to restore justice. Golovanov Mansvetova knew well. Excellent pilot, initiative commander. It was impossible to believe in the version of espionage, in which they accused him. Golovanov addressed directly to Stalin with a request to allow him to take Mansvetov to ADD. He offered to write an official letter to the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs, which Golovanov did. A few days later, Mansvetov was released. He fought well, received several combat awards and ended the war with a major.
Golovanov flew confidently, reliably, without comment. Soon he was appointed chief-pilot of a special-purpose squadron. The post provided performance of tasks which often were beyond normal flights. She demanded constant readiness for departure. Even during his stay at home, on vacation could ring. The crew of the chief pilot of Aeroflot A. Golovanov performed dozens of special assignments. He remembered most of all this, which fell on May 1939 of the year.
Central airport of the capital. Three transport aircraft froze on the airfield. The usual pre-flight vanity. Next to the cars are military passengers. All in flight form. Many have golden races of the Hero of the Soviet Union on their chests. Here are Sergei Gritsevets, Nikolai Gerasimov and Boris Smirnov. Fighter pilots fought in the sky of Republican Spain. Lead a leisurely conversation. In another group of pilots, bombers. People who are also famous in aviation are Ivan Dushkin, Viktor Shevchenko ... They are arguing about something, gesticulating. Away two more. All military aviators probably know them: Deputy Chief of the Directorate of the Air Force, Com Corps Officer Yakov Smushkevich and Inspector of the Combat Training Department of the Directorate of the Air Force Ivan Lakeev. Having finished the conversation, J. Smushkevich (he was the senior of the group) looked at his watch and gave the command: “By planes!”.
This flight was preceded by events unfolding near the Khalkhin-Gol river. In the first days of the fighting, events did not develop in our favor. Japanese aircraft, which had good planes and manned pilots with combat experience, seized air supremacy. Stalin, dissatisfied with the development of events, demanded that the People's Commissar of Defense K. Voroshilov take emergency measures. To remedy the situation and gain air superiority, it was decided to form a group of pilots who had experience of air battles in Spain and China. Generate - formed, but how to deliver it faster?
This can only be done on airplanes. But it turned out to be difficult. The route, on which it was necessary to fly, was not prepared for operation, is not equipped with elementary radio facilities. To fly without them means to fly blindly. And the meteorological conditions for the passage through Siberia are extremely difficult. The experience of long-distance flights from the military is almost none. The People's Commissariat of Defense appealed to the leadership of the Civil Air Fleet with a request to select commanders of ships with experience of such flights. The choice fell on A. Golovanov and the then famous N. Novikov pilot. The crews manned pilots of a special squadron of the Air Force, but the commanders of civilian aircraft were allowed to take "their" flight mechanics. Golovanov was named after K. Thomplon. Major V. Grachev (in the future, a famous pilot) was appointed the second pilot to Golovanov. He made a good impression: he was confidently in flight and owned the technique of piloting the aircraft immaculately.
In the plane, which led the crew of A. Golovanov, flew a group of senior commanders headed by J. Smushkevich. The long way, had to do landing at intermediate airports for refueling. After departure from Novosibirsk, the pilots encountered bad weather conditions in the Krasnoyarsk region, and then flew blindly to Irkutsk, taking all communications and navigation on themselves. As a result, everything ended successfully, moreover, having flown last, the crew of Golovanov landed first.
Over the years of work in Eastern Siberia, he has studied the area well. Accumulated, albeit small, experience of blind flights. Now there was a convenient opportunity to check both their training and the crew for action in extreme conditions. To consolidate the skills that (he was deeply sure of this) will be needed in the near future. Long blind flight even caused excitement among “passengers”, excellent combat pilots. But after fifteen or twenty minutes, everyone believed in the crew and calmed down. From Irkutsk they headed for the trans-border airfield in Transbaikalia, where the pilots were awaited by fighters of the I-16 with improved machine-gun armament. On these fighters they flew to Mongolia.
In the very first air battles, the arrived Soviet pilots inflicted significant losses on Japanese aircraft. Timely transfer of experienced air fighters helped to change the front-line situation in our favor.
The crew of Golovanova continued to fly in Transbaikalia and Mongolia. Sometimes he spent in the air up to eighteen hours a day. For the difference in service during the battles at Khalkhin Gol, A. Golovanov was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. Received awards and members of his crew. The flights of A. Golovanov and his comrades to Mongolia occupy a special place in stories aviation. Their great value was that they allowed to gain valuable experience of blind flights of heavy planes over long distances.
In November 1939, the Soviet-Finnish war broke out. A. Golovanov became its participant. The crew of the chief-pilot was attracted to perform particularly important tasks. The weather during the war was almost non-flying: fog, snow, thick clouds. Much of the flight had to be carried out in the clouds or above the clouds. And it is constantly threatened with icing, which brought additional trouble. The emphasis was on devices and professional skills. Radio routes, operating enemy radio stations, and even broadcasting, both in Finnish and neighboring countries, were widely used for laying routes. Therefore, the crew, making a blind flight, usually accurately reached the target and performed the tasks exemplary. The experienced flight team consisted of such masters of their craft as co-pilot Mikhail Vagapov, flight mechanic Konstantin Tomplon, radio engineer Nikolai Baykuzov. After the Finnish campaign, a second award appeared on Golovanov’s chest - the Order of Lenin.
In blind flights, the crew of Golovanova came to the forefront. He was asked to share experiences, give advice and recommendations to pilots on the implementation of such flights. The answer was an article entitled "My Aviation Year", published in the journal "Civil Aviation". Speaking of blind flights, Golovanov noted that they are possible over long distances. The experience he has gained has served to confirm this conclusion. There was no case for the crew to return from the flight before reaching the final destination.
“... we have gained a great experience of flying blindly, off-piste, in difficult meteorological conditions,” Golovanov summed up. - I made sure that if a pilot owns a blind flight, radio navigation, he can perform a flight in any conditions. Even in those cases when using radio navigation is impossible, a competent pilot, using the richest navigation equipment of a modern aircraft, can still fly, and moreover very accurately ... Using the radio signal system, we definitely went to the airfield and landed safely. ”
The excerpts from the article show how far ahead Golovanov looked, enthusiastically promoting blind flights, which are now routine for crews. Then he literally lived on these flights, constantly wondering how to provide them with a wide road.
Once, J. Smushkevich, the then General Inspector of the Air Force, told Golovanov that he should write a letter to Stalin. Golovanov was stunned by such a proposal. But Smushkevich explained that, knowing the flight work of the Air Force, Aleksandr Evgenievich should have understood that military issues are not attached to the issues of blind flights and the use of radionavigation means, and the leaders of this direction are not sufficiently prepared. “Next write that you can take up this matter and put it to the proper height,” Smushkevich finished.
After much deliberation, Golovanov sent such a letter to the leader. On the basis of his experience, he substantiated the need to take urgent measures to train crews of long-range bomber aircraft, fly in the clouds and suggested organizing a special air connection for these purposes. Time passed, and there was no answer. Golovanov had already ceased to wait (do you know how many letters are addressed to Stalin). Then one day, when he flew to Alma-Ata on instructions, a telegram arrived there, offering him an urgent return.
In Moscow, Golovanov was immediately taken from the airfield to the Kremlin, where the meeting was held with Stalin. When he appeared in Golovanov’s office, Stalin turned to his letter. He noted that his suggestions deserve attention. Then he outlined a plan for how to practically implement this proposal: first create a regiment and, for the sake of the cause, subordinate it not to the district, but to the center.
A day later, Golovanov was again summoned to the Kremlin. During the conversation with Stalin, the formation of the 212-th separate bomber air regiment was discussed. His commander was appointed A. Golovanov, summoning 1941 to the Red Army in February. Service in the Air Force and participation in the Great Patriotic War is another glorious page in the biography of A. Golovanov, which deserves a separate article.
He returned to Aeroflot after the war. He was appointed Deputy Head of the State Research Institute of Civil Aviation. At that time, the institute mastered the IL-18 aircraft that entered service, introduced it for flights on Aeroflot routes. Golovanov devoted himself entirely to his beloved work — he was always not indifferent to the new aviation technology and constantly sought to be among the pioneers of its development. A great enthusiast of blind flights, he paid special attention to testing the instrumentation equipment, comprehensively experimented, seeking its greatest efficiency and reliability in operation.
In his advanced years, he worked as tirelessly as in his youth. His entire working day was arranged by the hour (long-standing habit of self-discipline and order). He himself showed an example of discipline in everything and demanded the same from his subordinates. It happened, time was running out. And then he even reduced the time for lunch, but never canceled it.
His dream was to create a modern flight test base and a team that can solve the most difficult tasks of modern aviation technology. Golovanov carefully selected candidates on very strict criteria. And in troubled troubles I did everything possible to create good conditions for the workers and, given their hard work, to provide them with everything they needed in their everyday life. First of all, housing. After all, inviting people, Alexander Evgenievich did not proceed from the presence of a capital registration, but from business qualities. He helped the pilots to purchase cars that were not a luxury, but a necessity, because the airfield was far from the city. And the fact that the test pilots of the Institute, after retiring to a deserved rest, began to receive an increased pension, is also his merit.
Golovanov organized a flight test squad at the institute, and with a time dreamed of turning the entire institute into a flight test. And very eager for this. But another point of view took the upper hand: the research institute was identified as the head of all aviation science.
In the sixties, helicopters became widely used in the national economy. They were indispensable assistants in construction and installation work in the most difficult places and at sites where they successfully performed operations that were beyond the capacity of installation cranes. Golovanov was a lot and persistently introducing the practice of rotary-wing machines into practice, developing techniques for the most complex operations. Trips to field trips helped to successfully solve this problem.
At the Yaroslavl Tire Plant with the help of a helicopter installed vulcanizers, on the third floor of the existing production building, located inside the factory yard. The exact calculation of the unusual operation could provide only science. And the creative team of the institute, headed by A. Golovanov, successfully coped with the task. There were openings in the hull roof, and in them the Mi-6 helicopter safely lowered all the mechanisms.
So the science went along unexplored paths, accumulated and generalized the experience of using helicopters in the national economy, and gave reasonable recommendations. Being engaged in scientific work, Golovanov perfectly understood that the study of foreign experience, in which there was much instructive, is impossible without the knowledge of foreign languages. And at the age of sixty he began English and successfully completed the necessary course of study.
Not far from Sheremetyevo airport, an alley of fame was laid for veterans of the flight test complex of the State Research Institute of Civil Aviation. Birches and maples rustle in the wind. Near each of them there is a sign reminding of who the tree was planted in honor of. Among them there is a maple, planted in honor of the Chief Air Marshal A.Ye. Golovanova, whose contribution to the development of civil aviation in our country is difficult to overestimate.
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