Today in 1930: First Flight of Soviet Airship “Komsomolskaya Pravda”

A guest post by Alexey Belokrys.

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On 29 August 1930, near Moscow, one of the earliest Soviet airships “Komsomolskaya Pravda” (Комсомольская Правда) took off for her maiden flight. After a one-hour flight over Moscow she successfully landed.

Komsomol'skaya Pravda being assembled outdoor

For the decade of the 1920s the Soviet state refrained from building airships. Neither the Red Army neither the Soviet Navy wished to order an airship for military purpose, nor was there interest by any civilian agency. Komsomolskaya Pravda was built by volunteers with private donations; some 12,000 Soviet rubles were raised from Soviet and foreign donors to fund the construction. This was roughly equivalent to 6,000 U.S. dollars.

Key facts about Komsomol’skaya Pravda

“Komsomol’skaya Pravda” — literally “Komsomol Truth” — was an official countrywide newspaper of Komsomol, the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League. The airship was named after the newspaper as its editorial board was a fundraiser for her construction and the majority of donations were received from the Komsomol members.

Komsomol'skaya Pravda envelope in the trough filled with gas

Komsomol’skaya Pravda was a simple non-rigid airship with a volume of 2500 cubic meters of hydrogen and a length of 46 meters. The ship carried one 185 hp BMW aircraft engine. The envelope was made of the fabric remained after old Russian WWI observation balloons of the Parseval type, and a metal open car was rope-hanged beneath the envelope.

As there were no airship hangars around Moscow at the time, the Komsomolskaya Pravda’s units were fabricated in a former church building. The entire airship was finally assembled and filled with gas outdoor in a natural trough. The same place was used as a mooring in 1930″“1931.

Komsomolskaya Pravda was used as a training airship by aeronautics students as well as for propaganda flights. During 1930″“1931, Komsomolskaya Pravda made 55 flights and covered 3555 km. She was sent for total reconstruction because of deterioration in 1932.

Komsomol'skaya Pravda in the air

Though unsophisticated, Komsomolskaya Pravda made a great impression on the Soviet people. Her successful operation was a valid argument for the authorities to eventually launch a state-run airship program.

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"Дирижаблестрой" на Долгопрудной : 1934, один год из жизни
Alexey Belokrys is a mining project manager based in Moscow, Russia. Passionate about the forgotten history of Soviet airships, he been writing and speaking about them for years. His book about the first (and the only) Soviet state airship construction enterprise, “Dirizhablestroi,” was published by Paulsen in 2011.

Alexey can be reached at [email protected]

 

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5 Comments on "Today in 1930: First Flight of Soviet Airship “Komsomolskaya Pravda”"

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Anthony Duva
Hello, Thank you for your interesting history lesson about a subject that is little-known in US. In 1975, Mom ordered Robert Jackson’s book “Airships in Peace and War” for me. It contains a photograph of a man-powered dirigible built by Danilewsky in the 1890s. The three experimental aerostats he built, named Embryo, Orichka, and Pilstrem (Thank you Rosebud’s Early Airships photos) are the three earliest Russian airships I have found so far. Several years ago, I encountered a website called “Dolgoprud” that features rare and interesting photos and information about Russian airships beginning with the 1908 “Uchebniy” / “Ouchebny” flight… Read more »
Dagmara Lizlovs

Just as I thought I was about to quit posting, I came across this video of this UFO like Russia airship:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Soviet+airships&FORM=HDRSC3#view=detail&mid=85C868B8E3BBFFA126F985C868B8E3BBFFA126F9

Dagmara Lizlovs

More on Russian Airships at this link:

http://englishrussia.com/2012/02/06/about-soviet-airships/

Dagmara Lizlovs

I just came across this article in the Daily Mail. It looks like Russia is working on an airship similar to the Airlander:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3144854/Red-zeppelin-Russia-set-unveil-military-airships-capable-carrying-200-personnel-traveling-105mph-without-need-runway.html

Milan Zivancevic

Great photos! Methinks I’ll order that book…

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