Continuing his travels around Russia, Paul Filmer finds himself in Irkutsk, and a side trip to a familiar place visited three years previously, Oyak DOSAAF Airfield.
DOSAAF in the Soviet days stood for “Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Fleet” and was a paramilitary sport organization, concentrating mainly with weapons, automobiles and aviation. It was a sort of proving ground for youngsters before entering the military proper.
In 1991 it was renamed the “Russian Defence Sports-Technical Organization” or РОСТО. Then in 2009 it was renamed yet again to DOSAAF Russia.
As you will see from the photos, aircraft carry either POCTO or DOSAAF, depending on what era they were painted in. In essence it’s the same thing.
The last time we visited I flew an An-2 with the rest of the party hanging on for dear life in the back, but this time the boss-man wasn’t around, as he was fighting a local fire with one of the An-2s from the field, and of course, this being Russia, if the main man isn’t around to make a decision, then no-one else can.
Not much had really changed since my last visit, except the airfield had undergone a little tidy-up, with most of the disused An-2 airframes now lined up neatly in two rows.
We were treated to a full-on engine test on RF-00362, which in its drab green and large red star on the tail looks the part as a military airframe.
There were a few surprises however. There was an unknown small hovercraft with an interesting propeller layout sitting in the grass.
There were also a couple of interesting indigenous amphibians present. A Chaika L-42 that sports an interesting v-tailed t-tail, and an unmarked Chernov CH-22J Corvette. Both aircraft are designed with high mounted, upwards curving engines on top on the wings, much like the An-72. I bet they are fun to fly!
A MiG-15UTI had also appeared, and was still parted out, as this could only have been trucked in.
Although I always enjoy these grass-roots airfields, the next stop would be Irkutsk Airport proper, which is always full of surprises. More of that in the next instalment.