|Type||ANT-37bis, DB-2B, 'Rodina'|
|Wing Load (kg/m2)||147|
|Power load (kg/hp)||6.6|
|Speed at 0m||300km/h|
|Speed at ?m||340km/h|
When trials of the DB-2D long range bomber proved that it unable to comply with latest military demands, Soviet Government ordered to develope it into an unarmed record setter. P.O.Sukhoj and his team did the job, including installation of new engines with 3-blade variable pitch propellers (VISH), increase of fuel capacity and adding an equipment necessary for extremely long flights. Other changes introduced in ANT-37bis 'Rodina' (Homeland) included smooth skin (instead of corrugated on the DB-2), wielded wing spars (instead of riveted) and electrically driven wheel retraction mechanism (first time in the USSR).
ANT-37bis was the third aircraft of the DB-2 family. Fourth airframe with a wing serving as a huge fuel tank was abandoned on assembly stage.
'Rodina' rolled out in February 1936.
Record flight was performed by women crew (pilots V.S.Grizodubova and P.D.Osipenko, navigator M.M.Raskova) on September 24-25 1938. 6000km route across the expanse of the Soviet Union from Moscow to Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Far East. With the aircraft icing up over the Siberian wilderness, the women tossed everything movable out of the aircraft to try and gain altitude. Finally, Raskova, who had been the navigator, decided she would have to go as well. She marked the aircraft's compass heading on a map and bailed out into the darkness. Local hunter eventually rescued Raskova, and helped her to get to the landing site on October 5.
The two remaining pilots performed a safe emergency landing in the dry marches near Kerby village, slightly short of their destination. 'Rodina' covered 5908km in 26h29min.
Search for the aircraft in wast taiga took 9 days. On October 3 'Rodina' was found by crew of civil floatplane MP-6 (first pilot M.E.Sakharov) of the Far East regional GVF management. Despite there was a lake suitable for hydroplanes within 10km of the landing spot, those 10km were nothing but an non-passable swamp.
Several airdrops were performed to supply the crew. Once 'Rodina' was found, several local airforce and civil officials and journalists rushed to the scene. Irresponsible behaviour resulted in mid-air collision of TB-3 and DC-3, carrying press and officials (who had an order from Moscow to meet female record-setters in Komsomolsk-on-Amur). Only four crew members of the TB-3 survived, because they were thrown out of open cockpits and gunner positions...
On October 5 'Rodina' was reached by ground search group, and on October 12 its crew arrived to Komsomolsk-on-Amur. On October 17 three "Winged Sisters" returned triumphantly to Moscow, where they were honored by specially organized party in Kremlin.
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