“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Vancouver in Clark County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)

The Chkalov Transpolar Flight

Pearson Field

The Chkalov Transpolar Flight Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
1. The Chkalov Transpolar Flight Marker
Inscription. On June 20, 1937, the world’s attention turned to Pearson Field when a Russian ANT-25 aircraft landed after making the first non-stop flight over the North Pole.

The red and gray, single-engined aircraft “Stalin’s Route” carried over 2,000 gallons of fuel, and sported a 112 foot wingspan. It was crewed by three of the Soviet Union’s top airmen: Valery Chkalov, pilot; Georgi Baidukov, co-pilot; and Alexander Belyakov, navigator.

Taking off from Moscow on June 17, 1937, and bound for Oakland, California, the aircraft flew for almost 65 hours through sub-zero temperatures and thickening ice on its wings, before a sudden drop in oil pressure forced them to land at Pearson Field.

The unexpected aviators breakfasted with Vancouver Barracks’ commanding officer, General George C. Marshall, then faced throngs of journalists, politicians, and curious spectators. They were treated to a month-long tour of the United States that ended in Washington, D.C. at a reception with President Roosevelt. The massive aircraft was dismantled and shipped to Paris for display, then home to Moscow.
Erected by Vancouver National Historic Reserve.
Location. 45° 37.451′ N, 122° 39.426′ W. Marker is
The Chkalov Transpolar Flight Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
2. The Chkalov Transpolar Flight Marker
in Vancouver, Washington, in Clark County. Marker is on E. 5th Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is near the Pearson Air Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1115 E 5th St., Vancouver WA 98661, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Soviet Transpolar Flight of 1937 (here, next to this marker); The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) (a few steps from this marker); Howard C. French / Alexander Pearson (a few steps from this marker); Carlton Foster Bond (a few steps from this marker); Early Aviation History in Vancouver (a few steps from this marker); First Japanese on the North American Continent (approx. 0.2 miles away); Whose Anchor? (approx. 0.2 miles away); U. S. Grant Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Vancouver.
More about this marker. The background image on the marker is captioned, "The massive ANT-25 aircraft parked at Pearson Field the week of June 20, 1937." It was provided for use on the marker courtesy of Dale Denny.
Regarding The Chkalov Transpolar Flight. This marker replaced an early marker titled, "Over the Pole - 1937." The original marker read, in part:

On June 20, 1937, three flyers from the Soviet Union made a historic first non-stop flight over
"Over the Pole" marker originally located here Photo, Click for full size
May 8, 2006
3. "Over the Pole" marker originally located here
the North Pole and then landed unexpectedly at Pearson Field. Valery Chkalov, pilot, Georgiy Raidukov, co-pilot and instrument pilot, and Alexander Belyakov, navigator, became instant household names throughout the world for their daring long-distance record flight.

The legacy of the Soviet transpolar flight can be seen in continuing links between the citizens of Vancouver and the Soviet aviation community.

The 1937 over the pole flight was commemorated in 1975 with the erection of a monument in the United States that hailed a Soviet achievement. ANT-25 crew members Georgiy Raidukov and Alexander Belyakov, who were then generals, attended the ceremonies. Valery Chkalov was killed in 1938 while test flying a new aircraft.

[caption of upper center picture]:Three ANT-25 crew members [unreadable text]. The elated Soviet crew shortly after landing at Pearson Field in 1937.

[caption of lower left picture]:An aerial view of the special ANT-25 airplane which carried the Soviet flyers over the Arctic to Vancouver. (Oregon Historical Society Neg #????)

[caption of lower right picture]:Members of the Chkalov Transpolar Flight Committee along with Soviet cosmonauts pose in front of the new 1975 monument.[unreadable text]
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this
Heroes of the Soviet Union in Vancouver, 1937 Photo, Click for full size
Courtesy Pearson Air Museum, 1937
4. Heroes of the Soviet Union in Vancouver, 1937
marker. Soviet Transpolar Flights of 1937
Categories. Air & SpaceNotable Events
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,593 times since then. Last updated on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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