Moscow: Izd-vo Osoaviakhim, 1929. Item #986
160 pp.: ill. 21,8x15,4 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers. Open tears to the spine, slight wear, several pages loose. Otherwise in a very good condition.
First edition. Scarce. Black-and-white illustrations in text.
THIS RARE FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OFFERS A VIVID INSIGHT INTO THE FIRST AIR EXPEDITION TO WRANGEL ISLAND AND THE FIRST LENA FLIGHT. The publication was written by George Krasinsky, a renowned Arctic explorer and leader of both travels. The expeditions were organized by the order of the Society for the Promotion of the Defense of the Aeronautical and Chemical Industries of the USSR in 1927 and 1928.
In the first section of the book, the author describes the 1927 voyage that consisted of a steamship Kolima (under the command of P. Milovzorov) and two seaplanes Savoya (under the command of E. Luht) and Iunkere (under the command of E. Kosnelev). The expedition followed the route from Vladivostok via Hakodate, Cape Dezhnev, Cape Schmidt (from where the seaplanes flew to Wrangel island on July 15), Medvezhie and Lyakhovsky Islands to Irkutsk. The journey, which began on June 21 and ended on August 28, was supposed to determine the possibility of creating regular air communications between the mouth of the Lena River and Irkutsk, as well as to provide the Chukchi and Russian settlers (60 people displaced in 1924) on Wrangel Island with food, medications, etc. The larger goal was to secure control of the Soviet Union over the island, which in 1921 was declared the property of Great Britain. From the historical and geographical overview of the region to the description of the encounter with the settlers and complications along the travel, the edition provides a unique panorama of this first Northern air expedition.
The second section of the book features information on the air expedition undertaken a year after the successful travel from Vladivostok to Irkutsk. The voyage had to follow the route from Vladivostok via Sakhalin, Sea of Okhotsk, Petropavlovsk, Wrangel Island, Taymyr Peninsula to Arkhangelsk. The intent of the journey was to conduct geographical research in the area of the Medvezhie Islands and provide the settlers of Wrangel Island with medications and other supplies. The expedition consisted of the steamship Lazovskiy (under the command of Kondratiev) and the plane Dorne-Val (under the command of A. Volynsky) which took off from Vladivostok on July 16, 1928. Although the travel went down in history as the first Soviet flight over the Sea of Okhotsk, the plane crashed in the Kolyuchinskaya Bay due to the bad weather and the crew had to make its way through the tundra and mountain ranges before departing for Vladivostok on the steamer Stavropol. Providing an interesting first-hand account of the incident, the book offers Krasinsky’s analyses of the unsuccessful flight and features a detailed description of the travel.
The publication comprises numerous black-and-white photographs depicting the steamship Stavropol near the Wrangel Island in 1924, the steamship Kolima, the planes Kolima and Iunkere, the fishermen near Stolbovoy Island, a house built on Wrangel Island in 1926, a family of settlers, plane crash, etc.
Overall, a rare illustrative evidence to the first Northern air expeditions.