Need an airship

Look at the map of the North and Siberia. It is all speckled with blue spots of small and large lakes and ribbons of rivers. Settlements located on the shores of these water bodies are very rare, so people communicate with each other and with the "big earth" with great difficulty, because There are no roads in the taiga, and the settlements do not have airfields. However, it is possible to rent a helicopter, but the cost of one flying hour of the most popular Mi-8T is about 70 thousand rubles, so such rent will cost a fortune for any  resident.  The lack of communication routes is the main reason restraining the development of these regions.

In Canada and Alaska, where landscape and forest conditions are similar to ours, this problem was solved by the massive use of small economical amphibian aircraft and aircraft on floats. Our attempt in the last century to exploit the most massive An-2 aircraft on floats was not successful, and since then the work in this direction has been stopped.

I remember the beginning of the fifties of the last century, when I worked as a tax collector of the Arkhangelsk expedition. "Your site in the region of Köld Lake, you will fly there by plane" - the head of the expedition Stanyakin, ordered.. Soon a small airplane appeared in the sky, and from a steep turn dashingly  landed on the water of the river, padded to the shore and I examined it closely. It was a small boat-shuttle with wheels on the sides, a wing on the rails, a motor with a propeller built in in the  middle of the wing. Everything is simple and nothing superfluous! When I loaded my gipsy property into it and sat myself, the pilot handed me a bag of sawdust and said:

- When I wave my hand, pour the sawdust overboard

Well! But what for? 

I'll tell you about it later 

After an hour of flight, we were over the lake. But where is the water surface?  When you look at the water you see only the sky. Followed by a wave of his hand, I began hurriedly pouring sawdust overboard. At  the turn, I saw  a clear light strip of our sawdust on the glass surface of the water and immediately appreciated the pilot's enterpreneurial spirit.. He smoothly landed his airplane on this strip.

I was fascinated by this amphibian plane and on my return to Leningrad tried to learn about it as much as possible. It is called Sh-2 ("Shavrushka") by the name of designer Shavrov VB. It was produced serially in Leningrad at the Krasny Letchik factory from 1932 to 1939, i.е. almost 30 years. Made from plywood and percale it had eightfold margin of safety. Put on ski basis it was widely used all year round to explore the ice situation on the icebreakers Sedov and Chelyuskin, to search for seal jackets, transport mail, all kinds of passengers, including fishermen, hunters, physicians, etc. It is striking for its versatility due to landing not only on water, but also on small glades, picked up from the air, since the roll distance over the water is only 180 m, and on land even less (160 m). In winter, instead of wheels, skis were installed, and he took off and landed on snow-covered glades.

Economical engine capacity of 125 hp allowed the amphibian aircraft Sh-2 to develop a maximum speed of up to 140 km / h, and if necessary reduce it to 60 km / h.

Possessing a large load capacity for this type of aircraft - up to 500 kg of payload,  SH-2 has a significant range of flight - up to 1100 km and can be in the air, having two people on board and a full fuel supply, up to 9 hours. The ideal aircraft for airborne protection, for patrolling forests in the taiga zone, where most fires occur along the banks of water bodies. With a small upgrade, such an aircraft can take water from the nearest water reservoir and assist fire brigades wtih consecutive water drains from the air.

In my opinion, in addition to the use of aircraft in airborne protection, this aircraft is necessary for Rosprirodnadzor, loggers, forest protection, hunting facilities, fish protection, forest management, aerial photography, field protection, plant nutrition and pest control from the air, sanitation, for travel  companies, services that monitor the condition of power lines, oil and gas pipelines, motor roads and railways, etc.,

While waiting for a decent road network to be built in the northern regions of the country, such an airworthy vehicle will help solve many transport and economic tasks.

The use of cheap and abundant materials (wood, plywood, fabric, steel pipes) allows not only organizations, but any person with average income, to have at their disposal year-round a 2-3-seat universal amphibian aircraft, inexpensive by its cost, in operation and repair. The aircraft is easy to maintain, and under certain flight modes it allows you to fly even with an abandoned actuating lever. Within ten minutes two persons can fold the wings of this aircraft back and the plane will be ready for storage in a garage or other utility room. With its structure weighing  500-600 kg, it can be transported on its wheeled chassis not only by a motor vehicle, but even by a motorcycle or a horse.

Its repair can be carried out in the field by own efforts with the use of the simplest tools.

Foreign analogues of amphibian aircraft cost from 100 to 200 thousand US dollars. With a mass production Sh-2 can cost an order of magnitude lower. With a small modification and replacement of materials for more modern, you can get an amphibious aircraft with unique flight and weight characteristics. The availability of a replacement chassis (wheels, skis) and a closed cabin allows the use of the Sh-2 all year round without restrictions. The successful design scheme completely protects the pilot and passengers in the event of emergency landing 

We hope that in the near future the country's air code will be changed, and as in most countries of the world the licensing system to the flight, will be replaced by notification system,   that simplifies preparation for the flight, and obtaining a license  to operate the aircraft will become similar to obtaining a driving license.  For more than half a century, our St. Petersburg Forestry Research Institute has been a leading scientific institution in the field of aviation forest protection. Its employees participated in the development of technical requirements and tests of many aircraft and helicopters in the forest fire protection variant.  As a result, extensive experience has been accumulated in the development and application of aviation technical means in forestry. If the institute receives an assignment and appropriate funding, a small and economical aircraft for servicing forestry will be created. The plant manufacturing Sh-2 in St. Petersburg has survived, now Rosleskhoz should say its last word. 


Artsybashev E.S., Dr. of Agricultural Sciences. Sci., Professor, Honored Forestry Worker of the Russian Federation, Chief Scientific Officer of the SPbFRI