Decimation of the Pacific Fleet Command

Autor: Marek Čech / Panzer 🕔︎︎ 👁︎ 3.827

Staff Exercise

 

From February 1 to 7, 1981, the Naval Academy in Leningrad hosted an exercise of the Soviet Navy's command staff under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union S.G. Gorshkov. During it, a command and staff exercise was also held, with a review and reports by the commanders on the prospects for the development of the fleet in the new structure. Among the fleet officers who arrived at the airport in Pushkin 30. January 1981, was the entire top command staff of the Pacific Fleet, who arrived from Vladivostok on a staff plane Tu-104A, registration number CCCP-42332.

Reklama

 

Tupolev Tu-104A, registration number CCCP-42332 still in service with national carrier Aeroflot

 

Let's dwell on this particular aircraft for a moment. It was manufactured in November 1957 and initially bore the registration number L5426. On 27 November that year it was transferred to Aeroflot, on 11 April 1961 it was re-registered and its registration number was changed to CCCP-42332. On 28 November 1961, in accordance with the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 2476RS, the aircraft was transferred to the naval aviation, namely to the 170th Guards Mine-Torpedo Carrier Aviation Regiment of the Baltic Fleet, stationed at Bykov Airfield. The aircraft was then transferred to the Pacific Fleet, where it was used as the staff aircraft of the fleet commander, for which purpose the passenger cabin was converted to 50 seats from the original 70. The aircraft's last operator was the 25th Naval Missile Carrier Aviation Division, Pacific Fleet, and its home airfield was Knevichi (Vladivostok).

But let's get back to the command-and-staff exercise. This lasted a full week, and on 7 February 1981 its results were summarized, according to which the command Pacific Fleet was judged to be the best of the Navy. Fleet leadership, supremely pleased with the results of the exercise, began packing for the trip home.

The command of the Northern Fleet was the first to leave Leningrad for home on the morning of 7 February 1981. Among the passengers on their staff plane was the Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet Vice Admiral Rudolf Alexandrovich Golosov, who had been given permission to visit his relatives who lived in the north of the USSR. The commander of the Kamchatskiy War Fleet, Rear Admiral G. A. Khvatov, with the approval of Commander of the Pacific Fleet Admiral E. N. Spiridonov, together with four officers, flew from Leningrad on a civilian Aeroflot flight to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Among those who flew from Vladivostok by staff plane Tu-104A, not even Captain 2nd Grade N. I. Vlasov flew back by it. He stayed alive only because he had to stay in the Leningrad Naval Academy for a concentration of distance learning students. However, he took part in escorting his departing colleagues, assisted in loading their personal belongings and, after the plane crash, took part in the rescue and collection of staff documents, the bodies of the dead and their identification the next day.

Catastrophe

 

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On Saturday, February 7, 1981, at 4 p.m., CCCP-42332 taxied onto the runway in a snowstorm and began taxiing. Less than 8 seconds after the abrupt takeoff, the aircraft suddenly reached a critical angle of attack and lost lift. It then crashed to the ground 20 metres from the runway from an altitude of 45-50 metres with an intensively increasing bank to the right, completely destroying the aircraft and, as it was fully fuelled for a long flight, immediately burst into flames.

Near the crash site, the sole surviving passenger was found in the snow - Second Lieutenant Valentin Zubarev, who had been in the cockpit during take-off and was thrown out through the glass nose by the impact. However, his injuries were so serious that he died while being taken to hospital. The other 49 people on board died at the scene.

 

Color scheme of Tupolev Tu-104A, registration number CCCP-42332

 

Investigation and causes of the disaster

 

Diversion was ruled out first as the reason for the plane crash, as it would have been extremely difficult for a hostile diversionary group to penetrate a well-guarded military airfield. After analysing the flight recorders, the investigators came to an unusual conclusion: the aircraft had taken off spontaneously, that is, without the intervention of an experienced pilot, at a speed unsuitable for take-off, and shortly afterwards lost the lift necessary for the flight of any heavier-than-air machine.

Reklama

According to the official version, the plane was overloaded and passengers and cargo were misplaced during loading. The explanation for the observed overloading is difficult to understand from today's point of view, but those who have some knowledge of the realities of those times and the countries of the so-called socialist camp know what was going on. At that time, there were so-called scarce, or narrow-profile goods in every socialist state. In Czechoslovakia, these were mainly consumer goods, such as televisions, washing machines or certain types of confectionery. In the USSR, however, almost everything was scarce. Such a selection of goods was only available in the country's "showcases", such as the cities of Moscow and Leningrad. Therefore, the flight to Leningrad became a good opportunity for commanders and their wives to get something scarce. The commander and at the same time the first pilot of the ill-fated plane, Lieutenant Colonel Inyushin, had already complained to his superiors about the overloading of the plane, but without reaction. According to eyewitnesses, the plane was loaded with heavy rolls of paper as well as a lot of other cargo, including furniture and televisions. The Board of Inquiry speculated that the loose cargo moved backwards along the aisle of the passenger cabin during take-off, causing the centre of gravity to shift beyond the rear, the nose of the aircraft to rise spontaneously and the aircraft to take off unexpectedly.

The plane crash at the airport near Leningrad was the largest aircraft crash in the history of the USSR, killing high-ranking military officers. The deaths of high-ranking sailors caused the almost complete "decapitation" of the Pacific Fleet. Since initially one of the main versions of what happened was a deliberate act of terrorism, the fleet was put on full combat alert.

As was good practice in the Soviet military, Colonel A. I. Yakovlev, commander of the 25th Naval Rocket Carrier Aviation Division, to whose unit the crashed staff plane belonged, was relieved of his duties. That he was absolutely not to blame for what had happened was immaterial. At the same time, after the disaster, all Tu-104 transport aircraft were retired from military and naval aviation service. The aircraft of this type have not been used in civil aviation since 1979, after the disaster at Moscow's Vnukovo airfield.

 

And finally, the composition of the crew and passengers of CCCP-42332:

crew:

Lieutenant Colonel Anatoly Ivanovich Inyushin - crew commander, 50 years old,commander of the control section of the 25th Naval Missile Carrier Aviation Division, flight time 8,150 hours, including 5,730 hours on the Tu-104
Lieutenant Commander Vladimir Alexandrovich Poslychalin - assistant commander, 28 years old
Major Vitaly Alexeyevich Subbotin - navigator, 33 years old
Captain Mikhail Rupasov - deck engineer, 32 years old
Lieutenant Anatoly Barsov - deck engineer, 28 years old
warrant officer Anatoly Vakhteyev - deck engineer, 31 years old

Passengers:

Admiral Emil Nikolayevich Spiridonov, 55 years old, Commander of the Pacific Fleet
Vice Admiral Viktor Grigorievich Belashyov, 53, commander of the 4th Submarine Flotilla of the Pacific Fleet
Air Force Lieutenant General Georgy Vasilievich Pavlov, 53, commander of the Pacific Fleet Air Forces
Vice Admiral Vladimir Dmitriyevich Sabaneev, 53, member of the Military Council and head of the Pacific Fleet's Political Department
Vice Admiral Vasily Fyodorovich Tikhonov, 52, commander of the Maritime Fleet of Diverse Forces of the Pacific Fleet
Air Force Maj. Gen. Stepan Georgievich Danilko, 53-54, chief of staff and first deputy commander of the Pacific Fleet Air Forces
Rear Admiral Vladimir Kharitonovich Konovalov, 49, Chief of the 3rd Administration of the Far East Naval Forces
Rear Admiral Vladimir Yakovlevich Korban, 55, Assistant Commander
Rear Admiral Gennady Fyodorovich Leonov, 50, Chief of the Intelligence Department Pacific Fleet
Rear Admiral Viktor Petrovich Makhlai, 45, Commander of the 6th Submarine Squadron of the Pacific Fleet
Rear Admiral Felix Alexandrovich Mitrofanov, 52, Chief of Operational Administration - Deputy Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet
Rear Admiral Viktor Antonovich Nikolayev, 47, member of the Military Council - head of the political department of the Sakhalinsk Diversified Fleet of the Pacific Fleet
Rear Admiral Remir Ivanovich Pirozhkov, 45, Chief of Staff - Deputy Commander of the 4th Submarine Fleet of the Pacific Fleet
Rear Admiral Vasily Sergeyevich Postnikov, 51, member of the military council - chief of the political department of the Submarine Fleet Diversified forces of the Pacific Fleet
Air Force Major General Vladimir Vasilievich Rykov, 43, member of the Military Council - Chief of the Political Department of the Air Forces of the Pacific Fleet
Rear Admiral James Konstantinovich Chulkov, 49, commander of the 10th Operational Squadron of Ships
Captain 1st Grade Vladislav Petrovich Aseyev, 51
Captain 1st Grade Viktor Karpovich Berezhnoy, 43, head of the political department of the 10th Operational Squadron of Ships
Captain 1st Class Saul Grigorievich Volk, 52, chief of the operations department of the Pacific Fleet Command
Captain 1st Class Yevgeny Igorevich Graf, 40, Deputy Chief of the Operational Control Department, Pacific Fleet Command
Captain 1st Class Yuri Grigoryevich Lobachev, 45, Deputy Chief of the Pacific Fleet Rear Headquarters
Captain 1st Class Vladislav Morozov, 49, Chief of the Anti-Submarine Force Department of the Pacific Fleet Staff
Captain 1st Class Vladimir Ilyich Pivoyev, 44, member of the Military Council - Chief of the Political Department of the 4th Submarine Fleet of the Pacific Fleet
Captain 1st Class Boris Pogosovich Pogosov, 45, chief of the Pacific Fleet Intelligence Center
Captain 1st Class Anatoly Vasilyevich Prokopchik, 46, Chief of Staff - First Deputy Commander of the Maritime Fleet of Diverse Forces Pacific Fleet
Captain 1st Class Yuri Nikolayevich Turobov, 43, Chief of Staff - Deputy Commander of the 8th Operations Squadron of the Pacific Fleet
Capt. 1st Class Vladimir Dmitriyevich Tsigankov, 49, senior officer of the Pacific Fleet Headquarters Operational Control Department
Medical Service Colonel Kazimir Vladislavovich Chekanskiy, 45, Chief of the Dental Department of the Naval Hospital - Chief Dentist of the Pacific Fleet
Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Artur Arovich Delibatanyan, 41, Deputy Chief Navigator of the Pacific Fleet Air Force
Captain 2nd Class Georgy Vasilievich Podgayetskiy, 35, senior officer of the Pacific Fleet Air Defense Department
Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Dmitrievich Sorokatiuk, 43, Chief of Operations - Deputy Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet Air Forces
Captain 3rd Grade Anatoly Ivanovich Babkin, 33, senior officer of the Pacific Fleet Rear Headquarters
Captain Sergei Ivanovich Naumenko, 29-30 years old, military fighter pilot from Novosibirsk
Lieutenant Commander Alexander Nikolayevich Akentiev, 26 years old, military fighter pilot from Novosibirsk
Lieutenant Commander Valentin Iosifovich Zubarev, 43 years old, senior technician of the radio equipment maintenance and repair group of the 570th Aviation Regiment of the Pacific Fleet
Lieutenant Commander Gennady Gennadyevich Shevchenko, 25, Adjutant Commander, Pacific Fleet
Marine Ensign Boris Ivanovich Amelchenko, 32 years old, Assistant to the Military Council Member - Head of the Political Department of the Pacific Fleet
Chief Seaman Viktor Stepanovich Dvorsky, 21 years old, Chief of Staff of the Pacific Fleet
Tamara Vasilyevna Lomakina, wife of V. Lomakin, First Secretary of the Primorsky Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Valentina Pavlovna Spiridonova, 54-55, wife of Admiral E. N. Spiridonov, commander of the Pacific Fleet
Anna Pavlovna Levkovich, 43-44 years old. a typist in the operations department of the Pacific Fleet headquarters
Ekaterina Alexandrovna Moreva, 18-19 years old, daughter of A. Moreva, Chief of the Pacific Fleet Liaison Department
B. N. Makarenko, son of N. Makarenko, Chief of Supply of the Regional Executive Committee of the Primorsky Krai
Е. N. Makarenko, wife of B. N. Makarenko

 

 

resources:
https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/328151
https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9A%D0%B0%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%81%D1%82%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%84%D0%B0_%D0%A2%D1%83-104_%D0%B2_%D0%9F%D1%83%D1%88%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B5
https://ria.ru/20180518/1520780147.html
https://russianplanes.net/reginfo/17562
http://www.geroi-vmf.ru/pogibshie.html

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