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Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

How the frozen tundra affected Soviet planes

  • Flying Heritage Collection

This image tells us a little about the history FHC's own P-40 Tomahawk. The plane was built in the U.S. but given to the Soviets to help them fight the Germans in northwest Russia.

Flying over the frozen tundra above Murmansk, in February, during a war, is about as glamorous as it sounds. Below negative 38 degrees Celsuis, oil, hydraulic fluid, even antifreeze, all froze. It led the mechanics to install special petcocks on the planes to fully drain the liquids at night. One group had 38 burst radiators, leading the mechanics to confiscate all the silverware from a nearby town for solder repairs. Batteries exploded, tires ripped on the frozen ground and various other parts broke constantly in the rough environment.

In this heavily touched up photo, pilots gather around one of their battle-worn P-40s, perhaps even FHC's own aircraft.

Story tags » Military aviation

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