Of 36,183 Ilyushin IL-2s built during World War II, very few survive to this day and two have been restored to flying condition. The second IL-2 to be restored to flying condition is now flying in Russia and IL-2 the flight sim even got a small mention in the coverage!
Returned to flight
Some warbirds are more popular for restoration than others for a whole variety of reasons. Mustangs, Warhawks and other American fighters have for a long time been popular restoration efforts. So too has the Spitfire. These were aircraft that achieved legendary status and were helped along by having a good number of airframes, resources and most importantly – engines!
The first IL-2 to be returned to airworthy status that I’m aware of was an IL-2M3 Sturmovik that now resides at Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum in the United States near Seattle, Washington.
The second was an aircraft recovered in the Murmansk region from the bottom of a lake and has returned to airworthy status.
This weekend the aircraft took to the air at the MAKS 2017 international airshow. Ruptly TV has English subtitles during the interview with Boris Osyatinskiy, President of the Winged Memory of Victory foundation and presumably one of the leads on the restoration project. His comments on the restoration are interesting plus as an added bonus its interesting for us flight sim pilots because he mentions that “7 million” are playing the IL-2 flight simulator today.
The actual number of players flying any of the versions of the IL-2 simulator today may be in dispute but its an interesting mention of the flight simulator world from someone working very much in the aviation restoration world.
It’s possible that 7-million is the total sales of the series across multiple titles. And of course some of those sims, despite the IL-2 title, focus very much on other types although I always find it fun to come back to the IL-2 itself.
The most recent restoration of this IL-2 seems to be very similar to the IL-2 Model 1943 that we have in IL-2: Battle of Kuban. Straight wing and rear gunner station built in are most similar to that Model 1943 that we have available to fly in the latest sim.
Of course you can go back and fly this aircraft as the IL-2M in IL-2 1946 too!
If anyone finds any better or more lengthy video of the IL-2 flying at the show that would be great to post as well.