Saturday, June 27, 2015

Chkalov's Landing mural

The next VanWa mural on today's tour honors an episode in Vancouver aviation history. In June 1937, Soviet pilot Valery Chkalov made the first nonstop intercontinental flight over the north pole, starting in Moscow and landing at Vancouver's Pearson Field. This flight is now often forgotten in the US (except for Vancouver), but Chkalov remains a national hero in Russia, along the lines of Charles Lindbergh here. Chkalov's flight wasn't just a publicity stunt, either; modern airline flights between Europe and North America generally follow near-polar "great circle" routes (this being the shortest distance between two points on a sphere), so this pioneering effort turned out to be of great practical importance.

Vancouver remembers the event with a few commemorations around town. There's monument to Chkalov next to the airport, and a major road nearby is named in his honor. And then there's this giant mural downtown, at Main St. & Evergreen Blvd, which was created in 2008 by Guy Drennan and Linda Stanton. Unusually, one wing of Chkalov's ANT-25 extends out over the windows of an adjacent building.

No comments :