Levanevsky Sigismund Alexandrovich 

Polar pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union. 
He was born in a poor working-class family in St. Petersburg, where his parents moved from the Polish village of Sokulka, Grodno Province, in search of work. Father died when his son was only 8 years old. In 1916 after graduating from the three classes of the district school, Levanevsky, in order to feed his family, went to work. After the revolution, his relatives emigrated to their historic homeland in Poland, and Levanevsky joined the Red Army, under the command of Blucher fought with Kolchak, and later in the Caucasus participated in suppressing the insurgency of Imam Gotsinsky. In 1921 he succeeded in transferring to the Petrograd Military District for the position of assistant manager of the aeronautic detachment. As he himself said, from that moment began his life in aviation. 
In Oranienbaum Levanevsky saw the flights of B.G. Chukhnovsky, flew with him a passenger and decided to become a pilot. In 1923 he managed to get directions to the Sevastopol school of marine pilots, which he graduated two years later. For several years, Levanevsky worked as an instructor, head of flight schools in Nikolaev and Poltava. He was pulled to the Far North, and finally, in 1933, he was ordered to overtake the Dornier Val aircraft from Sevastopol to Khabarovsk. This flight lasted almost two months. 
From the series of glorious deeds of Levanevsky in the North, the first to immediately make him world-famous was the flight to save the American pilot James Mattern, who made a record flight around the world and suffered an accident in Chukotka. Having departed from Khabarovsk through Anadyr to the accident site, the Levanevsky seaplane, overcoming significant difficulties, delivered the American to Alaska. For this flight, Levanevsky was awarded his first award - the Order of the Red Star. Then there were flights with ice reconnaissance in the Bering Sea, to Cape Severny (Schmidt), on Wrangel Island, to Alaska. In the spring of 1934  Levanevsky took an active part in the operation to rescue the Chelyuskinites. The government commission instructed him to deliver to the Arctic coast its authorized representative G.А. Ushakov. The flight took place in the most difficult conditions. Low clouds pressed the plane to the ground. Several times, only thanks to the skill of the pilot, miraculously managed to avoid collisions with coastal cliffs. After climbing, the icing began. The plane almost began to fall, but Levanevsky on the approach to Vankarem (Alaska) managed to make an emergency landing on the fuselage. The commander suffered a head injury, the rest of the crew and Ushakov were not injured.However, the plane did not make further flights. Many outstanding polar pilots involved in the rescue operation found themselves in this position. All of them were honored with high government awards, but among them only one Levanevsky was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, which also received six pilots who had reached the ice camp of the Chelyuskinites. Most likely, this was due to the special sympathy for him of Stalin, who, as is well known, on his own whim decided who to execute, whom to pardon. Perhaps it was the highest assessment of Levanevsky's flying skill given by Ushakov. 
This situation depressingly acted on the selfish, already managed to become famous Levanevsky. By all means, at all costs, he tried to accomplish something that would allow him to remove the ambiguity of the situation, to prove the deservedness of his highest rank. This desire left an imprint on all his subsequent actions, to a large extent contributed to the tragic end of life. 
After the Chelyuskin epic, Levanevsky continued to work in the Arctic, doing ice reconnaissance and carrying a plan for a non-stop flight across the North Pole. 
The first attempt to implement this plan took place in 1935: A.N. Tupolev ANT-25, he started from Moscow to the North Pole, but over the Barents Sea due to engine problems, he decided to return. An indispensable desire to excel, even more heated by failure, pushed him to ill-founded actions. He made a sharply negative assessment of the flight qualities of the Tupolev machine, with which other outstanding polar pilots did not agree. Levanevsky managed to get Stalin's permission to acquire an American aircraft. The fallacy of opinion Levanevsky revealed soon. In 1936  the crew of V.P. Chkalov on ANT-25 made a successful flight on the route Moscow - Far East. The following year, on the same plane, they carried out a flight over the pole, cherished by Levanevsky, repeated in three weeks by the crew of M.M. Gromov. All participants of the flights received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. It is clear that the psychological stress of Levanevsky from this has intensified. He had to do the same thing, albeit not the first. Stalin, who still sympathized with Levanevsky, allowed him to take any aircraft he wanted. Self-esteem did not allow the use of ANT-25, and Levanevsky chose the four-engined bomber V.F. Bolkhovitinov. The designer himself did not consider his aircraft suitable for such flights, but Levanevsky was indomitable in his desire to fly as soon as possible. Having rejected all the advice and objections, including information about the unfavorable weather conditions due to the weather conditions, on August 12, 1937, the H-209 aircraft launched towards the North Pole. Surely in his heart Levanevsky understood the thoughtlessness of his decision, but did not want to change anything. Pan or disappeared, now or never - this is how one can characterize his condition. He believed that he had to work out the advance payment issued to him three years ago - the title of Hero. How correctly wrote Z.M. Kanevsky, psychologically, the situation was similar to the one that developed around G.Ya. 


The crew of Levanevsky: (from left to right, radio operator N.Ya. Galkovsky,

the second pilot N.G. Kastanayev, commander SA Levanevsky,

flight engineer G.T. Pobezhimov, N.N. Godovikov, navigator V.I. Levchenko

Levanevsky skillfully lifted the overloaded car into the air, and the mourners relaxed from the heart. However, after a day's flight, one engine had already failed at the pole.The icy plane began to lose altitude, then the connection was broken forever. 
Searches continued for many months. They were conducted both from the west, from Franz Josef Land, and from the east, from Chukotka and Alaska, and Soviet and American pilots participated in them. The crew of the Hero of the Soviet Union, M.S. Babushkin's was perished. Everything turned out to be unsuccessful. Until now, the place and circumstances of the death of the Levanevsky aircraft remain unknown. 
In our opinion, the relatively recent version of V.V. Loginov, now a citizen of Ukraine, who has worked in Chukotka for 17 years. 
Based on the analysis of documents, consultations with experts, field searches, he expressed compelling, well-reasoned considerations that the fall of the Levanevsky plane did not occur in the Canadian Arctic archipelago, as was supposed, but on Chukotka in the Kolyuchin Bay area. Unfortunately, now after the collapse of the USSR, he has no material resources to organize an expedition, which could dot the "i".

In addition to the Star of Hero and the Order of Lenin and the Red Star, Levanevsky was awarded the Order of the Labor Red Banner. 
Island in archipelago Franz-Josef Land south of Harley Island. Opened and named in 1895 by F. Jackson in honor of the doctor of his expedition William Neal. However, the name did not stick. The real name was given in the 1950s by Soviet cartographers.


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