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20 Jul, 2017 16:16

‘Flying tank’: WW2 legend resurrected from lake takes flight at MAKS-2017 Air Show (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

‘Flying tank’: WW2 legend resurrected from lake takes flight at MAKS-2017 Air Show (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The famous Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik has taken to the skies over Zhukovsky airdrome at the MAKS-2017 Air Show, marking a glorious return for the WWII-era aircraft. The plane had been lying at the bottom of a lake for 70 years after it was shot down during the war.

One of the rare surviving examples of the legendary ground attack plane took off for the first time in a long while during the second day of the air show in Moscow Region, becoming the world’s second flying Il-2.

The Sturmovik (assault craft) was delivered from the city of Novosibirsk, where a group of enthusiasts from the group Winged Memory of Victory and the Siberian Aeronautical Research Center had worked for two years to bring the aircraft back to life.

READ MORE: Who will steal the show at Russia's MAKS-2017 Air Show?

In 2011, the plane was discovered in a lake in the Murmansk region, and four years later it was pulled up and brought to Novosibirsk for restoration. The cool waters of the northern lake, lack of oxygen and the 22-25 meter depth contributed to the plane’s condition, says the head of Winged Memory of Victory, Boris Osyatinskiy, as cited by Russia’s Channel One.

Having served in the 46th assault air regiment in the Soviet Air Force, the Sturmovik was shot down in November 1943 by a Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 109, prompting the pilot to carry out an emergency landing on the ice. 

"It's one of the most popular planes, 36,500 of them were built during the war. The flying tank, Black Death, as the fascists called it," Osyatinskiy told RT at MAKS-2017.

The numbers have made the Sturmovik the world’s most-produced military fighter. The plane's legacy also lives on in a series of simulation video games called ‘Il-2 Sturmovik,’ with millions of players getting in the virtual cockpits.