Cemetery of aviation equipment – Abandoned school DOSAAF Shirokoye
Abandoned airfield in Zaporozhye region, Ukraine.
Not far from the village of Shirokoye, between the cities of Dnepr (former Dnepropetrovsk) and Zaporozhye, there was a flight school named after Air Marshal Alexander Pokryshkin. It can be immediately identified by the L-29 Dolphin installed at the entrance and the monument to Alexander Pokryshkin, a hero of the Second World War, opened on May 5, 1990 in the presence of his wife Maria Kuzminichnaya.
Now the school bears little resemblance to the DOSAAF school (Voluntary Society for the Assistance of the Army, Aviation and Navy), rather it is a “pawnshop”, on the display of which there is a huge number of old training fighters L-29 “Dolphin”, maize and MI-2 helicopters. In addition to all this wealth, in a single assortment there is a MI-8 helicopter, an AN-24 military transport aircraft and several Polish light training and sports aircraft PZL-104 Wilga.
One of the sources indicates that the flight school in Shiroky was one of the strongest schools in the USSR, which trained pilots for helicopters and fighters, technicians, paratroopers and rescuers (the average duration of training was 3 years). The area of the school was 360 hectares. The flight fleet consisted of 162 aircraft and helicopters, 111 units of automotive equipment were provided from the service (radar, refueling vehicles, maintenance, etc.), there were also parachutes, about 1500 units. In the 90s there were also Yak-52 sports and training aircraft, but I didn’t see them anymore.
Having walked around the entire territory of the flight center, and I spent at least 4 hours on this, it became clear that all the necessary infrastructure was ready for the school to work, which included: a four-story hostel, a dining room, a bar, recreation areas, a library, a training center with many stands (including the Lenin room), a boiler room, hangars for equipment, garages, repair shops and other household and administrative buildings.
The training center housed a computer class, at that time equipped with modern computer technology. There was also a gym, the simulators of which made it possible to completely simulate the flight of an aircraft, which is necessary for improving piloting techniques and working out non-standard situations.
For training flights, of course, there was also a runway, the length of which was 2 km and a width of 40 meters, but some sources mention two runways, they say, the first was dismantled in 2009, and the second remained. I would rather support this theory, because, having walked through the ruins of the training center, it clearly became clear that the building was being dismantled, mainly the demand was for reinforced concrete floors and slabs.
*It is important to note that in the dining room they fed very well according to the “scientifically based menu”, and also, near the “headquarters” there is a garden with cherries, which I managed to try.
The main reason for the closure of the school is the lack of funding, based on various sources, it all started in 1994.
Apparently, the provision was gradually reduced until it completely stopped. The object was mothballed, but this only made it possible to hide the fact of stretching from the public, first everything valuable and expensive, and after everything that was crooked.
In fact, only the equipment remained, or rather the remains of it – skeletons. No matter how hard they try to save it, the dashboards are broken, half of the instruments are missing. Let’s just say that everything that could be put in a pocket and taken out calmly was taken out.
Now all the equipment is on sale, out of two three Dolphins they make one and send it to the buyer. For example, the cost of L-29, I personally saw in the ad, is given for 50,000 UAH, about 1500 ye. But we are talking about equipment that can still be launched, like the AN-2 maize machine, everything else, for example, the AN-24 or the MI-2 and MI-8 helicopters, will rather be scrapped. So, according to the guards, they have long exhausted their resource and are not subject to further exploitation, and there are 30 units of them here.