The Kalinin K-7 was a cathedral, a battleship- all of the brutality and ambition and darkness and hope of the Soviet Union wrought into a vast bomber. Engines were fitted and it was time to test them. The machine began to vibrate wildly, as if each part longed to leave this monster and become autonomous once again. The machine’s wishes were ignored and the mechanical surgeons brought in. At night welders sparked. Crude steel bracing encased the siamese bodies of the booms.
The 11th August 1933 and the population of Kharkov looked up in mutual awe. An uncanny eclipse powered by seven droning engines. Had Kharkov fortress scorned its comrades and become an angel? No, this was man-made.
The uncanny bird flew on. Each flight it moaned and moaned. On the ninth flight it got its wish and its back broke. It shook itself to pieces.
Semerenko survived. “I counted 15-20 major shudders. Suddenly, to the noise of running engines was added the sound of the left tail boom braking apart.. I was waiting for the end. Controls were still locked still dead. Smash…” He was one of 5 survivors. 15 onboard were killed. The designer, Kalakin was later executed.
“Then silence. Only the sound of the sea, chewing away at the edge of the rocky beach, where the bits and pieces of the Iron Man lay scattered far and wide.”
Ted Hughes, The Iron Man
Hush-kit is reminding the world of the beauty of flight.
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