Archive footage filmed in 1937 features Soviet pilot Valery Chkalov, co-pilot Georgy Baidukov, and navigator Alexander Belyakov making the first-ever non-stop transarctic flight from the USSR to the USA.
The crew left Shchelkovo airfield near Moscow in the ANT-25 single-engine monoplane on June 18 heading for the North Pole. On June 20, they made a safe landing at the military airfield near Vancouver, Washington, after over 63 hours and 9,130 kilometres (5,673 miles).
Footage also features US citizens welcoming the Soviet team, who threw flowers and took photos.
The crew then embarked on a nation-wide tour of the US, including a meeting President Roosevelt and a parade in New York City, among other events.
“[We are happy to] be in Oakland and welcome the great people of the United States of America!” Chkalov said during a ceremony in California.
The mission was intended to break the world record for flight distance in a straight line, but while this was reportedly not achieved, the Soviets announced that another goal had been; establishing regular communication in the shortest direction between two countries located in two hemispheres over the North Pole.
Another Soviet ANT-25 crew, consisting of Mikhail Gromov, Andrey Yumashev, and Sergei Danilin, did smash the world record, with their flight on July 12, 1937. The team was able to cover 11,500 kilometres (7,145 miles) in 62 hours and 17 minutes.
This archive footage is released as part of the ‘100 Key Events in Russia in the 20th and 21st Centuries’, a joint project between Ruptly and the Russian State Documentary Film and Photo Archive (rgakfd.ru).