‘The Dmitrievskogo aerosledge.’
After The Civil War, the country was left in ruins. Industry, system of education were almost completely destroyed. So, Vladimir Lenin announced the beginning of the New Economic Policy (NEP) which was supposed to restore the Russian economics. Among those which participated in NEP, were various defence-sports and technical associations which played an important role in cross-country vehicle development.
The ANT-VI aerosledge, 1926.’
Military-Scientific Association (MSA) was a pioneer organization which helped the Red Army in strengthening the country’s defences and personnel training. With time, MSA switched over to the civil population and consequently, was renamed into Defence Assistance Society (DAS).
‘The NAMI aerosledge, 1926.’
‘Dinamo’ Proletarian Sports Society appeared in 1923. Extending its sphere of influence, it acquired regional offices subordinate to the Central Council. ‘Dinamo’ was in charge of stadiums, shooting galleries, aero clubs and technical circles. In spring, they organized Air Force Friends Society (AFFS) which later merged with another society into ‘Aviachim’ which capital exceeded 4.5 million rubles in gold (150 thousand dollars).
‘The TsAGI aerosledge in Novgorod, 1926.’
In 1927, DAS merged with ‘Aviachim’ into ‘DASAviachim’, which carried our works in propaganda (lections, meetings), rallies and other events organization. In February 1926, ‘Aviachim’ held a 1446-kilometer long Mosocw-Tver-Vyshny Volochek-Novgorod-Leningrad race there and back. 13 aerosledges participated in the event. Participants had to put up with different road conditions (frosts and thaw), so just 9 of them managed to go the distance.
‘The ARKhCZO I-3 aerosledge.’
Next month, they held a speed contest for aerosledges and then a race for the ANT-IV aerosledges without refuelling, which proved to be reliable and technically advanced.
‘A list of aerosledges which participated in a race in 1926.’
The NAMI NRB-V and TsAGI ANT-IV took part in a 2240-kilometer long race organized in 1927, visiting 15 cities of the country. In Leningrad, the I-3 and ‘Morskaya Aviabaza’ joined the team.
‘The ANT-IV aerosledge which participated in a Moscow-Lenigrad race without refuelling.’
Aerosledges built by amateur constructors (like P. F. Toporov) also participated in races and some of them were rather successful. Attempts to construct a unified glider model failed due to lack of financing.
‘The ‘Krasny Saper’ aerosledge built in Vladimir, 1929.’
At that time, it was a norm to pass old or broken military hardware and equipment (mostly from aircrafts) to different societies which could find out where they could be applied again. However, ‘Aviachim’ began to receive facilities and equipment on a regular basis only in 1926. Apart from voluntary contributions and state allocations, its main source of finance was lottery.
The newly formed ‘Avtodor’ Society aimed its activity at road construction and cross-country vehicles development which didn’t need roads as such.
‘The ANT-IV aerosledge with the ‘Lucifer’ engine.’
‘A rally in Moscow, 1993.’ ‘Avtodor’ was also financed mostly by lotteries.
The organization participated in construction of half track cars and provided the army with all kinds of vehicles: trucks, cars, motorcycles, aerosledges, gliders, motorboats, cross-country vehicles and armoured vehicles.
‘The Dmitrievskogo aerosledge.’
It also trained drivers who had to take special tests after they completed the program (a race by aerosledge could be a part of the test).
‘The aerosledge GGAT before the Gorky-Moscow race in 1934.’
As the time went by, several teams of constructors appeared under ‘Avtodor’ (and financed by it).
‘The ANT-IV aerosledge and the OSGA-6.’ It held numerous races and exhibitions attracting drivers from all over the country. One of the races was as long as 3624 kilometers and included 22 cities!
‘Well-known polar explorer R. L. Samoylovich and the ‘Permsky aviatekhnik’ aerosledge, 1993.’
In 1933, on the Moskva River they held a meeting of aerosledge owners with the participation of a well-known polar explorer R. L. Samoylovich. Unfortunately, out of the 21 aerosledges which were to come to the rally on their own, just 10 of them went the distance.
‘Participants of the rally inspecting an aerosledge.’
The last rally took place in 1935. There was an accident there involving two aerosledges which was hushed up. As a result, they had to postpone the opening and wind up the rally in Leningrad in spring, when thaw began.
Unfortunately, ‘Avtodor’ didn’t manage to avoid problems which existed in every organization of any bureaucratic state, such as misuse of funds and failure to take account of the money they received. As a result, in 1935 ‘Avtodor’ ceased to exist.