INSIDE the cockpits of legendary Soviet planes (PHOTOS)

Petlyakov Pe-2, a Soviet twin-engined dive bomber

Petlyakov Pe-2, a Soviet twin-engined dive bomber

Sasha Gentsis
Take virtual control of legendary Soviet planes and helicopters from the Russian Air Force Museum, and feel like a real ace.

Many people dream of sitting in the cockpit of a plane. But what about the cockpit of historical aircraft? Now it’s possible even online thanks to Sasha Gentsis’ "Ruling the Skies" photo project. Gentsis took some incredible shots of the inside of rare aircraft from the collection of the Central Museum of the Russian Air Force.

A Soviet biplane fighter aircraft Polikarpov I-15
A large Soviet turboprop airliner Ilyushin Il-18
A single-seat Soviet fighter aircraft Lavochkin La-7
A Soviet helicopter Mil V-12 (the largest ever built one)
Mil V-12

Among Gentsis’ models were the famous Il-2, La-7, Pe-2, Tu-144, and Tu-95, which all helped change the course of history and set all kinds of records for carrying capacity, speed, altitude, and range. All are currently inaccessible to visitors, but thanks to these photos you can feel like a military pilot and see these legendary aircraft in minute detail.

A supersonic jet fighter MiG-21
A Soviet reconnaissance bomber aircraft Polikarpov R-5
The Sukhoi Su-24 supersonic aircraft
The Tupolev Tu-2 bomber aircraft
The Tupolev Tu-4

Gentsis makes bold use of computerized image processing and digital photomontage to add expressiveness to his work. For total immersion, the photographer combined cockpit images with landscapes from his own photo archive.

The Tupolev Tu-4
The Tupolev Tu-22,  the first supersonic bomber to enter production in the Soviet Union
A large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber Tupolev Tu-95
The Tupolev Tu-95
The Yakovlev Yak-9 a single-seat multipurpose fighter aircraft  used by the USSR during World War II

Sasha Gentsis is already a renowned landscape and industrial photographer. One of his most famous photo series is “Socialist Surrealism,” which captured the abandoned Soviet ZIL plant a few days before its demolition. See here for photos from this project.

The Ruling the Skies exhibition runs at the EKATERINA Cultural Foundation until Nov. 8, 2020.

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