The pilots who flew over Chernobyl to limit the danger from the destroyed reactor were aware of the risks of huge radiation doses and dangerous obstacles.
In the 10 days after the world's worst nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986, Soviet pilots carried out 4,000 flights to dump thousands of tons of lead, sand and clay to cover the destroyed Reactor Four.
The pilots received potentially lethal doses of radiation that went completely off the scale of their dosimeters while precautions were as basic as changing uniforms, using cream and taking baths.
"Of course the pilots knew they were getting high doses and the consequences," according to General Antoshkin, who was made a Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest award bestowed by the USSR, for his work in liquidating the disaster.
"They said 'comrade general, this is not Afghanistan. There you are shot at but you turn back, land and forget. But here the enemy is invisible. How will this affect me, my children in the future?'"
"But the pilots knew that the reactor needed to be covered as quickly as possible. You'd tell the pilot to leave but he'd come back."
Of the 600 pilots who took part in this dangerous mission; 28 men died of radiation exposure in the months after the explosion, also two were killed in a helicopter crash over the reactor.
My illustration is based on several B/W and color photos (for background reference) and actual film footage. I am showing a Mi-26 (SimV model) that has passed over the burning reactor after dropping sand onto the reactor. These brave pilots succeeded in stopping the fires and avoiding a potential “melt -down”.
This is an original composition using Photoshop, Paint.net and GIMP2.
the Russians built a sarcophagus that encloses the destroyed power plant.
Pripyat is a tourist attraction, which is still radioactive and visitors are monitor then leave at period of time.
i have always been fascinated by this disaster and the dedication and cost it took to stop a potential melt down.
i am in working on more new subjects, stay tuned. Thank You.
I only wish you had shown some of the fire truck that also responded and mentioned all those firefighters who went on the roof of the adjacent building to poor water onto the burning graphite to try and quench the fires and cool the reactor mass.
As always thanks for sharing.
Also they were the first to drop heavy loads of sand and lead to cover the the burning fires. These helo pilots were the first responders, as thousands of men would follow to contain this disasters. Appreciate the feedback, thank you.