The glorious history of the Russian Aerosen
Russian Rescue Craft “N007” Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, Ariz., January 13-21, 2007. October 15, 2006 We love our job and it’s always a great thrill when we come across an exquisitely clever machine we’ve not previously encountered. As the knowledge of the world begins to rush rather than seep across the boundaries of distance and language thanks to the internet, we regularly come across vast areas of human endeavour that we didn’t have any idea existed, and aerosled story is a case in point. H. G. Wells once wrote, “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.” Getting from point A to point B has not always been as easy as it is today. Traversing the desert, the oceans, the forests, the mountains and the free space above them saw many fascinating conveyances built specifically for each task. Our attention was captured recently by the announcement that the January Barrett-Jackson Collector Car auction would include an fully-restored N007 Tupolev, the only Russian-built aerosled to make it to the United States. Designed by Andrei Tupolev, the “Father of Soviet Aviation,” the N007 is a variation on the Russian Aerosled (Aerosen) which is very similar in function to the airboats commonly used in swampland in the Southern United States, except it is enclosed to protect its occupants from the sub-zero conditions in which it excels. Powered by a 365 hp nine-cylinder radial engine it hovers just over water, marshland, ice or snow and given a flat stretch, can reach 80 mph. Part ground effect aircraft, part boat but mainly a sled, the design originated more than 100 years ago when the vast Northern regions of the Soviet Union were almost impassable in winter and motors were first fitted to the horse drawn sleds, replacing the horses with a pusher prop. The N007 is extremely similar to the Tupolev A-3 of which some 800 were built.