Simferopol (QHA) - The initiative group of aviators “Vatan kanatlari” (Wings of motherland) has prepared an open collective appeal to the president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, asking him to issue a decree naming Simferopol international airport after twice Hero of the Soviet Union Amet-Khan Sultan. Head of initiative group Nuri Beytullayev said this to QHA agency.
Beytullayev noted that anyone willing to support the initiative may join and sign the appeal in Simferopol.
In the appeal, the aviators noted that Crimean and Ukrainian authorities for the fourth year in a row have been rejecting this initiative, providing some unclear reasons.
The group believes that the actual reason for refusal is that Amet-Khan Sultan was a Crimean Tatar.
In the appeal, they expressed disappointment with the fact that Ukraine has not still eliminated discrimination based on nationality, which touched upon even such an outstanding personality as Amet-Khan Sultan.
The full text of the appeal is available at QHA news agency.
Note: Amet-Khan Sultan was a Soviet fighter and test pilot.
Amet-Khan graduated from military aviation school in 1940. With the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 he was a pilot with the 4th Fighter Regiment, based around Odessa, flying the I-16. He claimed his first victory on 31 May 1942, ramming a Junkers Ju-88 with his Hawker Hurricane fighter. In October 1942 he transferred to the elite 9th GIAP Guards Fighter Regiment, equipped at various times with the Yak-1, P-39 Airacobra and finally the Lavochkin La-7.
In action over the Briansk, south-western, Stalingrad, southern, Ukrainian, and Belo-Russian fronts, Amet-Khan flew some 603 sorties participated in 150 air battles, and personally claimed 30 planes shot down, with 19 more victories shared.
In 1946 he transferred to the Reserve and became a test pilot. He was killed in a plane crash on 1 February 1971 during a test flight on Tupolev Tu-16LL. During his lifetime he personally tested over 100 planes.