SIMFEROPOL (QHA) - The initiative group of aviators “Vatan kanatlari” (Wings of motherland) sent a collective letter to the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, asking to name Simferopol international airport after twice Hero of the Soviet Union, legendary pilot Amet-Khan Sultan. This was announced at a press conference in Simferopol by head of the group Nuri Beytullayev and group member Rasim Ablayev.
“Two years ago we have appealed to the President, but at that time the response letter that reached the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Crimea contained some kind of nonsense”, said Beytullayev.
According to Beytullayev, this time they have changed the format of communication. Now, the letter was signed not by one person, but representatives of various public organizations, businesses, media and political parties as well.
“The results were excellent. We have gathered 83 signatures from various organizations”, informed Beytullayev.
According to “Vatan kanatlari”, the reason why Simferopol airport is not given the name of Amet-Khan Sultan is discrimination based on nationality. Correspondence and meetings with Crimean and Ukrainian authorities proved this to organization members.
“We will promote this issue till Simferopol International Airport is named after our legendary pilot Amet-Khan Sultan”, assured “Vatan kanatlari” members.
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.