Originally operated as aircraft 44 of the 57th Aviation Assault Regiment, T2-3000 was one of two Il-10s abandoned at Seoul-Kimpo airfield, along with aircraft 55, following the Inchon landings, before being captured in mid September 1950 by the US Marines. Both were captured with both forward 23mm forward guns, and two 7.6 mm forward guns, also the 12.7mm rear turret MG and 4 rockets!
Both aircraft were shipped to the US, first to Cornell University (Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory) in Buffalo, NY, arriving there on 24 January 1951. Cornell fully restored one IL-10 (aircraft 44, now T2-3000) to flying condition, before it was delivered to Wright-Patterson AFB on 8 May 1951. The second IL-10 (aircraft 55, now T2-3001) was stored at Wright-Patt.[N 1]
T2-3000 was test flown 11 times between June and August 1951, during which it was involved in two accidents:
- 5 July 1951. USSR IL-10 took off at 1115 local for a test flight flown by test pilot Captain Robert L. Stephens at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Soon after takeoff the tower informed him that his rear (gunner) canopy was open. Unable to close the rear canopy in flight the pilot chose to land so the canopy could be closed (20 minute flight). The pilot accomplished a normal landing and taxied to the parking ramp. The pilot made a right turn to pass a T-6 and the right landing gear folded up, causing major damage to the propeller, right wing, and right wheel fairing.
Examination of the aircraft revealed that the gear were locked in the down position. When the aircraft was raised by crash equipment the right gear snapped into the locked position of its own accord. Twelve series of retraction tests failed to reveal any malfunction of the main landing gear system.
The landing gear and flap handles are identical in color and construction and located side by side on the cockpit pedestal. It is believed that while attempting to raise the flaps during post landing check the pilot inadvertently moved the landing gear control handle to the up position sufficiently to release the right landing gear down lock and allow the right gear to collapse. (determination: foreign aircraft on which safety features were inadequate)
- 1 August 1951. USSR IL-10 was being ground checked at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio with water being run through the coolant radiator while the engine was idled at 1600RPM in order to reduce coolant temp subsequent to a power check. The pilot, LtCol Richard L. Johnson signaled for the crew chief, civilian Jesse A. Francis, to dismount from the left wing. The crewman was caught by the prop blast, lost his balance, and was forced to jump from the wing injuring his left ankle, foot and leg (technically: rupture, traumatic, tendoachillis, 2.5 inches above the oscalcis, left).
Pilot LtCol Johnson flew the IL-10 that day for 1.1 hours that day and was not aware that the crew chief had been injured.This report was listed as Major only because of the injury. There are no photos in the report for obvious reasons.
After the flight tests, T2-3000 was sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds on 17 August 1951, to be subjected to vulnerability tests at the Terminal Ballistics Laboratory. These tests consisted of gunfire which would have rendered the aircraft unflyable.[N 2] In other words, T2-3000 was shot up, probably with various AA and aircraft gun rounds to determine its weaknesses, probably hitting it with at least 10 or 15 rounds to engine, wing root/fuel cells, and cockpit.
- ↑ T2 was the Analysis Division of Air Technical Service Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The “T’ was for “Technical”, T2 denoted Technical Intelligence (for evaluating foreign aircraft).
- ↑ It was to be returned to ATIC (WPAFB) after these tests, but would have been in barely salvageable condition of course.