Sigizmund Levanevskii

Levanevskii, Sigizmund Aleksandrovich


Born 1902 in St. Petersburg; died Aug. 13, 1937, in the region of the North Pole. Soviet pilot; Hero of the Soviet Union (Apr. 20, 1934). Member of the Communist Party from 1934. Son of a Polish worker.

Levanevskii was a member of the Red Guard at the time of the October Revolution of 1917. He served in a food detachment in 1918, entered the Red Army in 1919, and fought in the Civil War of 1918–20, commanding a company and a battalion. After the war, Levanevskii was chief of staff and assistant commander of a regiment. Upon graduating from the Sevastopol’ School of Naval Pilots in 1925, he worked as an instructor in various aviation schools. From 1933 he served in the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Routes and made several long-distance flights. In April 1934, Levanevskii participated in the operation for the rescue of the crew of the sunken ship Cheliuskin. In 1936 he flew from Los Angeles (USA) to Moscow (19,000 km).

On Aug. 12, 1937, Levanevskii took off from Moscow on an N-209 airplane, with a crew of six men, to fly to the USA over the North Pole. At 17 hours 53 minutes on August 13 contact with the plane, which encountered bad weather, was lost. A search for the plane was unsuccessful; all the crew members perished. Levanevskii was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and the Order of the Red Star.