In 1961 the Russian military ordered the Tupolev Aircraft Company to design and build
an amphibious craft small enough to be transported inside the Russian MK6 giant
helicopter. It was to be used for the recovery of Russian cosmonauts downed in Siberia
after completion of their space flights. The craft had to be capable of crossing lakes,
swampy tundra, and hostile terrain. The craft needed to be capable of operating at
temperatures well below freezing at speeds of above 100km/h. Aleksei Tupolev (1888-
1972 was a Russian aircraft designer. He is considered the father of Soviet Aviation. His
designs include the Tu-95 Bear which is a famous Russian bomber and the Tu-444 which
is also known as the Russian concord. He built Tupolev into one of the most successful
aviation companies in the world employing more that eleven thousand of Russia's finest
In 1965 Tupolev first introduced his prototype we call the "N007" at the "Exhibition of
Achievements of the National Economy of the USSR" located in Moscow.
In 1999 "N007" was acquired in delapidated condition. A German metal craftsman
restored the body by hand. The engine was overhauled in Bacau, Romania by the original
factory. The restoration of the propeller and the interior of the craft was also necessary.
After completion in 2004 the craft was shown at boat shows all over the country and
featured in many TV newscasts and written publications. In 2005 "N007" received the
"Corinthian Award" at the "Keels and Wheels "Concourse De Elegance" in Houston. In
2006 the craft not only received the "Corinthian Award" again but also the "Award of
Excellence" in a prestigious show called "Concoursse De Elegance" in Greenwich, Ct.
The exact number of these cosmonaut rescue crafts has always been kept a secret. "N007"
is the only one known to exist in the country. It comes with its original owner's manual
and tool kit. Enclosed in this manual you find the basic technical data such as: Engine
MP14B, Turbocharged 360 HP and 350 liter fuel capacity for long range. Length 6,11
meters and Width 2,16 meters. Height of propeller 2,20 meters. Weight 2100 kg. Payload
on water 300kg. This being one of the last models built, it was equipped with a leading
edge differential for control system. It has a 500 psi air pressure system to start the engine
and operates without the need of batteries in super cold temperatures.
I remember seeing this sell at Barrett-Jackson, for something like 175k-180k, a few years ago.
I took these pictures at the 2011 Miami International boat show.
Show with 7D | EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
first shot 1/400, f/11, ISO:100, at 18mm
second shot 1/160, f/8, ISO:100, at 18mm
third shot 1/100, f/5.6, ISO:100, at 18mm