Nuclear scientist alleged to have stolen small aircraft, but he insists he had paid for it and is the victim of an elaborate fraud.
A student pilot from a flying school in Moscow, kept it airborne for just 30 minutes before it crash-landed at the nearby Yalutorovsk air strip following a malfunction. Picture: Channel 1
A prominent nuclear scientist is facing possible charges after being accused of stealing a small plane from an airfield in the Tyumen region.
Ilya Kudryashov, a former Russian Space Agency worker, is alleged to have taken the Yak-52 belonging to the DOSAAF aviation club in Ishim without permission.
A student pilot from a flying school in Moscow, he kept it airborne for just 30 minutes before it crash-landed at the nearby Yalutorovsk air strip following a malfunction.
Shortly afterwards another plane flown by his friend, the famous Soviet pilot Ramas Shermardini, landed and the pair flew off towards Moscow.
The incident has come to the attention to the authorities because Kudryashov, who works at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Moscow, is said to have simply 'hijacked' the plane.
When the Yak-52 made an emergency landing 30 minutes later the chassis would not open, forcing it to be put down on its belly, damaging much of the plane. Picture: Zvezda
However, the scientist insists he bought it legitimately, having transferred money to the sellers of the aircraft.
Now while police investigate all claims and counter-claims, the two alleged rogue pilots are keeping a low profile, insisting they are victims rather than criminals.
One of Kudryashov’s friends has taken to the social media site Vkontakte to defend his actions. Nikolay Voropayev wrote: 'Ilya got in touch with me. He was not arrested - he voluntarily came to the transport prosecutor's office and is now giving evidence there.
'He confirmed the version that we all originally thought - it was an attempt of fraud by the seller of aircraft, and possibly the local air club with which the seller is associated.
GY-80-160 in the sky (top) and refuelling in Kazan with Dmitry Ryurikov posing in front of the plane (bottom). Pictures: Alexander Markin, Dmitry Ryurikov
'The money for the aircraft had been transferred, but he was not allowed to take away the aircraft. As Ilya said, 'we realized that they wanted to take away both aircraft - the one we bought, and the one on which we arrived'. After that they left at dawn.'
The plane was taken at 4.50am on Sunday at Ishim airfield, in the Tyumen region. When the Yak-52 made an emergency landing 30 minutes later the chassis would not open, forcing it to be put down on its belly, damaging much of the plane.
Kudryashov abandoned the plane and was picked up in his friend’s GY-80-160 before the pair flew off and headed for Moscow. For a while their whereabouts were unknown.
They eventually landed in the Vladimir region and surrendered to police, telling officers they had been the victims of a potential fraud.
Mr Voropayev said: 'They have talked for a long time about this deal and had been negotiating with the seller for several months. A week ago, they flew by plane to pay the seller and take away the Yak-52.'
Ilya Kudryashov, a former Russian Space Agency worker, is alleged to have taken the Yak-52 belonging to the DOSAAF aviation club in Ishim without permission. Picture: Ilya Kudryashov
The friend said Mr Kudryashov told him a few days ago that he had faced some bureaucratic difficulties in taking ownership of the plane. He said the money had been paid but some kind of issue had arisen and they were afraid they might not get their aircraft.
He added that the claims of the plane being 'hijacked' may have been deliberately spread by the sellers attempting to cover up their own fraud.
In a twist to the case, Tyumen Transport Prosecutor's Office has revealed that the two pilots were previously interrogated by police as they flew to the region for the deal.
Officials said that on June 17 when they arrived they were detained because they had no flight plan and their GY-80-160 aircraft had no markings. Representatives of Ishim air club reported them to the FSB and the Prosecutor’s Office.
Mr Kudryashov and Mr Shermardini were fined 10,000 roubles but now they face more serious charges of allegedly stealing the Yak-52.
They have made no comment on the incident.
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