Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


MY GMAX MANIA continues. After having incorporated just about every documentable detail into my GMax Westland Lysander, I looked around for another project using this entertaining computer software.

Years ago, I built a Tupolev ANT-25 with the software available several generations before GMax.

My original ANT-25 on Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Though the model still works on my preferred Microsoft FS9, it looks… well, like it was built several generations before GMax.

The Tupolev ANT-25 was a GMax project worth taking on.

The ANT-25’s Tangled Tale. The Tupolev ANT-25 appeared here at SimanaitisSays back in 2013. This Soviet aircraft set long-distance records galore, including two transpolar flights from Moscow to the U.S. West Coast in 1937. The first got as far as Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Several weeks later, a second flight exceeded this distance from Moscow by setting down in a dairy pasture near San Jacinto, California, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

Commemorative stamp celebrating the Moscow-San Jacinto transpolar flight.

Or maybe each of these flights was a tag-team affair.

As I observed back in 2013, Robert J. Morrison’s book Russia’s Shortcut to Fame: A Fifty Year Hoax Exposed offers evidence that each flight involved a pair of ANT-25s. A plane left Moscow heading north to the polar region and landed clandestinely in the Aleutian Islands. Then its crew switched to a second (and fresh) ANT-25, shipped there by boat, to finish the rest of the journey south.

Designed for Distance. Whether tag-team or real, the Tupolev ANT-25 was designed to fly considerable distances, and it fulfilled this mission admirably. Plus, the more I learned about the craft, the better I liked it as a GMax project. (Staring at a project for hours on end, I’d better like it!)

Wingspan of the Tupolev ANT-25 was 111 ft. 7 in., just a bit less than that of a modern Airbus A320. The Tupolev’s wings had particularly high aspect ratio (span/chord), giving favorable lift/drag characteristics (think of modern sailplanes).

An ANT-25. Image from the Tupolev design bureau.

These wings held considerable fuel, which comprised more than 50 percent of the aircraft’s takeoff weight. Power was supplied by a Mikulin AM-34 46.9-liter V-12 producing 800 hp. The aircraft cruised at 103 mph with a range of more than 6700 miles.

Moscow/Los Angeles is 6072 miles.

Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll see details of my Gmax Tupolev ANT-25. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

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