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Located 14 miles to the south of St. Petersburg, Russia, is a former military airfield called Gorelovo. These days, it is used by small aircraft and as a center for aircraft repair.
Most interestingly, a small section of the runway has been set aside to act as a graveyard for military helicopters. The area is fenced off and patrolled by guards with dogs to deter metal thieves.
The military airfield was built in 1939. It was originally constructed on a smaller scale than it is now, but following World War II, the runway was widened to allow jet fighters to land.
The 19th Fighter Aviation Regiment was based at this airfield and defended the country’s northwestern borders and Leningrad, which is now St. Petersburg. Records show that between November 1939 and March 1940, the regiment took part in more than 3,400 sorties.
During the 1950s, the 29th Guards Fighter Aviation Volkhov Regiment and the 11th Guards Fighter Aviation Vyborg Order of Kutuzov Air Defense Regiment were also based at Gorelovo
Around the 1960s, the military units were disbanded. The airfield itself was transferred to an aircraft repair facility. By the 1990s, the site was also used as a final resting place for military helicopters. Between 2006 and 2007, it was also used as a storage space for lorries and containers.
Since 2010, part of the west side of the airfield has been used by a flight school that offers training in both single-engine and twin-engine aircraft. Some enthusiasts are also trying to restore an IL-14P plane on the site.
However, many buildings on the airfield have been completely abandoned and have declined over the years. Today, most of the buildings are in a terrible state and would be hazardous to enter. The administrative buildings are abandoned but guarded.
Some buildings have survived in a better condition. Two control towers have been preserved, one of which is used by a private individual, and the second of which has been thoroughly looted. There is also a weather station with its own VO radar.
The helicopters stored there belong to the repair plant. It is likely that they are being stored for parts, since it is evident that many helicopters have been stripped of some of their original features.
The helicopters stored there include modifications of Russian Mi and Ka, as well as other types. However, they are all in a uniformly sad state, with rusting bodywork and shattered glass.
Some urban explorers have noted that it’s easy enough to enter the graveyard, and although security guards are there, they are relatively friendly. Nevertheless, they will not allow you to approach only the administrative buildings, and visitors still need to be wary of guard dogs.
Other urban explorers have found the guards hostile and have only been able to view the site from a distance.
For those who do gain access, the helicopters themselves are a marvelous sight since each of them is equipped differently, and many have some kind of painted emblem on them, such as a polar bear or owl.
The photographs of the helicopters were taken by Vsevolod Chuvanov. Vsevolod runs a LiveJournal blog where he shares his work about abandoned places in Russia. His Instagram page is also full of amazing photographs of decaying locations.
A big thank you to him for giving us permission to share the photos of this location.
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