Updated Oct 12, 2011 After a little-known restoration program by Aviarestoration, an Il-2 Shturmovik recently took to the skies in Russia. While over 35,000 Il-2 were built, there are few survivors, and until recently, no flying example of this legendary attack aircraft.
The aircraft was found in a marsh near Pskov and its restoration required 6 years of work. It was very damaged and shell remains were found inside the fuselage. The entire tail had to be rebuilt, as it was initially made of wood and had rotten away. Some of the bullet holes on the fuselage have been preserved and can still be seen on the restored aircraft.
The first flight was made by Vladimir Barsukov and appears to have been successful. The Il-2 rose into the air after a 200 m take-off run. At the time of its crash, it belonged to the 298th Air Division.
It would seem the aircraft was restored for an American collector, though no clues as to his identity has been given.
More information will be given as it becomes available.
Another video in Russian shows the Il-2 during its restoration: