Photos by Peter Davison and Michael Yevdokimov
Text by Peter Davison
Every two years the MAKS airshow draws the crowds to the Zhukovsky Flight Test Centre just southeast of Moscow. Russian industry may have been short on orders these past few years but it sure isn’t short of ideas. The displays of models and light aircraft, particularly some of the autogyros, would suggest that personal mobility is on the verge of great progress; only time will tell. The Tu-334 has given way to the Superjet, the only really new airliner on display; Russia still leads the world on heavylift with not only helicopters but also potential solutions to airborne relief being available to the right investor.
This year the weather was generally grey though the sun allowed some brightness on the static display for the patient observer, it is still a mystery how many toddlers seem to get trade day admission and play around the aircraft. The poor weather did, however, improve the prospects for photographers as the usual bright background to the display line was diffused. The cloudbase often caused items to be cut back or aerobatics to be performed more horizontally than vertically.
There were two European display teams this year, the Frecce Tricolori and Patrouille de France but they were upstaged by the Flankers from Lipetsk and the Swifts with their MiG-29s.
Unfortunately the Russian Knights had a collision during practice so did not appear. There was one fatality, the chute burning up after a seemingly successful ejection. The solo heavy metal from Sukhoi and Mikoyan were impressive as ever though the French Rafale excelled, to the extent that some local spectators were convinced it must be a new Russian prototype.
Collision of Su-27, Zhukovsky, Emulating the events