MAKS 2009 – Day 6 - "SHOWTIME"  

The closing day of MAKS usually begins with a stretched rush to Zhukovsky from the early morning onwards and ends with a massive, but short return home. This year’s morning rush was somewhat more stretched than in the previous two editions as the day announced itself rather grey with some drizzle. And like everywhere in the world, the attendance of an air show in Russia too depends on good weather. But the crowd turned up, although somewhat later and in somewhat smaller numbers than the expected 220,000. Still, for the entire week the number of visitors clocked up at around a record 580,000 according to the Russian news channel RT.

 The low ceiling caused a radical shuffle of the flying programme. All flights were postponed 2.5 hours and the show started with general aviation aircraft, which do not require a high ceiling to display, while fast jets were shifted to the late afternoon when the ceiling increased slightly.

 On both top public days on Saturday and Sunday, MAKS was nearly empty by 19h00 and all 100,000 plus spectators had left the access roads to Zhukovsky airfield. Only emergency vehicles and VIP-cars were allowed to the MAKS premises, leaving the access roads open to public transport vehicles, which conveyed the tens of thousands of visitors in no time to the nearby railway stations and to the large car parks, mainly in the vicinity of nearby Bykovo airport (Быково). The number of coaches deployed by the Moscow coach services (Мострансавто) reduced waiting to less than five minutes around 18h45. The coaches succeeded each other uninterruptedly in clusters of four or five to each of the different destinations. The Central Company for Suburban Passenger Transport (Центральная Пригородная Пассажирская Компания ЦППК) too had provided a large number of extra trains, so that the time spent in the station was less than 10 minutes around 19h00. To put it briefly, the public services took care of everything to make a visit to MAKS by public transport from Moscow city practical and fast, as well as affordable, when compared to organised trips or taxis.



Most aircraft participating in the flying display of MAKS 2009 were Russian. The only foreign participants came from France (Patrouille de France and Rafale), Italy (Frecce Tricolori and Spartan) and Latvia (Baltic Bees). An illustrated impression.



PAF 01

The show of the Patrouille de France was well received by the Russian public because Commandant Virginie Guyot was flying with the team as Athos 4. There is a long lasting tradition in Russia of women serving as pilots in civil aviation as well as in the military. During the Great Patriotic War, as the Second World War is called here, three regiments were entirely composed of female pilots:

-         No. 586 Fighter Air Regiment (586 Истребительный Авиационный Полк) flying successively the Yakovlev Yak-1, Yak-7 and Yak-9;

-         No. 587 Bomber Air Regiment (587-й Бомбардировочный Авиационный Полк), which later received the honorary designation No. 125 Guards Bomber Air Regiment (125-й Гвардейский Бомбардировочный Авиационный Полк), flying the Petlyakov Pe-2;

-         No. 588 Night Bomber Air Regiment (588-й Ночной Бомбардировочный Авиационный Полк), which later received the honorary designation No. 46 Guards Night Bomber Air Regiment (46-й Гвардейский Ночной Бомбардировочный Авиационный Полк), flying the Polikarpov Po-2.

Frecce 01

Frecce 02

Frecce 03

The Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team was the favourite of the very patriotic Russian public because of the very thick smoke in Italian national colours with which they filled the sky and because of the temperamental second part of their show, which is much closer to the Russian style of flying than the very neat, but “bit of a boring” close formation flying of for example the French, British and American teams.

Baltic Bees

 Two of the Baltic Bees’ Let L-39C Albatros aircraft were presented to the public by Russian pilots because of restrictions imposed on foreign civilian pilots. The metallic paint and the contrasting colours make the aircraft very photogenic. By the end of the year, the team’s 9 aircraft will all be delivered and all pilots will be trained to participate in the 2010 air show season.

Russian falcons

The Соколы России (Falcons of Russia) fly four Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft and represent the 4th Centre for Tactical Training and Conversion of Military Pilots (4-й Центр Боевого Применения и Переучивания Лётного Состава). The team is based near the city of Lipetsk (Липецк), around 400 kilometres south of Moscow, and aims at demonstrating the flying qualities of pilots of operational units of the Russian Air Force. The display consists of close formation flying. The aircraft forming the team at MAKS 2009 were 11, 62, 65 and 66 Red.

Striji 01

Stiji 02

The only specialised aerobatic team that represented the Russian Air Force at MAKS were the Стрижи (Swifts). Together with the Русские Витязи (Russian Knights), they form the 237th Aircraft Demonstration Centre at Kubinka (see Day 1). At air shows, they fly a combined display with the Russian Knights. What they showed at MAKS 2009 was the team’s solo display part of that combined presentation. The team’s aircraft carried the numbers 2, 3, 6 and 7 Blue, while No. 8 Blue flew the preceding solo display.


Russian Knights

Russian Knights 02

MAKS 2009 was concluded by two flypasts of the Русские Витязи (Russian Knights) in honour of their commander, Colonel Igor Tkachenko, who died during a practise flight over Zhukovsky on August 16th. The participating aircraft were 5, 10, 24 and 25 Blue.



A show opener with style: the multipurpose amphibious aircraft Beriev Be-200ЧС RF-32768 of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia (Министерство по чрезвычайным ситуациям - МЧС России) shows its fire fighting capability by dropping water in the national Russian colours white, blue and red.



In 1998, the Russian Ministry of Defence decided to upgrade part of its Fulcrums under the designation MiG-29SMT. The upgrade features additional fuel tanks in the enlarged spine and uprated Klimov RD-33 Series 2 or 3 engines. The cockpit is upgraded to HOTAS design (Hands On Throttle And Stick) and the aircraft is fitted with the improved Zhuk-ME radar, developed by Phazotron/NIIR. The weapons load is increased to 4,500 kg on one ventral and six under wing hardpoints. The first upgraded aircraft was rolled out by No. 121 Aircraft Repair Plant at Kubinka in cooperation with MAPO MiG in December 1998. The type has been ordered by Yemen and Eritrea, but of the originally planned 150-180 upgraded aircraft for the Russian Air Force, only a handful have yet been delivered because of budgetary problems.


MiG-29 OVT

The MiG-29M with serial number 156 is a prototype to test and demonstrate the Klimov RD-33 engine fitted with all-directional moving nozzles. With this by now proven technology, the MiG-29 of one of its derivatives can become the world’s first operational aircraft with three-dimensional thrust-vectoring as all other operational aircraft like the Russian Su-30MKI and the American F-22 only feature two-dimensional nozzles. The Klimov thrust-vectoring nozzle can deflect 15 degrees in all directions around the engine’s axis and can do so in all flight modes, including afterburning mode, at a rate of 60 degrees/second.


The Mikoyan MiG-35/MiG-35D Fulcrum-F is a further development of the MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2. It is equipped with two smokeless and increased thrust Klimov RD-33MK engines, which can be fitted with the three-dimensional thrust-vectoring control nozzles tested on the MiG-29M-OVT prototype. The MiG-35 is called a 4++ generation aircraft by its manufacturer because of its fifth generation sighting and avionics suite and is one of the contenders in the Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition to replace its ageing MiG-21s.



The Sukoi Su-30MKI Flanker-H is an improved variant of the Su-30 jointly developed by Sukhoi and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force. The improvements include canard fore-planes, two-dimensional engine thrust-vectoring control, an N011M Bars (Snow Leopard) passive electronically scanned array radar and a tailor-made avionics and warfare systems suite including elements from Russia, France, India and Israel. India plans to have 230 Su-30MKI aircraft in service by 2015.



At MAKS 2009, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced the purchase of 48 Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft for its Air Force. The Su-35 is considered as a 4++ generation multi-role fighter fitted with Russian-made avionics only and serves as a stop-gap until the fifth generation PAK FA will become available. It is a deeply modified variant of the Su-27 with improved radar, avionics, weapons systems, ECM and two-dimensional thrust-vectoring.



Both the Su-30MKI and Su-35 are fitted with turbofans with two-dimensional thrust-vector control. The engine nozzles are installed with a deviation of 32 degrees off the longitudinal axis in the horizontal plane and can be deflected ±15 degrees in the vertical plane, creating a cork-screw effect that critically enhances the manoeuvrability of the aircraft.



Only two non-Russian aircraft were scheduled for the flying programme: Alenia C-27J Spartan CSX62219/RS-50 of 311° Gruppo RSV of the Italian Air Force and this Dassault Rafale C 103/13-MR of EC01.007 of the Armée de l’Air.



The only commercial aircraft displayed at MAKS 2009 was the Sukhoi Superjet 100. The Superjet 100 is designed to compete against the Embraer E-Jets and the Bombardier CRJs. In a single class version, the aircraft can seat 98 passengers. The two-class variant can transport 12 passengers in first-class and 75 in economy class. Launch customer Aeroflot will receive its first aircraft in 2010.


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 © Jos Schoofs with thanks to FLAG (August 2009)


Last updated 26/08/09 13:11   Daniel Brackx