Even with all this Russian kit, most noticeably the Russian spectators all were clapping
and cheering the flying displays... if you’re taking pictures and the Swifts or Russian
Knights are inbound to perform then you better hold your spot because the fence gets
swamped! If you’re a Fan of Russian aviation there's no better place than Zhukovsky
to visit... Just remember. Pinch yourself if you think you might be dreaming!
Heroes of Russia displaying there awesome aircraft and all who made the MAKS 2005
Air Show possible!
Financial reasons have restricted Russian Air Force equipment from attending air
in the west for many years. We visited the best place in all of Russia to see military
aircraft, the MAKS air show. This trade show is held at the test field of Zhukovsky,
is situated approximately one and a half hours South East from the centre of Moscow.
Many aircraft types can be seen around the field on numerous parking areas. The shows
flight line only uses up half of the runway which is a good indication of the size
Static aircraft included Russian Air Force and Navy. Representing Naval aircraft
was a MiG-29K with folding wings and arrestor hook, also a Sukhoi Su-33 Navy Flanker
with folding wings plus folding elevator surfaces. Air Force types included an Sukhoi
Platypus Bomber Flanker, MiG-31 Foxhound long range, high speed interceptor. Plus
a MiG-21 Fishbed and various MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker Squadron machines.
American aircraft in the static display included a pair of 494th Fighter Squadron
F-15E Strike Eagles based at Lakenheath. One of the pair having a multi striped tail
fin indicating a Commanders machine. The only pair of F-16C aircraft at the show
belonged to the 22nd FS based at Spangdahlem in Germany.
The flying display begun with a formation of three Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft
the colours of the national flag, red, blue and white. Then to follow was the Russian
Knights display team. Flying four single seat Su-27 Flankers, and the solo aircraft
being a two seater aircraft. Performing tight turns and loops in formation, mid way
routine the solo Su-27 Flanker straightens up from a turn formation and thunders
away to hold while the remaining four Flankers continue the display. After the four
break from formation toward the crowd line, the solo two seater returns to finish
the remainder of the display. Russian performances are notorious for using flairs
during their manoeuvres, the solo Flanker fulfilled this anticipation by firing flairs
while executing a barrel roll in reheat rolling away from the crowd! Fast reheated
passes seemed to be absent from the display routines due to fuel wastage but the
noise was supplied by high G turns with vapour boiling off the upper wing surfaces!
The second fast jet display team of Russia was the Swifts consisting of five MiG-29s
painted in red white and blue. A bird out line is depicted on the
upper and lower surfaces of the aircraft. The display routines similar to the Russian
Knights with the team flying loop, roll turn manoeuvres in close formation. Other
aerobatic display teams to participate were the French team, Patrouille de France
and and the Italian team, Frecce Tricolori.
The only long range bomber to participate everyday in the flying was an American
B-1B Lancer. Most spectators didn’t seem bothered about the noisy bomber. Maybe the
crowds assumed the B-1B was fitted with a hush kit in comparison to Russian supersonic
But forget all the display teams, the most interesting thing to watch was the Sukhoi
Su-30MKI Flanker with two dimensional Thrust-Vectoring engines. Thrust-Vector is
where the thrust from a jet engine can be moved in terms of degrees. The thrust can
be pointed up or down. This results in flight characteristics that are very peculiar!
Extreme angles of attack, stall loops and super cobras which are past the 90 degrees
mark. Because of the slow speeds involved with Thrust-Vectoring the control surfaces
used for conventional flight simply do not have any effect.
The second aircraft in the flying display with
Thrust-Vectoring technology was a MiG-29 OVT
Fulcrum. Although the MiG-29 OVT does not operate
this advanced engine system, it was used as
a test aircraft. Thrust-Vectoring has been used
on tested on aircraft in the west which include,
F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-18 Hornets. Although
the up grades never took place on these particular
Combat aircraft, Thrust-Vectoring has been
Integrated into the engines on the F-15 Eagle
Replacement the F-22 Raptor.
Despite the Mirage 2000C lacking Thrust- Vectoring
technology the French Pilot still managed to give the