Russian Federation Airports

FEB 08 2013
Airports >> Russian Federation: Siberia Revisited: Part 5, Irkutsk General Area

First port of call was to check-in at the nearby hotel which was only a short walk away, albeit across a busy road and along a muddy path. The usual drawn-out procedures at the hotel done, it was time for a little exploring.

A couple of us had been here before and we knew that the nearby Higher Military Aviation Engineering College was ten-minute walk away, so four of us set-off along the muddy path to see if anything had changed. There are only a couple of spots that you can take photos from and nothing much has changed.

The pair of Il-76s were in the same position, except Russian Air Force "black 602" was now sitting on its tail due to the engines having been taken off. Other aircraft just photographable between vehicles were an Su-24, and a Tu-22M. Oh what we'd give to be able to explore this place.

Back to the hotel and we boarded a bus to explore other areas of the city, including the imposing Yak-28 outside the IARZ-403 production facility. Later we also saw a MiG-29 outside some high-rise buildings used by military families.

Looking for the Tu-124 and Mi-4 that were in a public park, we were shocked to find that they were now gone. Carted off and I presume scrapped. What a shame, as the 124 was in pretty good condition.

A short time later I spied a tail of an aircraft out of the corner of my eye while driving away from the park. We turned around and saw what looked like another MiG-29. Spying a building site next door, we talked to the guard who let us wander inside. Over a wall was a line-up of including a MiG-29, Il-28 and MiG-23 plus others. It seemed to be another technical school, and enquiries at the reception were greeted with a no for a visit.

We decided that it might be a good idea to circle the airport and try to get some photos of the An-12s disused on the military ramp. Our driver seemed to understand what we wanted and drove right up to the fence after a long drive along a dirt road.

With double fences in the way, the first of which we couldn't get right up against, some record shots were taken before we headed back along the dirt road that went past the civilian technical school. We parked next to the gate to get a couple of shots, when an old man walked up to the gate from the inside. After a couple of minutes' chat it seemed that he couldn't let us in, which was the same story when we visited the last time.

A car then drove up to the gate wanting to exit and the old man spoke to the driver. Our guide then had a chat to the guy in the car and he motioned us inside, saying that he hadn't seen us, with large smile on his face.

We were then allowed to wander at will inside this facility, where there were many more aircraft and helicopters that couldn't be seen from the outside, or even from inside the airport from the ARP403 facility.

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