The search for in-service Soviet and Russian aircraft has fast become a challenge during the last few years. Paul Filmer visited Moscow three times in 2015 and reports on the activity here.
If you’re prepared to put in the work to travel around the capital and endure sometimes long hours of no activity, you can still be rewarded with in-service aircraft photos. This report only contains Russian aircraft over the course of three visits during 2015, but of course you’ll see many movements of Western hardware, which are not covered here.
Domodedovo these days has the least movements, but you can still find Red Wings Tu-204s and a couple of Yak-42 operators.
Transaero has of course gone out of business, so those Tu-214s are no longer seen and Alrosa’s Tu-154s are in danger as when I departed in November there were a pair of Boeing 737s parked on the ramp in their new colour scheme.
Sheremetyevo is hit and miss, but you can always see almost the entire fleet of Aeroflot SSJ Superjets on any one day in their smart colour scheme.
I was lucky during a trip in August to catch a pair of Air Koryo Il-62Ms flying in on a special charter.
Chkalovsky is almost exclusively Russia hardware, and although I would regard the effort to get there and around the airfield as high, the rewards can make it all worthwhile.
During my last trip I happened to see my first Il-22M flying!
Vnukovo is always a good bet for movements and is very easy to get to and travel around which is a benefit, especially as they seem to change runways on a regular occurrence.
With a mix of Air Force, scheduled carriers and business jets, you’re always guaranteed to catch something.
Motor Sich with their daily flights have, however, stopped for now after being banned by the Russian government in a tit-for-tat move after the Ukrainian government banned Russian airlines from flying there.
It’s always hit and miss visiting any of these airfields, but with patience and perseverance you can still come away having shot some nice movements.