MAKS is held at the Ramenskoye Airport, Zhukovsky in the Russian Federation, and is a bi-annual event, located just to the South-East of Moscow. Paul Filmer took his third trip to the event this July.
Primarily a trade show, MAKS differs from other by having many other peripheral aircraft on display.
With the airfield being the primary location for aircraft testing, there are all sorts of aircraft littered around the place which can be towed out to be on static display. There seems to be an almost unlimited selection that they can pick from from each event.
The NPO Molniya-1 is a six place, radial powered aircraft which first flew in 1992, and was built for multiple tasks, as many aircraft were during that time in Russia. Only 2 were built and interestingly the company is actually more closely aligned to a scientific company than an aircraft manufacturer. For example they designed the Energia booster rocket for the Buran reusable spacecraft.
The MiG-AT is an advanced trainer and attack aircraft designed to replace the L-29 and L-39 and first flew in 1996. Only two prototypes were built and the airframe eventually lost the tender to the Yak-130 which was deemed to be superior as the Yak could also be used as a combat aircraft.
The latest hardware is always on display, along with current military airframes, not in production, to just drool over.
The flying display is unfortunately backlit, but the discerning photographer will always find a way, so we locate to the south side of the airfield.
From a flying point of view, the Russian Navy Su-30SM pair stole the show. The display looked chaotic, with the two aircraft almost never flying in formation, but chasing each other around the sky doing seemingly impossible manoeuvres. It was very difficult to know which aircraft to track with the camera.
The Air Force Su-35S pair also did some great tail chases.
A pair of T-50s also chased around the sky performing various manoeuvres, which was a vast change from two years ago when they just did flat passes.
My favourite aircraft from a looks point of view, is always the Su-34, with its duck-billed nose. The humidity in the air made for some interesting photo ops.
This year wasn’t the biggest of recent years, but to see these aircraft put through their paces everyday, it really can’t be beaten. If RIAT could get the Navy Su-30SM pair to go to the UK, the spectators would lose their collective minds!