Moscow Visit – 2011

For this visit to Moscow, I went with George Pick Aerotours

Wednesday 18 August

09:15 departure from Heathrow’s Terminal 1 on British Midland flight BD 891 for Moscow Domodedovo. On arrival in Moscow we were met by our lovely escort, Natasha and coach driver Vassily and taken on a 2-hour drive across a very busy Moscow to the Aerostar Hotel on Leningradsky Prospekt..

Thursday 19 August - MAKS Airshow

Our first full day at Zhukovsky for the MAKS airshow. The weather was sunny and hot and the crowds were light.

The security fences were a bit obtrusive - about 5 feet high!! I could just manage to lean over the fence to take photos - but only by standing on tip-toe!

I met up with a few Internet friends - as well as a crew member from the visiting USAF C-5M Galaxy.


Friday 20 August - Monino, Star City, Ledovo-Dolgoye and Khodynka

I was keen to visit Monino again - to see the newly-opened Great Patriotic War hangar. The weather was kind again and I did my usual tour taking lots of photos.

Inside the new hangar, the exhibits are well lit and easy to photograph - but they are a bit crowded together. I spotted a small balcony at the rear and - in my best Russian - asked the lady attendant if I could go up it to take some photos - to which she whispered 'Bistra, Bistra' (Quickly) - so thanks to her I got some good panorama shots.

From Minino we went to Star City - where they train the Cosmonauts. We were shown the massive centrifuge - the world's largest - plus the the huge water tank where they train in zero gravity on mock-ups of the space capsules.

Another visit to the MAI aircraft collection at Ledovo-Dolgoye to see the airframes there. Unfortunately, although they have been offered for sale, no-one has come forward and they are now being stripped of precious metals and are ready for the scrapyard.

Finally, the group visited the former, once proud museum at Khodynka - now, sadly more of a scrapyard. As it was located near our hotel, I didn't visit, but went instead to a local model shop - which was unfortunately closed.


Saturday 20 August - MAKS - at the Media Centre

Another early start for the journey to Zhukovsky - but this time a few of us had paid for 'Media' tickets - so on arrival at MAKS, we were bussed over to the south side of the airfield to the 'Media Centre'.

This consisted of a raised structure made of scaffolding not far from the taxiway that afforded great views of the airfield.

No chairs were provided - and there was no shelter from the persistent rain - but the location was good and food and drink was provided.

We were also allowed to wander onto the grass between the centre and the taxiway and by early afternoon, the rain eased off and the weather started to clear.

It was a good place to be - if a bit expensive - and I would go again, although I was a bit disappointed with the many photos I took.


Sunday 21 August - MAKS.

Another early start for a return to Zhuukovsky.

We got through security even quicker this time - but the weather was miserable with drizzling rain, so we spent the first 2 hours in the beer tent waiting for it to clear.

A walk round the exhibition halls to photograph a few things of interest - but not much

The whole day was rather sombre - with poor weather and nothing very exciting to see - we spent most of the day in the beer tent!


Monday 22 August - A-90 Ekranoplan and Zadorozhny Museum.

First visit of the day was to the reservoir at Khimki to see the A-90 'Orlyonok' ekranoplan that is exhibited there.

After some discussion and payment of a small fee, we were allowed inside the security fence to get closer to the A-90 and received a short talk about it from a rather pretty lady.

We could not go aboard - for health and safety reasons - so had to be content to take photos from the outside.

From Khimki, we journeyed to the superb Zadorozhny Museum to see a few of their new exhibits.

The Hawker Hurricane has now been repainted in Soviet markings and a Yak-25 and Yak-28P are newly displayed amongst the trees on stilts.

From Zadorozhny, we said our goodbyes to Natasha before being driven across Moscow to Domodedovo for our 18:40 BD-894 flight back to Heathrow.


Ken Duffey

August 2011