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-   -   Flight TV general aviation TV from Russia (https://www.pprune.org/private-flying/597708-flight-tv-general-aviation-tv-russia.html)

FlightTV 31st Jul 2017 07:11

Flight TV general aviation TV from Russia
Im Ignat Solovey, the cameraman and international relations guy of the only Russian video feature about general aviation (NB: not another vlog, we work in different format that is closer to classic TV). We restarted our English production after 2-year hiatus and here are five first issues that are better to be viewed in sequence. These are about helicopter sports championship and 2nd stage of helicopter racing world cup that happened couple of weeks ago, further issues will be about things well, less expensive than helicopters.

Russia has a lot of stuff that may be of interest to flying crowd out there aircraft, gear, pilots, GA events, airshows, aviation sports and lots more (including lots or red tape and hostile bureaucrats). Ill spoil: we even have one (only one!) airfield pet bear and Ill do a feature on the guy this August. Just in case, thats mighty exotic even in Russia.

We are non-political, we do believe in common language, friendship and common skies as much as thats possible with what politicians do. Please dont voice what do you think of Mr. Putin/Crimea/Ukraine/Syria to us, we have nothing to do with that and never had (although I had numerous encounters with the president as a news photographer not the most pleasant experience of my life, Id say).
I hope you (and forum admins) wont mind if Ill update this thread from time to time with new issues.
If you have questions or ideas for us, Im open. Also I'm glad to answer your questions as far as my expertise allows. I already have got questions about possibilities of foreign private pilots to get to Russia on their own aircraft, and a feature dedicated to that is planned for Autumn, as it requires some preparatory work.

Issues 9

Issue 10

Issue 11

Issue 12

Issue 13

coldair 31st Jul 2017 17:24

Many thanks for posting those videos Ignat.

We don't hear enough about Russian aviation here on PPRune, however helicopters do scare me !!

Best wishes,


Jan Olieslagers 31st Jul 2017 17:39

Indeed Russia is a great unknown, and there seems to be a certain plan or intention behind that, but many things must be happening and moving and changing there. And no I don't want to discuss politics, the one thing that really concerns me is that more and more countries seem to be going the same way as Russia - scary! No need to name any, I think.

Here is a request for you: tell us more about Mr. Tchernov and his flying boat designs. I would really love to fly from water, though it seems to be less than self-evident in Western Europe, or in most of its countries.

PS I am not that much into video of any kind, it would be super nice if you could produce some static content too.
PPSS Pet bears are generally frowned down upon here in the west, there seems to be a concensus that these beasts ought not to be made into circus clowns. Another "political" matter, perhaps?

FlightTV 31st Jul 2017 20:03

@Jan Olieslagers Thanks for your interest. Upcoming feature in the Issue 14 that will be ready in 2 weeks or so is exactly about the new Aerovolga Borey serial edition, 2-seater 650 kg MTOW composite flying boat designed by Boris Chernov (outline designer), Dmitry Suslakov (chief designer/constructor) and Sergey Alafinov (the boss). It has no disadvantages of original Che series — it's FAR23 compliant and is even certified in Canada already, and there are firm orders from there and the EU. Probably next time we're in Samara I'll get Boris to answer specifically your questions - ask them as a reply in this thread or PM them to me.

PS It's difficult to produce video and stills at once
PPSS Mansur the Aviabear is a rescue — his mother bear abandoned him as a baby in the woods for whatever reason and he was saved from painful death by the airfield staff when he was the size of a corgi. He isn't chained, has his own space — enough to build several nice houses on that land, pond to bathe, anything he'd like to eat — reasonably, of course — and is reportedly quite affable bear. I'm yet to meet the guy (strangely enough, but can't make it to Orlvka (UUTO) for more than a year, while it's one of the best and most popular airfields).

RangeRONE 4th Aug 2017 14:05

Russian experimental aircrafts
Hi Ignat,

I have read that the Diamond DA 42 is also being build in Russia, I wonder if these under a license build airplanes are solely for the internal market?
Is there no Russian designed aircraft that can compete with it?

I saw a strange but interesting aircraft, but there is not much know of it, do you know anything about it?


FlightTV 7th Aug 2017 19:54

Issue 14. New flying boat is airborne... and it's even better than expected.

Part 1. Open Skies 2017 — what general aviation meetups look like in Russia. Also, see new light 2-seater helicopter for €150k and new two-seater airplane with foldable wings.

Part 2. Aerovolga Borey, a new 2-seater light flying boat by Boris Chernov, Dmitry Suslakov and Sergey Alafinov, made its maiden flight and entered serial production. See how modern Russian planes are made.

FlightTV 7th Aug 2017 21:43

@RangeRONE That's licensed production... in theory. Practically, only one was built, the license is valid only for Russia and CIS, otherwise you should buy it from Austrians. There were more or less widely advertised plans of training pilots on them at Ulyanovsk Civil Aviation Academy (state-run), but from what I know, that turned to be another corruption scheme... add post-2014 crisis and you'll get the picture.

As for Russian equivalents... well, definitely nothing that uses diesel engines, but there are some twin-PE four-seaters... Chaika L-42M/L-44 (flying boats... L42M RA-1468G is my favorite plane of all, by the way); C-72 Hunter development of L-42 into conventional airplane, like flying Jeep (big STOL-like wheels, for example, and not so long TOL). They use Rotax engines, 912ULS for L-42 and C-72, 914 for L-44. Here they are "" - -42/-44 (in Russian; English page is abandoned but Google will translate that for you and I can help as well, I know the owner... actually, we I mean Evgeny and myself know everyone or almost everyone who is involved in Russian GA manufacturers, pilots, entusiasts...)

Also there is MAI-411, an old project, also Rotax-driven, but since there are one university and one government involved, I don't think that something will grow there. I've seen one in the flesh at the recent MAKS, but I'm not completely sure if that thing even flies... sources say it doesn't, its destiny is unclear, production prospects even less clear and in the whole it's one more money laundering sawmill.

You see, there were no and still are no Russian engines comparable to Rotax 503/582/912/914 and Lycoming 360. There is one project going on at Gavrilov-Yam, sort of a clone of 912ULS, but it isn't likely to enter production. There are also KOVALENT engines (from Smolensk), they technically fit the niche, and the guys claim they sold more than 500 of them, but... to military for their UAVs, and their flaw is very, very low lifetime, about 100 hours or so. That's fine for a military UAV, but won't do for GA plane. Another guy at MAKS boasted with couple of prototypes, but knowing him I wouldn't say that they'll ever fly.
The reason for that is simple: there was no private aviation in the USSR, and DOSAAF was fine with Yakovlev Yak-18 and Yak-52 planes that used old radial designs. Soviet military didn't care for fuel economy, weight and noise levels, so there was no demand... and where is no demand, there is no design school and tradition, and you can't create one from scratch in 25 years of constant political and economic turmoil. Add generally lower production culture (not an issue with modern composite aircraft production in Samara, Perm and Tyumen) and you'll solve the equation.
Another pain is avionics. There is one company that produces something more or less decent (Frontline Avionics and their GLANCE EFIS I), but that is still in experimental stage, and, while it's times cheaper than the cheapest Garmin or MGL kit, as well as has some very elegant solutions inside, I heard complaints... although the guys are good about customer care and input, so there is a chance that they'll get on nicely with the issues. Consider also that Russia isn't at the frontier about electronics, it lost the race in Jurassic era I mean late 1960s. There are some military chips of course, but that's top secret, and what's not top secret... I'm aware of what's happening there as well, and I'm not optimistic about it.

In short: as long as government officials and special services hold general aviation by the throat, there won't be anything decent and serial in engine and avionics department, and even the most successful designs will use imported engines and electronics.

FlightTV 18th Aug 2017 19:41

Issue 15.

Historical aircraft in flight and aerobatics show at Mochishche airfield near Novosibirsk.
A monument to aircraft technician will appear at Levtsovo airfield near Yaroslavl, and it's the first one in Russia. Are maintenance men honored in Europe, Americas or elsewhere? We're curious.
New life for Antonov An-2. TR-301TV (TB) is now a strut high-wing, uses turboprop to fly, goes fast and high, but still it's good old An-2... just better.
Free gliding training for teenagers.A passionate glider pilot spends a chunk of his business's income to lure children to the clouds... literally.
Russian aerobatic team got another bunch of gold medals in European championship... and that's how they train. No comments...

rcsa 18th Aug 2017 23:22

Great stuff, Ignat! Thanks very much for sharing.

Tarq57 19th Aug 2017 05:54

This is awesome stuff.
I was particularly impressed with the gliding lessons for free for the kids. This was my dream when I was about 13 - 15. (I joined Air Training Corps to do it.)

Why do you think it is that so few of the kids seem interested?

Mechta 19th Aug 2017 12:56

How about a history of DOSAAF? It seems to be pretty central to sport aviation activities in former Soviet Union, but there doesn't see to much about its founding, structure and activities from what I've seen.

mary meagher 19th Aug 2017 19:05

Hello Ignat Solovey! a long time ago, possibly before you were even on the planet, I spent 3 weeks in the Soviet Union taking part in the Women's European Gliding Championships at Oriel.

I began flying gliders (and tow planes, etc) at the age of 50, and since than have flown approximately 1,800 hours in gliders, and l,400 hours in power.

Can you let me know how to contact the glider pilot you mentioned?

And if you would like a copy of my book, for review, of course, let me know.
You can send me an email at [email protected].

Best regards...and welcome to PPrune!

FlightTV 21st Aug 2017 12:25

Originally Posted by Tarq57 (Post 9866237)
Why do you think it is that so few of the kids seem interested?

It's probably rural life (while Lipetsk and Voronezh are industrial cities, the region in general is agricultural and not exactly the wealthiest, if not the poorest) and overall lack of interest in anything non-income-bringing among modern Russian kids. They want popular YouTube bloggers, easy money and career rather than a commitment that requires health, wit and (in the future) expense. Also, flight as a sport is perceived as something totally impractical: it's not soccer, athletics or swimming where you run or otherwise exhaust yourself physically, it's not boxing, wrestling or martial arts (either Asian or SAMBO) that supposedly keeps you fit and gives, in public opinion, a skill of kicking offending butts, it's not chess where you can, in theory, earn something if you're committed like Sergey Karyakin. Russia is rich country with a lot of poor people, and when your life is more about survival (by the way, the case of Flight TV and my own, so please pay attention to my closing remarks in the end of videos...), you don't think that it would be good to become a glider or a piston-engine plane pilot.

Moreover, “thanks” to how aviation, especially general aviation, is usually presented on broadcast Russian TV (either as extremely dangerous and illegal activity or a millionaire recreation, although there are some exceptions), people mostly don't associate themselves with piloting anything on their own. They just afraid of flight (otherwise I can't explain why people spend more than an airfare and a week, or even more, to get from, say, Khabarovsk to the Black Sea coast by train or car, while they can get there or elsewhere with one stopover in about 12 hours). There are regions in Russia where people are more used to aviation than to railway, for the lack of the latter (Yakutia, Chukotka), but that doesn't mean they want their own aircraft, or at least to be pilots themselves. There are cases in Siberia and Yakutia when people buy GA plane or helicopter and even hire a pilot just to move around, out of sheer necessity. Usually they do some kind of business, and had there been decent automobile roads they wouldn't even think of flight. Add generally discriminating and choking authorities attitude... As well, current generation of teenager's parents (more or less my generation and older, people of 35 to 50... I'm 2 months short of 36, if anything) are often overprotective and want nothing than quiet life, so some of them, probably, explicitly prohibited their kids to associate with “some weird things that can fall from the sky with you, useless irresponsible fool, inside”. What a logic (see italic font and draw conclusions).

Also, it's a stereotypical thinking: “anything that flies must have an engine, or it's just dangerous extreme sports for mentals, like hang gliders or parachute jumping”. About one in three random people have no idea of gliders, and the second most asked question is “do these small planes with propellers even still exist?" (of course, it's asked by people who don't have a GA airfield near their town or village. No ideas of air streams, thermals, airfoils and other flight basics. A lot of long-distance passengers (not only in Russia, I suppose) have totally no clue about why and how any aircraft flies, they don't like flight and think of an airplane as of just another kind of a bus... Essentially, flying economy on cheaper rates leaves more or less similar feelings even in me... romance lost shortly after they decided to named a plane Air-Bus ;). Jetway here, jetway there, thick and even clouds below en route, not even a decent turbulence, and lack of legroom even for my humble 5'9"/175 cm height.

FlightTV 21st Aug 2017 13:35

Originally Posted by Mechta (Post 9866530)
How about a history of DOSAAF? It seems to be pretty central to sport aviation activities in former Soviet Union, but there doesn't see to much about its founding, structure and activities from what I've seen.

History is history. It all went downhill after the USSR collapse and now DOSAAF is pretty much amorphous and drastically underfunded structure with unclear legal status (at least in aviation) that is run by retired and not always competent military generals in central HQ (the ones who are competent are overly attentive to paperwork). The only aviation branch of DOSAAF that lives more or less normally is parachute jumping (mostly off commercial jumps). Also they operate a network of driving schools (quite good, by the way, available for anyone just like any other commercial driving school) and have still some commitments about training 17-year-olds to become lorry drivers (C, D, CE, DE categories) and vehicle technicians as army conscripts. Government isn't exactly interested in tens of thousands of flyers. Of course there are some airfields that use DOSAAF as a cover to be somehow legit in the eyes of certain officials, and, of course, DOSAAF-only fields, but the whole structure is long rotten and, frankly speaking, I don't know why it still exists. Probably only thanks to mantras of some nostalgic bureaucrats and their need of reports about “patriotic upbringing of youth”, that allows to lobby some budget drops via military. Also, they earn something with parachute jumps and driving courses.

DOSAAF is very difficult subject to cover, really hard to explain in several forum posts, especially to people who aren't aware of many details of Russian reality. They don't like journalists unless it's federal TV channels like Channel One, VGTRK (Vesti 24, Russia 1), NTV, Zvezda or regional TV that positively report about their events on Victory Day and Military Day — May 9th and February 23rd, respectively; or their own magazines (Aviation and Sport and some other).
Their mindset (I mean HQ) is rusty, and, since not that I'm anonymous for them, I don't like an idea of making a huge explanatory feature about them, moreover in English. Why? They are very “anti-abroad” in many cases, and our team will have, let's say, some problems with them if they'll get a whiff that Flight TV or anyone else produced an investigative (read: bashing, when it comes to gliding and airplanes, and helicopters, with exceptions of some branches) video about this rotten dinosaur of organization that lives with memories about past might and glory. That's corrupted bureaucratic structure that has little money and even less desire to develop anything that requires any investment...

So, if private pilots and real enthusiasts are allowed to rule and run at least flight branches of DOSAAF, will be given about, say, 10 million Euros annually from state budget and the organization will be given clear legal status (and not something non-civilian, non-military, non-governmental, non-GA and non-private, as they are now), that would be enough to make something decent with present resources and even some development, although I doubt that even this kind of money is enough to resurrect all clubs nationwide and supply them with enough new Yak-152, Aeroprakt, Borey and SR-10 planes, AS-4, AS-5 and some two-seater (maybe imported) gliders, and Ansat helicopters (those Ansats are really, really buggy yet), or at least modernized Mi-2 (goes as Mi-2N), let alone the resurrection of Mi-34 project.

FlightTV 21st Aug 2017 13:37

Originally Posted by mary meagher (Post 9866843)
You can send me an email

I emailed you. Check your spam folder if you don't see my message in your inbox.

bgbazz 21st Aug 2017 17:45

Hi Ignat

I find your posts very informative and interesting...please keep them coming. Living in a country which is quite similar in many ways to yours, I can readily identify with most of what you have posted about general attitudes, bureaucrats and 'red tape' which tend to hinder the expansion of what could be a very enjoyable hobby, sport or medium sized business for many more members of the general population. Over the last ten years or so, I 've noticed some small changes, but they are really small and have happened very slowly, but at least they are moving in the right direction.

I look forward to reading more from you.


FlightTV 21st Aug 2017 20:37

Originally Posted by bgbazz (Post 9868729)
general attitudes, bureaucrats and 'red tape'

Isn't Bulgaria now subject to EU regulations in terms of general aviation? Is it impossible to get a PPL in Bulgaria, or fly with other European PPL? Does Bulgarian aviation authority twist its own regulations at will? Do Bulgarian prosecutors and police try to fine and even jail pilots on a basis of “providing unsafe and unlicensed public air transport commercial service (as well as illegal entrepreneurship)” after getting free 10-minute joyride on a paramotor or other ultralight around airfield and attempting to use that experience as solid evidence?

FlightTV 6th Nov 2017 09:13

Sorry for delays, but finally we made the 16th English issue of Flight TV.
1) NEWS: AKM-5, a serious light sport cruiser to rival Bristell, Dynamic, EuroStar and RV-9.
Russian aviation authority faces a lawsuit from pilots it deprived of their licenses. The state policy seems unfavorable for general aviation and freedom of flight here, yet...
2) People still fly here and do it good enough to make crowds gasp in amazement, and...
3) ...new airplanes are produced, mostly for the foreign market. The second feature continues the story of Aerovolga Borey.
4) At NO COMMENTS section: a video sent to us by Leonid Kulesh from Chita in Siberia, a Dragonfly pilot and one of our viewers. He holds some records and this flight is at least spectacular if not a record-setting.

FlightTV 20th May 2018 20:37

This year's helicopter sport special, Issue 17.
New rules and new champions

Sam Rutherford 21st May 2018 07:20

We ran a helicopter trip to Moscow in 2016 - it was a complete epic (ended with getting an IFR formation clearance to Moscow from Belarus for R44 helicopters!).

Two impossibilities in one flight!

My general feeling was that we were extremely lucky to both get in, and get out! The reasons for the (indescribably high) costs were not just opaque but completely invisible - but we got what we paid for so the system worked. I heard afterwards that we were the only private helicopter trip (not state-supported) to ever get to Moscow (most end up waiting at the border for a few days until they abandon and go home).

Beautiful country, great people, nearly impossible by both financial and paperwork measures - but a great trip!

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