Flight TV - Issue 14

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, made its maiden flight and entered serial production. See how modern Russian planes are made.

Текстовая версия выпуска

Hello, I'm Ignat Solovey and this is Flight TV, the only TV program about general aviation in Russia. I'm the cameraman and your host here. You’re watching Issue 14 in English. This production is supported by Aerovolga Scientific and Production Company.

As some of you may have noticed, I'm active at various forums. That way we gather questions and subjects for our production that should be interesting for you, our dear viewers. Some of you expressed interest about meetups and other forms of pilot social life here. Also, today we'll show you the new and very nice Russian flying boat from Samara. But first — to the news.


Oops, helicopters again... Russian Airforce helicopter show team, Bérkuty, or Golden Eagles, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. That was marked with public air show: free access to the base at Torzhok, not far from Tver'. Russian military pilots showed their best skills, and not only on helicopters. The famous jet show teams, Russian Knights and The Swifts congratulated their colleagues in style. Some elements were unbelievable even for experienced part of the crowd, like formation change in vertical loop by The Swifts. You can see the best elements on our YouTube and Instagram channels.


Russian state weather service excluded almost all METARs from international data exchange — and hid them behind paid subscription even for Russians. Starting this July, you can view data only for 19 Russian airports. That may sound strange for you in Europe and Americas, where the majority of weather data is available for free.

The pill was sweetened by an access to the new precipitation map with 90-minute advance. It also covers parts of Baltic states and Finland. That will last as long as testing goes, and probably will become paid in several months. There are other options, though: popular web services improve and you can see all you need at Gisméteo and Yándex.Weather, nicely presented.


Open Skies: traditional summer meetup near Ufa in Bashkiria. How do we do it in Russia?


 Open Skies 2017 was twelfth annual meetup at Pervúshino airfield. Financial troubles and so-called “football ban” that was in effect in June and part of July, reduced the number of participants. 47 various aircraft from 30 regions — not quite bad for Russia anyway. Some developers presented their machines for the first time in public. That was Orlán car-engine-driven helicopter from Perm, and Sigma Six — a plane with automatic foldable wings.


 That was good enough for almost 10 thousand-strong crowd of spectators. We are specialized program, though, and are interested not only in flight demos, but in developments and services offered for pilots in exhibition hangars.

It's not much of a problem to insure anything in the West. Not so easy in Russia, but something started even here. Small insurance company from Moscow decided to offer CASCO packages for private pilots, and with a benefit of avoiding officials if insured occurrence happened: you don't need official investigators report here, just statement from capable airfield staff. Also, they insure not only small planes and helicopters, but paramotors and flexwings as well: these inexpensive ultralights are quite popular here.



Transportation insurance director, Central Insurance Society

The cost is defined by experts and by parties agreement. We expect the annual fee to be two percent of the aircraft market cost, or a little more.


New propellers from Samára. The Aviaspéktr company produces flexwings, trikes and deltaflyers since the early nineties, and also propellers. Here they presented variable-pitch props for Rotax engines.



Engineer, Aviaspektr Ltd.

We designed and produce three-bladed variable-pitch propeller for Rotax 912 and 914 engines.


Now to the aircraft. There were two new machines presented at Pervúshino for the first time. The first one is Orlán, light two-seater helicopter from Perm with Ukrainian roots. This machine uses the engine from Subaru Legacy that runs on A95, or Super unleaded car petrol, for 2000 hours between overhauls. Fuel tank capacity is 150 liters, or 40 US gallons. Cruising speed is about 90 knots, and it can take you as far as 850 kilometers, or 530 statute miles fully loaded. Empty weight is just 400 kilograms; maximum takeoff weight is 780 kilos. Practical ceiling is 3 kilometers, or 9000 feet above mean sea level, dynamic ceiling is 4800 meters or 15700 feet. This thing seems to rival popular Mosquito, Safari and R22 helicopters with lucrative price: just 150'000 Euros. Consider lower service expenses too.


New airplane with uncommon feature of wings folded by electric motor is Sigma Six by Sergéy Ignátyev from Moscow. If Orlán helicopter arrived on its own and by air, this plane had to be towed by car for a thousand miles. The reason was the ban on general aviation imposed around Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazáń and Sóchi for the UEFA Confederations Cup 2017. Mister Ignátyev decided to obey the law, as his contraption easily fits quite compact trailer, but was furious about security regulations:



Aircraft designer, Moscow

They set some annoying and outrageous ban, we're shocked! It cannot be explained by any stretch of common sense! Vladimir Putin once said that he is ready to waste terrorists in outhouses. Instead, we see his government being afraid of its own people. Those who fly and value freedom are the pride of the nation in my opinion, the best people here and the most advanced ones.

The plane itself is a nice thing for casual and training flight, as well as vacation transport. Maximum takeoff weight is 600 kilos, useful load is 250 kilos. Cruising speed is between 105 and 135 knots. Engine options are Rotax 912S or 912iS, flying distance is up to 750 kilometers. And, of course, you can store it inside your car garage, for the wings can be folded or unfolded in half a minute with a press of a button.


 One more interesting thing at the tarmac was a homebuilt by Yuri Ermakóv, retired civil aviation pilot from Izhevsk. Made of polycarbonate, with Rotax 582 engine, it's very cheap and easy to build, one-seater for small pleasure flights at 6000 Euro price point. No license required, at least in Russia, as it is in under 115 kilos category.



Aircraft designer, Izhevsk

40 meters, six seconds to take off and you're airborne! Very nice thing. I just come to a field, uncover it, start and get in the air. When I vented myself enough, I just set it back like a bicycle. I don't do any upgrades, it's in good condition and needs little attention.


This year it was Georgi Kirtáyev from Surgut in Western Siberia, whose road to the show was the longest. He got to Bashkiria on a slow JUST SUPERSTOL. Planes of that kind are highly popular in Alaska and are very useful in Siberia as well. Georgi's flight was as slow as 38 knots sometimes because of strong headwinds, but he is used to that. For many years he covered tens of thousands kilometers being busy with biological research and monitoring.



Private pilot, Surgut

We work mostly with aquatic birds, they are slow lot. We needed such plane to work at low altitudes and slow speeds as it is very easy to fly low, slow and safely.

There were 47 participants, each has own story good for a short film, and it is impossible to fit everyone into one program. Sergey Minigúlov, the meetup organizer, worth a separate movie himself, as he makes that regardless of all obstacles. Shortly before the event his airfield became a subject of a criminal case. The law enforcement took paid recreational flights for unlicensed commercial air service, as it becomes customary in Russia, and decided to give an exemplary punishment once more. The rumors are that prosecutors were tipped by owners of another airfield.



Open Skies 2017 organizer, private pilot, Head of DOSAAF Bashkiria

It's quite rotten trend goes on here, as a consequence of some kind of rivalry. I won't elaborate on the subject, though. I just want to tell everyone that we're too few here to divide the sky in such unruly manner. So good luck and safe flight to everyone!


Another viewer's request was very coincidental: at PPRuNe forum I was asked to tell more about Boris Chernov, an aircraft designer from Samara, and his flying boats. The odds could not be better, as this July we spent almost a week at Aerovolga factory where the new amphibian plane based on Chernov's design was built. This Borey isn't just another prototype, but a start of serial production. Watch our next feature for extensive details.


Borey, a two-seater flying boat, is the tenth airborne project of Boris Chernov. This man went all the classic way of self-taught genius back in Soviet times. As a young man, he enrolled into Samara Aerospace University but left after two years and founded what now can be called a boat-building startup. That were just boats, because you couldn't build private airplanes in the USSR. He made boats for almost twenty years. After the USSR collapsed he finally could pursue his childhood dream and started to build amphibian airplanes.


In the recent two decades more than a hundred airplanes of nine types designed by Boris Chernov were built as CHE series, although all of them are registered as experimental singles. They fly all around Russia — from warm Black Sea coast where snow is rarely seen to transpolar regions where minus thirty centigrade is pretty normal.


During the first test flight, Borey's takeoff run was about 100 meters and landing was even shorter, less than 60 meters. More than fine for amphibian, but keep pilot's experience in mind...



Aircraft designer

It's not good to boast, but you need experience... and I have one. Calm weather makes landing even worse, with a wind the run would be even shorter. The plane was on its very first flight, keep that in mind too. After some practice you can cut those distances twofold.


The plane is 7 meters long, and 2.5 meters high from landing gear to engine compartment. Wingspan is a bit less than 10 meters. Borey is built at AeroVolga, the largest private aircraft factory in Samara. AeroVolga produces bigger La-8 flying boat for more than ten years, and now it enters the market of two-seaters. The new airplane is designed to fully conform the US F2245 and Canadian Advanced Ultralight guidelines.



Chairman, Aerovolga SPC

We use certified engine: it's Rotax 912, but S version and not ULS. All avionics are by Garmin, partially certified. The rest is manual. The plane is very simple, as it has no electric systems. Flaperons are manual, landing gear is manual. It's only elevator trim tab that is electric, but you understand that it's not the most critical part here... anyway, we can't remember elevator trim tabs failures.


Borey's empty weight is 380 kilograms, including the complete set of equipment. Even less, considering that all systems have double power supply backup and triple avionics backup. Also there is Terrain Awareness and Warning System installed. Manufacturer claims maximum takeoff weight of 650 kilograms, and 120 meters of takeoff and landing run. In reality, the runs are even shorter for experienced pilots, as you have already seen. Any other flying boat with such parameters? Don’t think so.



Chief Designer, Aerovolga SPC

We have the strictest weight discipline here. Whan you can afford with heavier airplane, you cannot afford here. That's why each and every system was analyzed for weight, and a lot of design solutions were reviewed as a result.


Weight decrease didn't impair Borey's qualities. Customers can choose either 50 liter fuel tank for three hours of flight, of two tanks for 90 liters and up to six hours in the air. By the way: stall speed is just 60 kilometers per hour, or thirty two and a half knots. One more bonus is the IFR capability.



Chief Designer, Aerovolga SPC

This plane is fully IFR compliant. It has autonomous air pressure systems for different instruments, autonomous power supply. We obeyed all rules of backup like a holy teaching.


Now some interesting combination for amphibian planes pilots: 270 kilos of useful load, 100 knots cruising speed in Rotax 912S continuous mode and instrumental flight. At that, the machine is reliable and easy to fly. Modular design allows development according to customer's demand, adding different options, including higher payloads. According to the manufacturer, it resembles old Soviet Lada 4×4 Niva car: cheap, durable and suitable for very harsh conditions... but much more reliable than a Lada.



Chief Designer, Aerovolga SPC

We made, so to say, a flying Niva: lightweight and functional crossover, acceptable cruising and excellent take-off and landing parameters, and very good hydrodynamics.


Borey's cargo compartment can be modded to carry hunter dogs. As well, Rotax 914 engine can be installed for higher payloads. Standard propeller can be swapped for variable-pitch and you'll get 108 knots cruising speed. Or all that together, as Aerovolga is open for any customer demands.


The price of Borey, including delivery to customs warehouse anywhere on the planet varies from 115 to 150 thousand US Dollars, depending on equipment. Tax duties are not included. Contract, payment and all legal interactions are made via Swiss company. There is a warranty of 100 flight hours or two calendar years. Aerovolga already has six pre-paid orders on Borey, and only one of them is Russian. What's interesting, all five foreign orders are made by flight schools.



Chairman, Aerovolga SPC

Borey was designed specifically for flight schools, and first machines go there. We already taught some French crews, Germans came two times, and everyone are very happy with the plane. There is no equivalent for certain Russian word in Western languages, but they acknowledged the plane is very hard to crash.


After five-minute evening test flight, the very next morning Borey took off for a 4000 kilometer long expedition to Pechora far in the Russian North with French pilot Loïc Blaise onboard and French filming crew in accompanying La-8. We, of course, asked if it was not too risky. The answer was very firm: such question is ridiculous for the serial plane where everything is strictly accounted for and each smallest piece has its own responsible employee that signs all logs. Borey is already safely back from the journey, so quite soon we'll visit Aerovolga again and continue its story. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask them in comments or by e-mail you see on your screen. We'll try to get answers for all of them.



This issue 14 of Flight TV in English is over. I'm Ignat Solovey, the cameraman and your host here. Please subscribe and comment. As well as your feedback, we need your support.



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