Flight TV - 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. As TR-301TV (TB) that venerable biplane 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 non-aviation business's income to lure children to the clouds... literally. And it's almost only girls that go airborne.
Russian aerobatic team got another bunch of gold medals in European championship... and that's how they train. No comments...

Текстовая версия выпуска

Hello, you’re watching 15 issue of Flight TV in English. Flight TV is the only Russian program about general aviation. This production is supported by AeroVolga Scientific and Production Cooperative.


This issue consists of two different features. In the first one we’ll cover TR-301TV, a development of the famous and legendary Russian An-2 biplane that celebrates it’s 70th anniversary this September. In the second we’ll tell you about the gliding school, but not just another gliding school. In Voronezh region in Central Russia one businessman decided that gliding is a thing that is good to be taught to kids… for free! But first — to the news.


On August 6th traditional air festival was held at Mochishe airfield near Novosibirsk. This year it was dedicated to 80th anniversary of Novosibirsk region and 105th anniversary of Russian Airforce. It was the first time in Russia when private airshow was supported by the state: Novosibirsk regional government gave about 70 thousand Euros. Novosibirsk airshows are known for grand scale and this time it was even more spectacular: rare historical aircraft, including world’s only flying Mi One helicopter, air balloon parade, parachute acrobatics, RC models and homebuilts. Professional aerobatic teams got crowd’s attention: Open Skies from Barnaul and Snow Tigers from Surgut — both on Yak Fifty Two; L-39 Russ team and national favorites, The Russian Knights on Sukhoi Su-30 SM.


Russia’s first monument to aircraft technician will appear at Levtsovo airfield near Yaroslavl. The project, along with the stepping stone, was unveiled during the TechnoTravel festival on August 5th. The statue itself will be opened on May 9th, 2018. The prototype is the actor Alexey Smirnov, who played technician Makarych in the iconic Soviet movie Only Old Men Are Going to Battle. The actor was born in Danilov town of Yaroslavl region — the same town where one of the festival organizers, Andrey Serov, is from.

Andrey SEROV

Co-organizer, TechnoTravel Festival, Yaroslavl

Technicians are like pilots’ guardian angels. There are a lot of monuments to pilots, and not a single one to maintenance guys. Makarych will stand here, looking at the runway, hand raised, welcoming pilots and tourists who come to Levtsovo.


Flight TV is genuinely interested, if there are monuments to maintenance men in your countries? If there are, your photos and videos will be welcomed, so that we could tell about that to our Russian audience. It isn’t really nice that such important people are overlooked: there are monuments to pilots everywhere, but we aren’t aware about technicians honored in such way.

Antonov An-2, the famous biplane, celebrates 70th anniversary this September. Still, it’s very popular, so one company from Southern Russia decided to give it a new life: meet TR-301TV

Probably everyone knows Antónov An-2 — the all-around Soviet biplane that celebrates its 70th anniversary this September. Its production was over about 20 years ago even in Poland and China, but for decades of global use this plane proved itself irreplaceable. Still, the design is old and isn't up to 21st century standards, so several engineering teams around Russia work to give the famous workhorse a new life. One of them, Technoregion company from Yéisk in the south of Russia, not far from Krásnodár, has great experience using and servicing the original An-2. With such background and engineering resources, their obvious move was to develop an updated version. So, some time ago the TR-301 appeared, and had certain success. Now there is a turboprop version. Meet TR-301TV.



Chief aircraft designer, Technoregion Ltd.

This development emerged from the requests of our customers who expressed a desire to have the same plane but running on kerosene. So we decided to give it a try.


Technoregion completed this project fully on their own, and were very successful. The airplane that made its maiden flight in September 2016 passed 40-hour test program in half a year with flying colors. Its new heart is Czech version of well-known Walter M-601 made by LOM Prága. This engine is widely available, used at popular L-410, thus quite easy to obtain and service.



Chief aircraft designer, Technoregion Ltd.

That Czech motor is widespread in Russia and abroad, easy to buy in good condition, and there are many technicians who know it.


Walter M-601 is simple and reliable engine that yields 700 hp, against 1000 of original piston A-Sha 62. As TR-301TV is one ton lighter than the original An-2, such power is even excessive. Test demonstrated that optimum speed at 300-meter altitude is 120 knots, at 2 kilometers it's 140 knots, and 156 knots at 4 kilometers, with 200 liters of TS-1 kerosene per hour. Never exceed speed is the same, 160 knots, but practical ceiling and climb rate are much higher. During test flights the plane reached 15000 feet and the pilot decided to abandon climb for the lack of oxygen equipment.



Chief aircraft designer, Technoregion Ltd.

The plane didn't lose climb rate at 5 kilometers. Probably it could go up to six kilometers and beyond, but it's quite hard to breathe there. Given oxygen equipment I think it can go well beyond six thousand meters.


The test pilot was Leonid Míller: the legendary instructor and chief pilot of Krásny Kut flight school. He taught thousands of students who fly around Russia and beyond.



Chief pilot, Technoregion Ltd.

Of course, this plane flies better. It's faster, has fewer avionics, easier in maintenance. It's easier for a pilot to fly and perform pre-flight and post-flight procedures. Very convenient.

TR-301TV in flown by one pilot, as is the TR-301. Original An-2 has two pilot seats, and designers can easily fit second set of controls if needed, but practice shows that An-2 is a one-man plane anyway.



Chief aircraft designer, Technoregion Ltd.

Its takeoff and landing distances are similar to An-2. It's just much faster. This machine loves to fly, it wants to fly, wants it fast, and is the most economical at higher speeds.


Turboprop version has some disadvantages compared to piston-engined, of course. It behaves worse when low and slow, while excelling when high and fast. Both versions carry 1500 kilos of useful load, but piston-engine TR-301 needs 100 liters of fuel per hour, twice less than turboprop. M-601 engine service life extension is more expensive as well.



Chief aircraft designer, Technoregion Ltd.

Annual airworthiness certification for the hull is about 1 thousand Euros with 200 hours on log book, 1 thousand Euros more for 200 more hours of turboprop engine. Inspection is done by Myasíshchev bureau, and it's hassle-free if you're careful flyer.


In essence, TR-301TV is an equivalent to DHC-3 Otter. The caveat is the price: a 40-year old Otter with 2000 hours on its engine costs half a million dollars and takes quite an effort to find. TR-301TV with overhauled 20-year old hull and 1500 hours on engine is three times cheaper and readily available. So, feel the difference. And you'll have enough change to buy a piston-engine TR-301 if you want.


Teaching people to fly is surely a noble thing and even more noble if you teach kids to fly. So, one businessman from Central Russia decided that any Russian kid under 18 deserves to be learned to fly for free.


Glider is an engineless aircraft heavier than air, that’s sustained in flight by aerodynamic lift. Thanks to being relatively affordable, gliders were widespread in the Soviet Union since 1920s. In the second half of the last century more than one thousand gliding schools and clubs of DOSAAF system taught tens of thousands of people across the USSR to fly Blanik and Jantar sailplanes.

Times did change. Nevertheless, in Lipetsk and Voronezh regions in Central Russia the system is the same: schoolkids under eighteen can learn to pilot glider for free. Instructor pilot from Sapsan club comes to schools and invites fifteen-year old boys and girls to taste the sky.


Gliding cadet

Mr. Nitovsky came to our school, we were all gathered at school hall. He told us about that, showed some glider videos… All that was really beautiful and I decided to try it with my friends.
To become glider pilots, teenagers need only three things: a desire, enough health to pass relevant medical tests and an ability to process information. The latter is the most difficult thing. For the four years of this program there were only fifty youths willing. Several had really poor health, and more than a half dropped out failing tests in theory, being either not smart enough or lacking motivation.


Sports glider pilot

They are pathologically unable to digest information. Can’t remember more than three sentences at a time. It’s a mass effect these days, these kids aren’t special, the majority are like that. As they call it, a mosaic thinking.

On summer schoolkids who passed an exam in theory, go to practical flight. Of fifteen who wanted to become a pilot and passed physical, it’s only four who got to the flight stage this year: three girls and one boy. No more loss is expected, though because if one has a head on a shoulders, he or she can be taught. In gliding you have little chance to be nonflying. Also piloting helps adolescents to become adults psychologically.


Sports glider pilot

It’s about decision-making. An ability to make decisions on your own, on time and based on available information. That’s the case when you can’t get to computer or peek into a tablet. Either you have knowledge in your head, or not.

Anton Permyakov is the man behind this program. He owns the company that finances the regional branch of DOSAAF and Usman-Sharshki airfield.


Sports glider pilot

We teach cadets under eighteen as DOSAAF, because you can’t otherwise teach minors to fly in Russia these days. Our task as sports flight club is to give them a chance to look at the world from different angle. There are much less cadets than we could teach. It is all paid by the company behind the club, but even for free there are few willing people.

Only fifteen schoolkids learned to fly at Usman in four years, and girls are the majority. Anton is clueless why girls want to fly more than young men. As for just fifteen cadets, he is ready to teach more, but there are no willing ones.


Sports glider pilot

It’s not about the money or lack of them. The problem is in lack of will, enthusiasm, motivation. It is much more of an issue than funds.

Local schoolchildren from neighboring towns have the priority because they can regularly attend theory classes. If there are free slots, a kid from anywhere in Russia can attend. You can study theory by yourself using online courses, but then you have to come to Usman to pass an exam in person. If that exam is failed you can’t fly, it’s DOSAAF strictest rule.

Accommodation in 2-bed houses and three daily meals also cost nothing to teen cadets. Marta Martusevich, a schoolgirl from Oryol, lives here since early summer, recently she had her first solo and says that it’s her childhood dream.


Gliding cadet

That’s from childhood. You look at the clouds and like it. It’s a family streak in my case, my dad dreamed of becoming a pilot, but his dream came to life in me somehow.

Until several years ago Sharshki was a spare airforce strip that military gave away to Usman district administration because they didn’t need it. Then officials rented it out to flight club. Today it’s the biggest gliding airfield in Russia with more than thirty gliders based permanently. Private pilots fly here too, including ones from Moscow. Sportsmen train here, Russian and international championships are held. Local farmers and villagers got used to gliders occasionally landing on neighboring fields and pastures.


Glider pilot, philology student at VSU

People often come when I’m outlanded. Usually they ask things like, am I alive? If I need an ambulance? Is it fine? The plane fell down, didn’t it break? I tell, them — no, it’s all right, it didn’t fall, it’s meant to be like that. They ask if the wind is over, I tell — yes, it’s the wind.

Adults can study at Usman gliding club as well, on their own expense though. The price is much less than for a plane and, of course, a helicopter. Full course of theory and eighteen flight hours costs a little under 3000 US dollars and it takes about 3 or 4 weeks, so it can be fit into standard yearly vacation that is 28 days in Russia. Rent of a comfortable 2-bed house is 32 dollars a day, tent spot is just under 2 dollars a day, meals are quite affordable as well.

If that is still too expensive, even adults can become volunteers and learn to fly in exchange of doing whatever useful stuff at the airfield. Usman welcomes everyone who wants to become a glider pilot.

Our 15th issue of Flight TV in English is over. I’m Ignat Solovey, the cameraman and your host here. We need your feedback, so please comment and subscribe, your comments are welcome on YouTube, on Facebook and on Instagram.


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