2012, Engels, Russia
Air Forces,  Travel

The Russian Air Force close up

The 100th anniversary of the Russian Air Force (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily Rossii – ВВС России) in August 2012 was celebrated with a huge airshow at Moscow Zhukovsky. Loads of aircraft from all eras filled the sky during the parade and for different solo displays.

Where? Russia, several airbases
When? 07-08/2012

gateguards   8877 zeitler - The Russian Air Force close up

As the show included aircraft from parts all over Russia all those machines had to be moved closer to the Russian capital prior to the show. A rare opportunity to visit some of the airfields around Moscow that were used as a base for these aircraft was offered before the actual event and of course fully exploited. One stop was Kubinka, home of the Swifts and the Russian Knights display teams flying the MiG-29 and Su-27 Flanker. Thus they are used to international visits, though a bit more than just a static display would have been nice…


However, the next stops on the way brought from the old and trusted Antonov An-2 up to the latest version of the MiG-29 and incarnations of the Suchoi Su-27 family Russian aircraft filling the sky:

mig 29   7859 zeitler 1024x683 - The Russian Air Force close up

Hitting the right day at the right airfield not only saw flight training of a T-95 Bear long range bomber, but also the arrival and display rehearsal of MiG-29 9-13s, a three-ship of Su-27S and some Su-34 “Fullback”.

tu 95   7944 zeitler 3 - The Russian Air Force close up

Engels – Russian Longe Range Aviation

tu 160   9938 zeitler 1024x683 - The Russian Air Force close up

The long-range – or strategic – bombers Tu-95 Bear and the most impressive Tu-160 Blackjack did not need to move closer to Moscow, thus the trip to their base was a bit longer, but of course well worth it. Seeing these massive machines being handled and in action can’t be easily described, thus I hope the images do justice.

tu 95   9337 zeitler 1024x683 - The Russian Air Force close up

Furthermore the base collection at Engels Air Base or Ryazan provided some nice displays of former “Long Range Aviation” aircraft, which means bombers, training and transport planes:

museum   9790 zeitler 1024x683 - The Russian Air Force close up

Last but not least helicopters of all kinds did also participate in the festivities. A big formation of different types including the Mi-17 “Hip”, Mi-24 “Hind”, Ka-50 “Hokum” and Ka-52 “Alligator” was led by the huge Mi-26 “Halo”, and a display team of Mi-28 “Havoc” gave a nice presentation.

mi 26   9366 zeitler 1024x683 - The Russian Air Force close up

And apart from many, many Russian jets and helicopters there were apart from some rare sights of Russian (or shall I say Soviet-build) airliners also the numerous preserved MiGs along the way and some nice evenings in Russias capital, Moscow.

moskau   8804 zeitler 1024x683 - The Russian Air Force close up

And finally, a part of my trip back home went in style, flying the Yakovlev Yak-42 to Moscow before jumping on the international flight.

flug   0288 zeitler 1024x683 - The Russian Air Force close up

Russian Air Force Base Visits – Photo Gallery

Some more photos in high resolution can be found furthermore on the following links at



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