A visual recap of MAKS 2019
Although it is not on the same league as Farnborough or Le Bourget, MAKS has offers an interesting window into the fascinating world of Russian aviation.
On the commercial aviation side of things, this year the highlight was the participation in, both, the flight and static displays of the MC-21 , Russia’s up and coming airliner.
But it was also possible to look into the longer term with a real scale mock up of the CR929, the projected Russian-Chinese wide-body airliner.
Also at the show, two classics: Airbus, with the always amazing A350-900, and Embraer, with its eye-catching E-195 E2 Profit Hunter.
There was a lot more going on at MAKS, of course: plenty of military planes, space-related stuff, helicopters, drones, private jets, general ad regional aviation (with the announcement of the resumption of the Czech-designed, Russian owned L-610 programme as a highlight).
And, as usual, the collection of vintage Soviet hardware at the edge of the airfield.
MAKS is where the Russian aerospace industry showcases its whole portfolio, be it helicopters (above) or aircraft (below).
The MC-21 is, justifiably, the commercial aircraft that generated the most interest at this year’s edition of MAKS. Although it was presented more than three years ago (we were there!) it has been in testing since then and this was a rare occasion to see it from up close.
There are currently three completed MC-21 aircraft, “001” was at the static display, “002” took part in the flying display (below), impressing with its quietness, by the way, and “003” was open (by invitation only) for cabin visits (more on this soon).
And here below is the MC-21 cabin. This is not a mock up but the real thing (the final look may change a bit though depending on each airline’s tastes)
Part of the rear section of the plane was still full of testing equipment. If all goes according to plan, the first delivery should take place in 2021.
It was also interesting to see a mock up of the future Chinese-Russian wide-body long-range jet, the CR929. The project is still at a very early stage, though, so what you see here may bear little resemblance with the final aspect of the cabin and cockpit.
Nevertheless, it gave a first taste of how the passenger experience in this projected airliner may end up being like.
Airbus was at the show, of course, and it kept with its tradition of bringing one of its flagship jets. If, in the 2013 edition it had been pitching, unsuccessfully, the A380 to Russian airlines, since 2015 the European manufacturer has been bringing an A350-900 to MAKS.
The A350 is going to have its debut with a Russian airline in a few months time, as Aeroflot sticks to its plans to introduce the type in the first quarter of 2020.
In the meantime, visitors could admire the elegance of this aircraft and, those that ventured inside, enjoy the “Connected Cabin” experience as well.
I was not planning to cover any of the vintage stuff here in this post (I covered this already in previous editions of the show), but now that the aviation industry is frantically trying to lower its carbon footprint, this old Soviet model (pictured below) caught my attention.
This is, actually, the only Tupolev Tu-155 ever built. This plane was a version of the popular Soviet aviation workhorse, developed in the late 1980s in order to test alternative fuels such as hydrogen and liquefied natural gas.
Embraer keeps coming up with new artsy liveries for its demonstrator aircraft. In this case, the E195 E2 “Profit Hunter” named this way to underline the savings its efficiency brings to airlines.
(see my review of the delivery flight of the first E2 jet to enter commercial service)
Besides the livery and the efficiency, though, another remarkable aspect of the “Profit Hunter” is the staggered configuration of its business class section, said to be popular in some parts of the world.
And, before closing this recap, a pic of the humble L-410.
Why this plane in particular? Because a Russian company is about to resurrect the larger version of this plane, called L-610. Designed in the Czech Republic, the L-610 programme was bought by Russian investors over a decade ago. Now that a Russian regional airline, Polar Airlines, from Siberia, has decided to place an order for 10 of the type, it seems that the project is being reactivated.
To learn more about the MAKS 2019 edition, check also my chronicle from the air show for CNN!