Author`s name Ольга Савка

Insanity Above Red Square

An airshow is to take place in the center of Moscow on June 12th
An air show devoted to Russia's Independence Day is to take place on June 12th right in the center of Moscow. However, experts say that it may be dangerous; everyone remembers the tragic air show in the Ukrainian city of Lvov, when a plane crashed into a crowd of people. It is still not clear whether the Moscow air show will take place or not. Pilots from the Russian Knights and Swift aviation groups are currently training at one of the airbases of the 16th squadron. It is worth mentioning in this context that aircraft are not allowed to fly above the center of Moscow, except for special-services helicopters. Furthermore, air shows are usually held at a certain distance from inhabited sites, because even tough security measures and precautions might not guarantee absolute safety.

This is the reason a majority of specialists have expressed a negative attitude to the idea of an air show in the center of Moscow. President of the federation of flight control officers trade union Sergey Kovalev said in an interview with the Echo of Moscow radio station that an air show above the Red Square was an insane idea. Sergey Kovalev stated that a sortie by one civilian plane costs 4,000 rubles. Every hour of flight costs some 60,000 rubles. Military planes cost a lot more. In addition to it, there will be not two or three, but 30 or 40, planes in the show. On top of it all, one will have to close the airspace above Moscow for such an undertaking. Passenger planes that fly to major Moscow airports - Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo - will have to choose other routes. This might result in flight delays and financial losses.

It goes without saying that an air show is not a safe arrangement. Everybody remembers the tragedy in the Ukrainian city of Lvov a year ago, and Red Square will be a much more difficult place for an air show  than the Lvov airbase: the limited space will not allow for observing all necessary security measures.

"Such undertakings are not stipulated in the budget. Most likely, the spending on the air show will be carried out as 'training sorties.' On the other hand, Airborne Troops officers complain of a lack of new technology, continuing reduction in staff and the low training level," Sergey Kovalev said.

The press service of the Russian Air Force reported that fighter planes would observe the maximum amount of security measures when flying above Moscow. It was emphasized that planes would be of perfect quality and they would be piloted by first-class pilots. A spokesperson for the Air Force press service said that they would be fourth generation aircraft. Each plane is equipped with two up-to-date engines, which can hardly malfunction.

The last air show above Red Square took place on May 1st, 1956.

In photo: Su-27 crashes at the Lvov airshow at the end of July 2002