The Zhukovsky air show

The town of Zhukovsky is named after an outstanding Russian physicist who contributed so much to the development of aviation. Located not far from Moscow, it is — or used to be? — a major center of (military) aviation research and design. Its streets bear the names of prominent Russian pilots and designers.

Once in two years, Zhukovsky — or, rather, its adjunct air field — hosts an air show. According to Reuters, Russian aviation bosses believe this event will be the most important display in 2003. The US, France, Italy, and, of course, Russia are taking part. Americans have brought F-15s, F-16s and the legendary B-52. Russia will show Su-30, Ka-50 (the Black Shark helicopter) and other such wonders. Putin has opened the show with some pomp. While running for President, he once did fly in a fighter plane as a passenger, and emerged pale green from the ordeal, — this time he limited himself to inspecting the goodies.

Paul Jané is already bemoaning his absence in Zhukovsky. I’m afraid so will be I: we happened to rent a summer house a few miles from Zhukovsky last summer, a year there was no event there (except a rock festival in Ramenskoye, an adjacent town), but this time, we’re renting another one. A high turnout is expected, so I anticipate logistical problems. The fields of Zhukovsky’s satellite civilian airport, Bykovo, will be converted into a huge car parking. Traffic within the town will be suspended. Only public buses will be allowed in, picking people at certain Moscow underground stations and light train stations in the Moscow region. What a pain in the neck.

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