The aim of this tour was to attend the parade on 9 May over Moscow. The main reason for the trip was the 70th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic war and thus the victory over Nazi Germany, which is celebrated in Russia.
In May 2015 4Aviation travelled to Moscow with a group of 20 people. The aim of the tour was to attend the parade on 9 May over Moscow. The main reason for the trip was the 70th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic war and thus the victory over Nazi Germany, which is celebrated in Russia. Expectations were therefore high. Unfortunately, in the weeks before our travel we heard from multiple sources that the safety measures at and around airports had been tightened, and it was not considered prudent to visit operational airfields with a large group (and bus), as originally intended. A difficult and unpleasant choice had to be made, which, afterwards, proved to be the right one. Alternatively, it was decided to attend the dress rehearsal of the parade in the city of Moscow, and some more aircraft museums and airfields as a group. So we still had a great program which should guarantee many planes and photographs.
While the two British members flew to Moscow on their own, the remaining eighteen gathered in the early morning on Wednesday 6 May at the now familiar red and white blocks at Schiphol. Everyone was on time and we were able to quickly check in for our direct flight to Moscow. The flight to Moscow and arriving at Sheremetyevo went smoothly, also passing through customs and baggage retrieval. In the arrivals hall a cash machine was found that most gratefully used to replenish the stock of Roubles, you always better have some local money in your pocket! The bus that was to take us via the small naval museum to our hotel was a bit less smooth… because it was not to be found anywhere! After a few phone calls and a twenty minute wait our luxury coach ride showed up and we could go to our first destination. Well, of course it is Russia, and some things are different to we are used to or would like them to be.
The naval museum itself is not very interesting to us, or you have to be keen on submarines and would like to see from the inside, which is quite interesting in itself of course, but for the majority of the group the A-90 Orlyonok ekranoplan is the most interesting exhibit. The ekranoplan is a type that has never found a counterpart in the West: a plane especially made to fly at low altitude above the water, for example to transport landing troops to a beach at high speed. For some, an ekranoplan is therefore not a plane but rather a boat, however ekranoplans were able to also fly at higher altitudes, and that’s exactly what defines a plane. However, the endless discussion continues. Anyway, we were pleased with this ekranoplan which looked lovely in the sun and could photographed beautifully from multiple angles. After everyone had again gathered at the bus, we were able to head to our hotel. Despite quite a lot of traffic jams, and the first impressions of the beautiful city of Moscow richer, we reached the hotel in the afternoon. The hotel did not look spectacular from the outside, once inside it turned out to be a great hotel: friendly (English speaking!) reception, nice clean rooms, and a very good breakfast in the morning. A little later our two British colleagues arrived, so the group was complete and moments later with almost the entire group we could go looking for a restaurant. That was quickly found just across the street and was such a success, both in terms of food and also the atmosphere that we have made it our regular place for dining. Karaoke and dancing girls you have just to take for granted, that’s normal here …