From Thursday 23 August through Sunday 26 August the coach headed for Kubinka every day. The participants were free to join the coach, take the train or subway to their preferred destination of the day. Besides the ‘Army’-events some guests also choose to visit Moscow centre or the Air Force museum at Monino.
On the first full day in Moscow the group was ready for departure at 7am. Because of a delayed arrival of the bus and the busy Moscow traffic, the group arrived at Kubinka around 10am but on this non-flying day the airfield was still very quiet, and the static display could be photographed in nice light and in some cases with some efforts required due to the fences and flag posts around the static area.
The Thursday was the first of four days at the ARMY exhibition. Besides the air force cluster at Kubinka, there is also the land cluster at Alabino and the general exhibition at the Patriot Park.
Between the three locations runs a special bus service so that the group could visit all three locations during these four days.
The Patriot Park is the central point for the ARMY exhibition, in this large facility all major Russian weapons manufacturers have their stands, such as Russian Helicopters who showcased a number of their factory-owned helicopters. On the Patriot Park are also a number of preserved aircraft and helicopters and just outside is a museum with about 20 aircraft.
The display ground at Alabino is most known for the tank shooting demonstration. This training ground of several square kilometres gives the Russian army the opportunity to display their latest hardware and do live firing on the range. During this 90-minute display visitors are treated to a continuous barrage of fire and explosions, but before it all starts an Il-76 performs a water drop to prevent too much dust is blown around on the range. Throughout the demo the Air Force also participates with a number of helicopters such as the Ka-52 and Mi-35 firing at targets on the range and Mi-8 and Mi-26 dropping troops and vehicles.
After the army demonstration several of the demo teams flying from Kubinka also performed at Alabino but direct backlight makes photography difficult at this location.
With the air force assets flying from Kubinka, most of the group decided to stay at Kubinka on the flying days. The demo teams such as the Russian Knights, Swifts, Berkuts and the Chinese 1st of August team all performed multiple times on Friday through Sunday. When the Russian Knights and Swifts performed at Alabino, the solo pilots also performed at Kubinka when the team returned giving the spectators a nice bonus besides the departure and arrival of the team.
On all days at Kubinka there was a number of visiting aircraft and helicopters from the air force dropping off supplies and personnel. Ka-226, Mi-8 came in for a quick visit on several occasions and on the Friday an An-12 dropped in and departed later during the day whereas on the Saturday an An-26 was present most of the day parked just in front of the crowd line.
Compared to 2016 and 2017, the area to get head-on photos of the aircraft leaving the runway and dropping their chutes was decreased in size. This made it a bit more difficult to find a good spot, but on the other hand the aircraft stayed a bit further away from the fences making it easier for photography and safer with wingtips and pylons no longer passing over our heads.