Not had a chance to update my blog for some weeks, having been on holiday for two weeks and covering two of the world's greatest air shows: AirVenture in Oshkosh and MAKS in Moscow.
This was my first trip to MAKS and only my second to Moscow, but the previous one was about seven years ago and on an organised media visit so doesn't really count. This time, I and my colleagues, David Kaminski-Morrow, Siva Govindasamy and photographer/vidcam-man Tom Gordon were on our own.
Getting to and from the show was the greatest challenge, involving two stops on the Moscow Metro (a sight worth beholding), a 55min train journey and 15min on a rather crowded and less than fragrant shuttle bus, followed by a pretty thorough security check (understandable given the terror threat). The show itself is hard work too if you don't speak Russian, as, unlike other international air shows, aside from the odd sign and announcement, there are few concessions to English-speakers.
That aside the show is a visual spectacle of Russian aviation at its best. You can see how we covered it on our flightglobal.com/maks landing page, which also includes a link to three issues of our interactive show daily. We had lots of fun with that.
This being Russia there are other differences from your average air show too. For a start, there is alcohol on sale everywhere, with about two beer tents to every one offering water or snacks. The coffee stall in the press centre had a pretty sorry selection of sandwiches but had I fancied a bottle of Johnnie Walker or Martell cognac, there were plenty on display in the fridge. Remarkably, very few visitors showed any effect of having overimbibed, except one poor chap who was manfully making his way for the exit, helped by his slightly more sober friend, in the manner of an exhausted Scott and Oates battling through a polar blizzard.
Perhaps, two wanderers struggling through the desert in search of an oasis might be a more apt similie as the temperatures were in the 30s. Anyone whose impression of Moscow is of people in fur coats in wintery landscapes ought to visit in August.