UPDATE: Crisis averted! I am reliably informed the T-50 prototype will make an appearance at the MAKS air show in August. The aircraft has been noticed in advertisements for MAKS under the slogan “every time a premier”, implying the T-50 will be this year’s star attraction.
Huh? US Air Forces Europe apparently can spare an F-15E from raiding Libya to play acrobat over Moscow, but the Russian Air Force can’t show off the PAK-FA at the country’s biggest air show?
You read that correctly.
So far, the star attraction at the Moscow air show in August is a 15-minute display by a Boeing F-15E. Meanwhile, the most important revelation by Russian aviation — indeed, perhaps in ALL of aviation — since 2009 could be sitting in a hangar in Siberia.
That’s what Vladimir Yurevich, coordinator of the MAKS 2011 air show, seems to be suggesting in this translated article posted on a Russian web site last week.
I know what you’re saying: It’s a stealthy military prototype at the beginning of a flight test programme — perhaps this isn’t the time to be flying it over nosy crowds. That explanation would be more credible if the T-50 had not already performed a flying display over the head of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a year ago. And the Russians have the option of parking the one of the two T-50 prototypes on the flying display.