Late last month, Russia held the MAKS 2013 air and space show at the Ramenskoe airfield near Moscow. The biannual event, which traces its roots to the end of the Cold War, has become the largest and most important public exhibition for the nation’s aviation and space industry.
This year, organizers shifted the show's timing by a week to the end of August, in an effort to attract families returning from summer vacation. But MAKS 2013 was missing its most important visitor, Russian president Vladimir Putin, who broke a tradition of opening the show, reportedly out of dissatisfaction with its organizers. MAKS officials still claimed record-breaking crowds, despite a rainy last weekend.
Following another tradition, the six-day show began with a spectacular display by the Russian Knights (Russkie Vityazi) aerobatic team flying Su-27 fighter jets (pictured).
For more scenes from the show, see the gallery below.
Anatoly Zak is a journalist and illustrator specializing in the history of space exploration. He is the publisher of RussianSpaceWeb.com and the author of a new book on the Russian space program.
The opening act was followed by an even bigger and riskier extravaganza with nine airplanes—four MiG-29s from the Swifts (Strizhi) aerobatic team and five Su-27s piloted by the Russian Knights.