Dances in the sky above Kazan: White Swan with Bear and heart with arrow by Great Albatrosses

Thousands of citizens of the Tatarstan capital on Friday evening witnessed a spectacular air show organised during I Choose the Sky! festival

Dances in the sky above Kazan: White Swan with Bear and heart with arrow by Great Albatrosses Photo: Maksim Platonov

The annual parade of accomplishments of Russian aircraft engineering has been held in Kazan above the Kazanka River near Kazan Family Centre in the sky for the second year in a row. Kurkachi used to be the location of the air show. The new site of the event has both pros and cons, as usual: on the one hand, it was a real quest to get to Kurchaki in Vysokaya Gora District, and the festival in the heart of Kazan, naturally, guarantees the greatest number of guests will visit it. On the one hand, it's complicated to place as many land amusements on the big and uneven site around the Kazan Cup as the aerodrome field had. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.

Not only planes but also bicycles

As all the posters said I Choose the Sky! was to open at 14.00, the most punctual citizens of Kazan arrived in the cup on time not to miss anything that the festival's organisers had prepared. But they had to wait for what people go to air shows or, more precisely, exhibition performances for almost 2 hours. This time lag the event's guests had was enough to carefully look over the exhibitions of the city's enterprises: for instance, Elekon offered all people to take a photo in a transparent ball with pieces of coloured tinfoil flying in the air, while both adults and children had the abbreviation of KMPO drawn on their cheeks next to the Kazan Motor-Building Production Association. In addition, one could look at dances of robots, spin in a special exercise equipment to feel you're a spaceman and take a photo in a plane cabin.

A separate site at the festival was allocated for permanent participants of the air show, local bikers who brought not only shining bikes to amuse the public but also strange devices as if they had been brought to Kazan from Mad Max film: with chains, cells instead of glass and imitation of machine-gun fire on the roof.

A separate site at the festival was allocated for permanent participants of the air show, local bikers

Dancing helicopter and agriculture aircraft with parachutists

Before the D-hour, the festival's guests recharged their batteries with pilaf and shashlyk and occupied the most comfortable seats on the yellowish-green grass around the Cup. Somebody even brought mats to watch the flight of planes and helicopters like a tsar, lying.

The air show kicked off at 16.00, and the parachutists delivered by An-2 agriculture aircraft from Kurkachi to Kazan were first to gladden the festival guests. Light Cessna flashed above the Kazanka River by waving its wings, L140 was next. A helicopter that seemed to be dancing in the sky was given a big round of applause: it went up spinning vertically to the sky like a top, stood above the water surface so low that caused splashes of water by its propeller.

A concert was taking place at the same time on a big stage installed on the embankment. And the helicopter's dance beautifully coincided with a song that Sofia Rotaru used to sing, which was performed by Kazan amateurs: ''I wish you, my land, high and clear sky, and I wish you happiness!'' In brief, it was quite symbolical.

There was a break after the helicopter dances in the programme again, after which Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov was invited to the stage. He welcomed the guests and participants of the events and noted the republic had a powerful educational cluster and big enterprises.

''Today the aviation sector is a priority in our country,'' the president noted. ''We are talking about both civil aircraft engineering and provision of Russian's defensive capability. In this respect, Kazan has always been one of the leaders.''

Flaming motor instead of heart

The most interesting part began after the president's words. Having roared, Tu-160 supersonic strategic bombardier and vehicle launch, which was called White Swan for its beauty and grace, flashed first above the festival guests' heads who had already occupied almost all the seats grass next to the Cup by this time, spread the sand river from the family centre to Riviera, stood in a row on Sibgat Khakima Street. It's good the traffic to Kirov Dam was closed. Then Bear, turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform, thundered. It's the fastest plane with a propeller engine in the world, and Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic missile platform and bombardier with a variable-sweep wing that doesn't have an animalistic name was next.

''Beauty!'' citizens of Kazan exclaimed ''ah'' when the next miracle of Russian aircraft engineering had flown above their heads.

And the performance of Rus group of pilots consisting of five Great Albatrosses, L-39 planes, was a spectacle, there is nothing to add here. The pilots painted the Tatarstan flag in the sky with the coloured smog, white circles and even a giant heart with an arrow. They either went up to the sky or fell so low that it seemed to be possible to distinguish a pilot in the cabin.

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By Tatiana Seregina. Photo: Maksim Platonov. Video: Kamil Ismailov
Tatarstan