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Interview with Magomed Tolboev

Magomed Tolboev, a test pilot, who's at the Zhukovsky airfield joined Russia Today to share his impressions of MAKS-2007 and the prospects of Russian aviation.

Russia Today: What are your impressions so far of the MAKS-2007?

Magomed Tolboev: Everything is just great, the most important – the weather is perfect. The aircraft exposition occupies an avenue four-and-a-half kilometers long which is extraordinary for any air show worldwide. On the whole, the international importance of our air show is evident, but as far as Russia and Russians are concerned, it means our revival is expressed through growing interest of numerous countries to us. That really makes an impression and raises our hopes of the future. Our hopes are connected with MAKS-2007 because here we bring together our aircraft makers and potential clients. Here they hold joint meetings and conferences to end up with multi-million contracts. To be honest, we expect in two years to surpass the capabilities of Farnborough and Le Bourget air shows.

RT: Let’s talk about aircraft development and the current situation. There is an opinion that Russian pilots have been grounded for too long. So, what is your assessment of the situation? Do you think enough new aircraft have been developed?

M.T.: There is nothing to add to what has already been mentioned in the press. To avoid second-hand information just come here and see the current condition of the Russian aviation with your own eyes. Everything is exhibited here and I invite you all.

RT: Let’s talk about the aviation industry situation in Russia at the moment. Do you think this show will give it a boost?

M.T.: Concerning the situation with Russian aviation, you know, its condition was really sorrowful after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Aircraft production was practically stopped but the most dangerous fact was that we stopped new promising projects. Scientific research, engineering and construction projects were frozen, which led to a dramatic dive of Russian aviation as a whole. Today, after numerous statements of the Russian President and his participation in this air show, when he spent  four hours here,  instead of an hour-and-a-half as had been planned. The President visited many pavilions on foot, including foreign ones, such as EADS, the Chinese one and others. That means that today Russian aviation gets a new impetus for development, and I hope we will see it within the nearest 5-10 years. Because to make new aircraft we need to develop new technologies, which is impossible within just a couple of years. Moreover, they must be adopted for production. I hope that in those 5-10 years Russian aviation will among the leaders of the world aviation, and we will be worthy competitors to current leaders such as Boeing and Airbus.