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6 May, 2010 02:00

Victory Day Parade: pilots ‘sweat out’ precision flying

With Victory Day approaching, Moscow has been preparing for a grand military parade with the final rehearsal on Thursday and Russia’s air fleet is doing its best to surprise and impress.

The fleet: 127 planes and helicopters.

The target: Red Square.

The mission: Victory Day Parade.

This year's show will be held both on the ground and in the skies. Pilots know how to hit the spot when it comes to impressing the crowd.

“We are working hard to contain the configuration of the aircraft and the distance between them,” said second squadron commander lieutenant colonel Aleksey Rakhmatulaev. “And when everything is right, it is definitely something you will not forget!”

Aleksey has been piloting MI-8 choppers since 1991. However, even for experienced pilots, the parade is always a sweat breaker.

The aircraft making up the fleet are extremely different – from transport helicopters to jet fighters and strategic bombers. However, during the parade all have to fly at the same speed of around 500 kilometers per hour just three hundred metres over Red Square.

“Strong winds can really be a problem for us, especially those coming from the side. The guys did worry a bit at one point, but did fine in the end,” said Training Center head Major General Aleksandr Chernyaev.

Back on the ground, the aircrafts are accompanied by a mixture of battlefield equipment – from the legendary T-34s, also known as Victory tanks, which played a key role in Hitler's defeat, to some of the most advanced equipment such as the Topol-M nuclear warhead launching system.

In total, over 10,000 troops, including those from members of the Anti-Hitler coalition, Britain, France and the US, will take part in the march.

With the parade taking place both in the skies above and on Red Square itself, this year's V-day promises to be an impressive show.

Meanwhile, decorations have been displayed all around, dipping the whole city in the atmosphere of 1945.