“There will be no one to fly.” There was a shortage of aircraft for training pilots in Russia
Half of the training aircraft at the Federal Air Transport Agency’s flight schools crashed after the sanctions were imposed. For this reason, civil aviation pilots are being released “with huge delays”, but after some time, if the situation does not change, there will be “no one to fly” with the mainline airliners in Russia.
This was stated by the head of the air operations department of the Federal Air Transport Agency, Vladimir Izraiev, speaking at the annual meeting of the Union of Aircraft Manufacturers on April 26, Vedomosti writes, citing an audio recording of the speech.
According to Izrailev, foreign-made aircraft are used in all nine flight schools of the pilot training department: Cessna 172, Diamond 40/42, L-410, Bell and Eurocopter light helicopters. However, half of them are already “out of order” due to problems with the supply of foreign components. In particular, engines for them are practically not imported into Russia, the representative of the Federal Air Transport Agency noted.
At the moment, the solution to the problem is “not in sight” and difficulties with the training of pilots are already beginning – stressed Izrailew. In this regard, the Federal Air Transport Agency proposed to the Ministry of Industry and Trade to develop a Russian training aircraft with the required characteristics.
The head of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC; part of Rostec), Andrei Boginsky, announced his readiness to start creating such an aircraft. “All that remains is to find the means to create a new machine,” he said. Boginsky also recalled that the Federal Air Transport Agency had not purchased new equipment for a long time due to lack of funds.
The KLA has a single-engine Yak-118 developed a few years ago, a modified version of the Soviet Yak-18K from the 1970s. However, it never entered mass production, and during its development it was announced that the aircraft would be equipped with a German engine.
Before the imposition of sanctions, there was no point in launching mass production of training aircraft, says Oleg Panteleev, executive director of Aviaport. According to him, it is worth doing it only when there is a large market for such aircraft, for example in the United States or Western Europe. But today, without our own training planes and helicopters, it will be extremely difficult to organize pilot training, the expert noted.
The Yak-118 may meet the requirements of the Federal Air Transport Agency, but the key condition for the production of such an aircraft is the presence of a domestic engine, stressed Panteleev. “There are designs for 500 hp petrol and diesel engines. Z. But today in Russia there is no mass-produced engine with the required power, ”he concluded.