Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

25 December 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. Sikorsky Ilya Muromets: First Multi-Engined Heavy Bomber in the World

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. Sikorsky Ilya Muromets. First Multi-Engined Heavy Bomber in the World. 2012


The Ilya Muromets bomber was developed in the early twentieth century by the Aviation Department of the Russian-Baltic Wagon Factory in St Petersburg under the supervision of Igor Sikorsky; 23 December was the 120th anniversary of his birth. From 1912 to 1917, Igor Sikorsky was head of the Russian-Baltic design bureau in St Petersburg (Petrograd), supplying airplanes to the Russian forces. Here, he built aircraft such as the S-6, S-10, and S-11, which won first place in the Russian military aircraft competitions in 1912-13. In 1913, he built (and personally flew) the world’s first four-engine airplane, the Sikorsky Grand, the forerunner of many modern bombers and transport aircraft. Then, he directed the construction of the Russky Vityaz and Ilya Muromets. Besides this, Sikorsky also designed monoplane scouts, float variants of landplanes, fighters, a number of variations on the Ilya Muromets. Amongst his design innovations adopted everywhere by the mid-1920s was a fully-enclosed cabin for the pilot and passengers.

25 December 2012




Tuesday, 11 December 2012

11 December 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. “MiG” Between Past and Future: The Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. 'MiG' Between Past and Future. Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau. 2012


On 8 December 1939, Artyom Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich founded the legendary “MiG” Design Bureau. In just over seventy years, about 60,000 MiG aircraft of various designs have been built. MiGs still have a sterling reputation, not even wars like “Desert Storm” could dent it. Just three years after the end of the Gulf War, Malaysia, a traditional Western client-state, acquired the MiG-29 to replace the outdated American F-5NATO tests revealed that, with equal pilots at the controls, the MiG-29 has an advantage over its western adversaries, not only in close-in air combat, where Soviet machines were traditionally strong, but also at ranges where one had to use AAMs (20-30 kilometres (12.5-18.75 miles)).

10 December 2012



Wednesday, 10 October 2012

German Airline Messes with Rights of Disabled Russians


A group of disabled Russians are going to sue the German airline Air Berlin for refusing to board people in wheelchairs. Once again, this case attracted public attention to the problems of disabled people in Europe. Fortunately, at present, it looks like no public place remains in Europe where there are physical barriers for the disabled. However, sometimes, it also seems that it’s easier to bring down physical barriers than to change people’s mindset. The attitude of some managers and workers in commercial concerns towards disabled people quite often turns out to be not very friendly. Air Berlin’s management often boasts that their company always tries to create the best conditions for disabled people. Unfortunately, the real situation is not always that idyllic.

Nadezhda Belkova, a disabled rights activist, said, “At least, the company might have refunded the money to the people that it refused to board beforehand, not several minutes before the plane took off. I can’t call such an attitude of a company to its clients as anything else than negligence. We’d gone through all the preflight preparations. We filed our first request in August, and, since then, we informed the company every week about new people who wanted to join us. We’d already gone through the customs check and settled in the plane, when they suddenly announced that they were delaying the takeoff for some reason. Then, they said that they could only take two people in wheelchairs; the other disabled people should leave the plane. It seemed to me that the flight crew just didn’t want to spend time on helping the disabled people to get on and off the plane”.

Now, Air Berlin is trying to defuse the scandal. They claimed that their company has a rule, dictated by safety considerations, that only two people in wheelchairs can ride on one flight. However, if this rule really exists, the company should’ve warned the Russian delegation about this beforehand, not after about a half of them (34 people, including six in wheelchairs) were already in the plane.

German lawyer Max Gutbrod, who works for the company Baker & McKenzieCIS, said, “This case isn’t only a violation of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but it’s also a violation of the contract between the company and its clients. True, to a certain extent, a plane’s captain has the right to decide what is and what is not safe for the plane. Care for these disabled people might even have dictated the actions of the captain of this flight… probably, it would’ve been hard for him to evacuate them in the case of an emergency. However, the law common to the entire EU states that if disabled people are going anywhere by pane, they have to warn the air company about everything they might need in the flight within 48 hours before the flight. If the would-be passengers of the flight in question fulfilled this condition, they could sue the company, demanding that it should compensate them for this nuisance. If a treaty about transporting certain people was concluded, but the plane’s captain refuses to transport them without any particular reason, an alternative flight should be offered to them… probably, in business class”.

The German company offered an alternative flight only after this story appeared in a number of media sources. In the end, the Russian airline Aeroflot flew the delegation to Düsseldorf. The funniest… and, at the same time, the saddest… thing about this story is that the Russian delegation was going to Germany to take part in a conference devoted to the creation of better condition for disabled people in Europe. To get there, they had to wait at the airport for a whole day. Air Berlin didn’t even care to offer them any food or to take them to a hotel. Initially, the Russian delegation intended to return from Germany by Air Berlin and had already bought the return tickets. Now, Air Berlin’s officials suggest that two of the six Russians in wheelchairs could fly to Russia on one of their flights, two on another flight, and the other two by Aeroflot. By the way, Aeroflot rules don’t set any limitations concerning how many people in wheelchairs may fly on one flight.

10 October 2012

Aleksandra Zakharova

Voice of Russia World Service


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

29 August 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Gadgetophile Heaven

Gadgetophile Heaven

Sergei Yolkin



The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will revise its rules for the onboard use of portable electronic devices by airline passengers. It said it intends to find out which gadgets passengers can safely use in flight, so it could establish a standard set of guidelines.

29 August 2012

Sergei Yolkin



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