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The 'Wings of Russia' series is a complete story of Russian aircraft. Every type of aircraft is described in this series: fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and attack aircraft, transport and passenger aircraft, hydroplanes, training and sports aircraft, naval aviation, WIG craft and air cushion vessels, helicopters.
|S01E01||Fighters - The First Victories||09/01/2011||A modern fighter is a combination of beauty and power, speed and maneuverability. Its flight fascinates audience at any air show and makes potential enemies muse. A fighter has a hard task - it has to win an air fight not only against an enemy’s fighter, but against any other type of aircraft. Currently the authority of the Russian school designing aircraft of this type is acknowledged world wide. But that was not always so. Here is a story of the national fighter development from the WWI until the end of the 30s of the 20th century.|
|S01E02||Fighters - The Stormy Years||09/01/2011||One of the largest air battles of the Second World War took place in spring 1943 in the sky over Kuban. The Germans undertook massive air raids to liquidate the menace from the rear, in which over 500 aircraft took part. But the Soviet aviation as well concentrated up to 900 machines in that place. A sharp battle lasted over two months. The fight for the air superiority was violent. The main role in this fight was played by the Soviet fighters of the new generation.|
|S01E03||Fighters - The Jet Era||09/01/2011||A fighter is designated to have superiority over aircraft of any other class. Speed is one of the most important components of success. During the Second World War the maximum speed of serial fighters significantly increased. However, the propeller was capable of bringing aircraft only to a certain limited speed. The way out was found in the creation of a principally new type of engine - the jet engine.|
|S01E04||Fighters - A Struggle for Superiority||09/01/2011||An air show takes place in Zhukovsky once in two years. This event attracts thousands of people. Fighters always become stars of the show. Capabilities of the 21st century aircraft are astonishing. The multi-ton machines tumble in the sky as if denying classical laws of aerodynamics. They leave no doubt – the enemy in an air battle will be defeated!|
|S01E05||Bombers - The Flying Armada||09/01/2011||Massive air parades of the 30's. Different types of combat aircraft fly in the sky. From one parade to another demonstration becomes more immense, bombers become bigger and bigger. Here is a passenger giant "Maxim Gorky", which, if needed, may become a bomber. With this kind of power any enemy can be defeated. Such groove of power fitted well ambitions of the young state. Aviation parades become the sign of the grandeur and might of the country. It did not take long for the Second World War to test the endurance of this might.|
|S01E06||Bombers - The Cold War||09/01/2011||In October 1962 the world faced the Caribbean crisis. In response to the Soviet missiles allocation in Cuba, the United States blocked the Island of Freedom. Tension among nuclear powers was growing. The Soviet strategic bombers were relocated to the borders - closer to the targets in Europe and America. Exhausting combat watch began. Alert level was maximum. All involved in those days experienced enormous tension. Even incomplete knowledge of the nuclear weapons capabilities drew an astonishing picture of the aftermath. The world was on the verge of the Third World War.|
|S01E07||Attack Aircraft - Above the Battlefield||09/01/2011||In the second half of the Great Patriotic War the Soviet aviation had total air superiority. IL-2 aircraft one after another delivered attacks over the fainting enemy. Throughout the war attack aircraft obtained such fame and confidence, that they turned into a symbol of that war. Rough and powerful – are the two words truly characterizing IL-2. It was an unpretentious aircraft capable of doing its job in a winter frost, summer heat or a brake-up season. Infantry loved it. Soldiers exuberated when it was appearing in the sky rushing toward the enemy. IL-2 by right was deemed the best attack aircraft of the Second World War.|
|S01E08||Attack Aircraft - The Jet Strike||09/01/2011||This aircraft was first shown in 1992 and thereafter it was repeatedly demonstrated at various air shows. The armament arsenal was impressive. High precision missiles and bombs, capable of hitting targets in the air, on the ground and at sea. It is not just an aircraft, it’s a whole combat complex. The striking SU-34 aircraft combines every function of a reconnaissance plane, a bomber and a strike fighter. But the route from inert fighter-bombers of the mid-twenties, to this wonder-weapon of the end of the 21st century was not easy.|
|S01E09||Civil Aircraft - The Air Carriers||09/01/2011||March 1956. Great Britain is getting ready for the visit of Nikita Khrushchev – leader of the country which was by that time practically closed for the West. Right on the eve of this event, TU-104 – the Russian jet air liner landed in London. Three days later two more beauties of the same kind flew in. It was a sensation! The British "Comet" did not fly. The American jet firstlings were still under construction. And there you are – three Russian aircraft at a time! The Queen confessed that every time upon hearing the unusual turbines’ rumble, she got out to the balcony to see the Russian wonder… It all started half a century before the events described above.|
|S01E10||Civil Aircraft - Wings Over Continents||09/01/2011||The end of December 1968 was foul. Low clouds stood over the testing aerodrome of Zhukovsky. Phone calls kept coming from the Ministry: "The aircraft must take off before the New Year!" It was no accident. It was not just another new aircraft. It was supposed to be the debut of the supersonic passenger airliner TU-144… The Anglo-French "Concord" was getting ready for its first flight at the same time… It was important to overrun competitors. Prestige of the Soviet state was at stake. On December 31, the last day of the year, TU-144 took off... It was that aircraft, which entered the history as the first in the world supersonic passenger airliner. Civil aviation was in transition to a new quality level...|
|S01E11||The Ground Effect Systems||09/01/2011||Mankind created a lot of machines.… An airplane having mastered the laws of the air stopped being a miracle. Way before that ships tamed the oceans. But restless minds keep on creating new machines. And there you are – a vessel that can take off from water not really leaving it. What is it? A sailing aircraft, or a flying vessel? What kind of a technical wonder is that, existing at the edge of two environments?|
|S01E12||Amphibians - The Steel Albatross||09/01/2011||Every summer news agencies report of forest fires bursting out in this or that country. Fire brings enormous damage. That’s where fire extinguishing aviation can help. An airplane looks like a tiny bug against environment. Can it really help? Efficiency of the fire extinguishing aircraft becomes the main point. How much fire extinguishing liquid it can take and how quick? An amphibious aircraft has no match in this situation. Gliding over the water surface within seconds it fills up the tanks to drop tons of water on the fire source… Amphibious aircraft today are used mainly at emergency situations. But throughout their history they fought in wars, transported passengers and rescued people.|
|S01E13||Helicopters - The Air Rovers||09/01/2011||A man always wanted to fly. Today we know, how to do it, while before this issue was not as obvious. To make wings like the birds have or to screw into the air – both variants seemed quite natural… The first variant lead to creation of an airplane, while the second – of a helicopter. Prototypes of a helicopter were found in the remote ages. Go Khun – the Chinese scientist of the 4th century and the great Leonardo Da Vinci in the 15th century, both proposed their versions of a helicopter. The genius Mikhail Lomonosov also worked in this sphere. In 1754 he built an "aerodromic machine" – which was nothing else than a small size helicopter. Of course it did not fly, but experiments helped developing ideas, which predetermined all further helicopter construction.|
|S01E14||Helicopters - Soldiers and Workers||09/01/2011||April 26, 1986. Two explosions burst out at the 4th energy block of the Chernobil Atomic Power Station. It was a catastrophe. Scientists proposed to seal the atomic reactor with a protective sand layer. But there was no other way to approach the crashed facility than by air. Such task could be carried out only by helicopters. One after another machines flew toward the energy block to drop sand over the target. Helicopters had to hover right over the epicenter. Temperature was reaching 200 degrees Celsius. Radiation thousand times exceeded all possible norms. Under such dramatic circumstances helicopters and pilots showed their best.|
|S01E15||Training and Sports Aircraft||09/01/2011||A small and light airplane. A topic seemed unworthy of an interesting story. What is there to say? It is not a powerful bomber, nor a fast and streamlined fighter nor a respectable airliner. However, the way to all those real combat aircraft for any pilot always started with a small flying thing. Ask anyone and they will reverently remember their first obedient, faithful, forgiving all mistakes machine… The seeming simplicity of its creation is deceptive. Throughout more than a hundred years history of aviation, thousands of people tried to resolve this problem. But only some machines became a legend.|
|S01E16||Naval Aviation - On the Naval Service||09/01/2011||Naval maneuvers of the 70's. Hundreds of ships, thousands of naval aircraft... Area of operation – seas and oceans Amphibians, performing reconnaissance… Antisubmarine aircraft and helicopters, carrying equipment for searching and destroying submarines... You can see land based missile carriers, capable of destroying an aircraft carrier of a potential enemy... Soon ship based aircraft will be operational.|
|S01E17||Military Transport Aircraft||09/01/2011||Morning, December 25, 1979. Almost three hundred military transport aircraft are lined up at airfields in the Middle Asia. Inside cargo cabins are combat equipment and landing troops. A signal comes in and aircraft groups, one after another, with roaring engines and clouds of dust, start into the air. It all looks more like a great relocation of people. In the next three days the intensive work does not slow down. Continuous engines roar of heavy aircraft hangs over the air fields… That’s how the picture of the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan looked. In the first days of the operation almost 8,000 people, 900 items of equipment and over a thousand tons of cargo were relocated. And this was only 2% of the enormous volume of transportation performed by the Soviet military transport aviation in that war.|
|S01E18||Reconnaissance Planes - The Sky Outwatch||09/01/2011||Curiosity is a natural human feature. First air balloons and then airplanes significantly expanded abilities to have this curiosity satisfied. But very soon, careless curiosity gave way to mercantile interest. In deed, in the time of war flying above, one can have a bird’s view of the entire position and sometimes of the intentions of the enemy.|