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MAKS History----The pre-history of MAKS

International aviation and space shows in our country that have been held regularly once in two years for the last 14 years have a long historical roots coming deep into the beginning of the previous century.

The idea of demonstration of the advances of the aviation technique appeared simultaneously with the foundation of the aviation. Since the end of the XIX century the attempts to build a flying machine had been held all over the world: in Russia (A.F. Mozhaysky), France, Germany, USA and other countries. But only in 1903 brothers Uilbor and Orvel Wright (USA) succeeded in constructing of the airplane, on which O.Wright successfully made his first flight on the 17-th of December. This aircraft of the 340 kg weight had an internal combustion engine of only 12 hp. The distance of the first flight was only 36,5m, but this 12-second flight was only the first step. During the same famous day brothers made two more flights and for the first time in history held a real piloted flight on the airplane with the engine. They covered 259,7m in 59 seconds.

By the 1905 Wright brothers reached such a success that they became famous all over the world. After the first information about Wright’s achievements numerous enthusiastic inventors all over the world trebled their efforts. In 1909 Lui Blerio, the French aviator made a flight over the La-Mansh channel on the aircraft of his own construction. He flew 32 kilometers in 27 minutes.

In commemoration of this achievement the first aviation exposition was held in September of 1909 in Paris. It was accommodated in the halls of The Elisian Palace. 380 French exponents exhibited their latest achievements in the fields of aviation and aerounautics: balloons, aircrafts and engines. Since that time Paris is known as an initiator of the practice of establishing of the aviation exhibitions. Soon similar exhibitions appeared in other countries. In 1924 the Paris exhibition became international.

First aviation exhibition in Russia, named “Aviation Week” was held in 1910 since the 25 April till the 2 of May. The first Russian aeronautics festival was opened on the 11-th of September of 1910. This festival was a vivid demonstration of the of the growing power of Russian aviation. On the 23 of September the outstanding Russian pilot captain L.M.Matskevitch made a flight on “FORMAN” with the prime-minister of Russia P.A.Stolypin. In the April of 1911 in the Mykhailovsky Arena in Saint-Petersburg the first international aeronautics exhibition was held. It was organized by the Russian Imperor Technical Union and lasted for two weeks. That exhibition was very well-organized and included 12 subdivisions:

Gliders, aeroplans
Airmobiles and airbuses
Engines for aircrafts and cars
Materials for the construction of aircrafts
Gas-production machinery
Range-finders, optical devices
Meterological balloons
Wireless telegraphs
Among the other full-size models visitors could see Lui Blerio’s monoplane, Lui Brege’s biplane, and Robert Esko-Peltri airplane. Great attention was payed to the Brege’s biplane, that set a payload, speed and gliding records. The exposition of the Russian-Baltian carriage plant was one of the greatest. It’s ‘Sea-type’ monoplane had an opportunity of the on-water landing. Among the other lots of their exposition the “Sommer” system balloons and exhibits of the “Russian Aeronautics” trading house were shown.

In the next 1912 year the second international aeronautics exhibition took place in Moscow in the military manege. In was held by the Moscow aeronautics union, the establishment of which was initiated by N.E. Zhukovsky. The exhibition did not differ from the previous one in the aspect of content, but the number of participants increased.

The First World War slowed down the activity in the field of the international exhibitions, but at the same time it pointed out the barest necessity of the aviation techniques of different purpose. With the development of the aviation industry in 1920-th the geography of the exhibitions widened greatly. Besides Paris, exhibitions were held in Berlin, Prague, and then in Sent-Luise, Chicago, Farnborough, Brussel and Milano. Exhibitions differed in content and also were unequal in representation, but they all were united by the strong will to demonstate the latest achievements in the field of the aviation science.

Gradually, the military aviation forced out all other types of the aviation on the international exhibitions. So, on all the Paris airshows before the 16-th exhibition civil aviation prevailed, on the 16-th show there was the equal number of civil and military aircrafts (24), and on the next exhibitions military aviation began to prevail. It’s necessary to mention that the 15th Paris aviashow that was held in 1936 was one of the most popular and leading in attendance. On weekdays from 10 to 20 thousand people visited this show daily and on days off this number reached 40 thousand.

The Berlin’s aviation exhibition in September 1928 was the first in which our country’s representatives took part. Three large expositional buildings of more than 5000 sq.m. of total area were filled with the exhibits of different kind. About 800 companies from more than 30 countries showed their achievements. Later USSR took part in many other exhibitions – in Paris, Prague, Milano etc. In the latest 30-es of the previous century a famous ANT-25 aircraft on which Chkalov’s team made a flight to America through the north pole was exhibited on the Paris airshow. The experience gained while taking part in the foreign shows became very useful to improve the organization of the exhibition of the similar type in our country.

It was decided to commemorate the All-Union Aviation Day that was held for the first time in USSR in 1933 (on the 18th of August) with the establishment of the first aviation exhibition on the territory Gorkij’s Central Park in Moscow. The exhibition was organized very quickly. Not everything was successfully done on the first step, but the exhibition became very popular. The next year another large exhibition of the soviet aviation and aeronautics was held in Moscow. In occupied three large buildings of about 600 sq.m. of total area. The exhibition was widely advertised and it contributed to it’s success. Among the other exhibits the original airplane “Stalj-3” and a model of the K.E.Tsiolkovsky’s balloon were shown. The exhibition lasted for 2,5 month. More than 250 thousand people visited it.

In 1937 the aviation exhibition was opened in the S.M.Kirov’s Central Park in Leningrad. Several exhibits were transported from Moscow and also the exhibition got some full-scale models from the Paris airshow. That times in USSR the significance of exhibiting of the achievements of the aviation industry was high. The regular aviation shows in Moscow on the Tushino airdrome were established. They were often visited by  I.V.Stalin, the General Secretary of the Central Committeee of the Comunist Party. All this activity contributed to the attraction of the young people to the aviation.

The Second World War temporary broke off the demonstration of the achievements of aviation science and technology. In France the Le-Bourge airport was destroyed.

In 1957 our country officially took part in the aviation salon in Le-Bourge. The first-born of our native passenger jet-aviation – the Tu-104 aircraft was shown to the whole world.

Since that time USSR became a competent participant of the Paris international exhibitions. The aircrafts were shown not only on the static display, but also in flight. The demonstrational flights of the world’s best airplanes impressed the visitors greatly.

The popularity of aviation in our country was that time high and aviation parades on the Red Square and aviation festivals in the honor of the Day of the Soviet Aviation in Tushino attracted many people. The “secretness” of the soviet system gave a special coloring to such shows. Military attaché of foreign countries waited impatiently for the “Union’s novelties” and seldom they were mistaken in their expectations. In the Moscow sky they could see such airplanes as 3M, M-4 and others. Later, especially since the end of the 60-es of the XX century, more and more perfect aviation exhibitions were held.

In July 1967 a grandiose air parade of the airplanes and helicopter was held in Domodedovo in the honor of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution.

The exhibition of the civil aircraft that was held at the Vnukovo airport in May 1971 became a convincing demonstration of achievements of the Soviet aviation industry and fleet.

The novelties of that time such as Tu-144, Tu-154, Il-76, Il-62M, Tu-134A, Jak-40, B-12 helicopter and others were shown.. On the 17th of May of 1971 the exhibition was visited by the leaders of the country L.I. Brezhnev, A.I.Kosygin and others. They gave a high appreciation of the aviation industry’s activity. Since 1985 till 1989 the exhibitions of the soviet aviation were held at the central airdrome of Moscow. Airplane and helicopter companies were widely represented by the modern aircrafts. These exhibitions, especially in 1989, were of great interest for the people of our country and foreign representatives.

In 1988 the event that undoubtedly influenced on the acceleration of the accepting the idea of the expediency of carrying out the aviation salons in our country happened.

USSR for the first time sent a military aircraft to the Farnborough exhibition that was at that time stigmatized by our press as a “Death trade fair”. The “Air Transport” newspaper wrote of the “blown bomb effect” that was caused by the appearance of the newest front-line fighter MiG-29 in the Albion’s sky. It was piloted by the test-pilots Anatoliy Kvochur (it was he who successfully catapulted in the accident in Le-Bourge the next year) and Roman Taskaev. The 4-minute demonstration flight program with the most complicated figures (especially ‘the bell”) made a deep impression not only over the prim Britain public bat also on the aviation experts from all over the world. The point is that the regular attendance of the american fighters such as F-16 in the international shows gave them a halo of the most perfect in the world. But the appearance of our MiG-29 destroyed the myth about the unachievable characteristics of F-16.

In 1990 the international aviation and space exhibition “Aerospace-90” was held in Moscow at the Central Exhibition Complex. Nearly all the leading aviation corporations from such countries as USA, FRG, England, Holland and others took part in it. The exhibition showed the authority of our aviation industry in the World and the desire of the foreign corporations to collaborate with our companies.

In that years many aviation-and-sport festivals were held not only in Moscow, but also in many other cities of our country: in Saint-Petersburg, Kiev, Minsk, Samara, Novosibirsk etc.

However it’s necessary to tell about the events in this field that took part in the town of Zhukovsky, Moscow region.

For the citizens of Zhukovsky – the town of the aviation science – The Day of the Air Fleet of the USSR that was held in the second part of August was in fact the town’s festival. The aviation shows of the town’s scale were held on this day since the 1986. The demonstration flights of the test-pilots that showed not only their skills but also the best newest models of aircrafts of that time were held over the beach of the Moscow river. In the town park or in front of the TsAgGI building the exposition of the aviation achievements took place. Some of the exhibits from these expositions were also shown at the international salons in other countries. The “round-table” discussions were held with the attendance of the representatives of the Ministry of Aviation Industry, the chief designers of the leading companies and representatives of mass media were held in context of the celebration of the Air Fleet Day in Zhukovsky. Among the other questions in particular the question of the necessity of establishing of the international aviation exhibitions in USSR was hotly discussed.

The experience that was gained during the organizing of the aviation parades and exhibitions in Moscow and Zhukovsky, the study of the foreign experience of helding of the international aviation-and-space salons in the middle of the 1991gave the opportunity to proceed  to the solution of the question of the organizing of the first full-scale international aviation-and-space salon in our country.

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