Russia’s newest narrow-body passenger jet MC-21has demonstrated solid performance during its public debut at the MAKS-2019 air salon, while military aircraft like the Su-57 stunned the visitors with breathtaking aerial stunts.

The Irkut MC-21 hit the skies before the general public on Tuesday. The Russian-made passenger jet, whose makers hope it could emerge as a potential competitor to Boeing’s ill-fated 737 MAX, was outfitted with a full passenger cab. It swept up into the sky right after taking off from the Zhukovsky Moscow regional airport and performed some quick turns while still at a relatively low altitude.

During the five-minute demonstration flight, the airliner reached the altitude of 1 kilometer while flying at the speed of 400 kph, the Irkut Company said. The aircraft had successfully gone through several test flights without incident. It is expected to complete certification tests by 2020.

Another highlight of the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS) 2019 was Russia’s cutting-edge fifth-generation fighter jet, the Su-57. The twin-engine multirole jet, designed by the Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi, was developed for air superiority and attack operations

At the air show, a group of four Su-57s flew in a tight diamond formation just meters away from each other, while performing maneuvers with unparalleled synchronism. A single Su-57 then stole the limelight of the show by doing some incredible stunts like the Pugachev’s Cobra maneuver, or flat spin – a feat very few modern military aircraft can repeat.

Another Russia’s top notch multipurpose fighter jet, the MiG-35, also showed off moves that seemingly defied physics, as it soared up while performing aileron rolls, only to later do a loop and enter a controlled spin. The multi-role fighter aircraft, set to replace the older generation MiG-29 warplanes, can track up to 30 airborne targets at a distance of up to 160km (100 miles) as well as hit six aerial and four ground targets at once.

Russia’s tried-and-true Ka-52 Alligator helicopter also had something to show to the visitors of the air salon. The attack helicopter, similar to those used by the Russian troops in Syria since 2016, demonstrated its phenomenal maneuverability by performing rapid turnabouts and simulated target runs as well as rotating on its axis.

This year’s MAKS is scheduled to run until September 1. More than 800 companies from all corners of the world are taking part in the air salon, where more than 200 aircraft are exhibited. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the air show together with the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on its opening day.


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