Thursday, June 23, 2022

Never Rush To The Conclusions.

I like Sam Chui. He is no BS air traveler and aircraft enthusiast with deservedly huge audience. I am one of his subscribers and love his air travel reporting on all kinds of the aircraft around the world. The SMO, however, did not leave, always out of politics, Sam and he had to make a video about the fate of Russian commercial aviation. It is not only understandable but good that it was made. But, and here is the problem, ever "prescient" (sarcasm on) aircraft journos (yes, people who write about industry but are not real industry professionals) and the opinions of the aviation "specialist" Jon Ostrower are especially remarkable. Just listen:

Ostrower's claims that Russia's aviation was set back by 30 years in one day and especially his quip about maps made me laugh, no, I mean it. This is the expertise one gets when, despite the fact of having a license for piloting of small aircraft one has this as a background. This is his profile from Linkedin. 
So, the guy has a background in... Political Communications, that is to say that he has no education at all, and writing for WSJ or CNN automatically disqualifies him from writing anything Russia related because he would write a BS. He did, not wrote, but spoke but this is how idiotic narratives get spread around the US. Mind you, I, unlike Ostrower, have a graduate engineering degree and for long years ran the laboratory of the Tier-1 subcontractor of Boeing and Bombardier, among others, and, for all intents and purposes, was an insider of the industry and especially its Quality Management requirements and a whole lot of things related to safely flying commercial aircraft, such as Boeing-737-800 among many. In other worlds, my day would start with Boeing and Bombardier manuals and other production documents and will end with knowing every single in and out of both ASTM Vol 15.03 (testing reqs for Aerospace Industry), not to mention the fact that I worked with many former Boeing employees and even former naval aviators. So, allow me to comment now. 

As you all know, I am on record that Western in general, and American in particular, "knowledge" of Russia is practically non-existent and that is true across the whole spectrum of Russia's activities ranging from economy, to military, to education, to science and R&D and Ostrower is an exhibit A of such ignorance, despite his many, namely media, titles. I am not saying that Russia doesn't have problems, she surely does, but Ostrower, obviously, fails, as is it is normal for all kinds of Western "experts", to grasp the nature of problem they try to comment on. 

1. His claim that Russia was set back 30 years in one day in terms of commercial aviation is preposterous and betrays in him a typical Western media hack with zero engineering background. And here is why. 

a) Historic Russia, USSR and modern day Russia was always a powerhouse in civilian aviation. One of the first things young "reformers" were tasked with was a destruction of the remnants of the Soviet commercial aerospace industry and they almost succeeded by the end of 1990s. But not quite. And while the combined West was "celebrating" its commercial success, as always it rushed and we see it today. Ostrower, evidently, has difficulty understanding that the country which completely out of own resources produces in large serial batches state-of-the-art combat aircraft such as SU-35C or SU-57 among many others, and which has a massive designer school in commercial aviation, including its huge contribution to the design of Boeing commercial aircraft such as B-787, among others, will be able to manufacture commercial aircraft on her own. 

b) Unlike it was the case in 2010, today Russia has fully operational and large industry of composite materials and she has not only venerable but still very much good high bypass turbofans such as PS-90A (Russian President doesn't mind flying it), but already has PD-14, which is in serial production. In general, Ostrower should keep himself abreast on Russia's commercial aviation development just by visiting RosTec site and by reading news which preceded Sam's video.    

c) Obviously, the West introduced all possible sanctions but, that is for the better because now both SSJ New and MC-21 become fully russified. But as a stop gap measure (Russians are damn good at it) is precisely where Russia's older but still excellent aircraft come in. 

The impact of international sanctions has raised many questions about how Russia can keep its planes in the air. Boeing and Airbus have both suspended support for aircraft operated by Russian airlines, including halting the provision of new parts, maintenance, and technical support services.  This has prompted Russia to consider reviving domestic aircraft programs, particularly the Tupolev Tu-214 and the Ilyushin Il-96. At the end of March 2022, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov announced that Kazan-based aerospace manufacturer Kazan Aircraft Production Association (KAPO) is expected to produce 10 Tu-214s per year.  Later, on April 1, 2022, Andrei Yelchaninov, a member of the Board of the Military-Industrial Commission of Russia, revealed Russia could set up an additional aircraft manufacturing center in Kazan, the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, to avoid a shortage of spare parts as it continues to feel the effects of international sanctions amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The new facility, which could launch operations in 2023, is expected to produce parts for various types of aircraft but will mainly focus on the supply of spare parts for domestically made planes, such as the Tupolev Tu-214 and the Ilyushin Il-76. 

This was in April, by now (AFAIK) the number was revised to 20 TU-214s a year and this is an excellent plane which uses PS-90As and Russian avionics. The only thing which would be considered "backward" in it is the fact that it still uses a third crew member--an engineer. But I am sure after Boeing-737 Max which is effectively a 60 year old design freak and tends to kill people due to being "designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys", is a small price top pay for safety. How's that "automation" worked out for 350+ dead people, Mr. Ostrower? 

Here is TU-214 flight in 2014 from Irkutsk to Moscow. Passengers love this plane, actually. 

It is very comfortable and is a rough equivalent of the B-757. 

2. The issue of "maps" is altogether risible, since Ostrower, obviously, never heard of both Russia's GLONASS and Russia's map industry being one of the best in the world, ranging from nautical to air charts. Especially now, when Russia aircraft do not fly to Europe or North America. But this simple fact is not known to Ostrower. 

3. Per the park of foreign aircraft which Russia retained due to sanctions, and these are anything from A-320neo and A-321 to B-737-800 and B-777s, as Russia's engineers are on record--there will be very little problem with producing spare parts for them domestically. Again, the nation which produces in aerospace field what Russia produces will have little trouble servicing whatever commercial aircraft. And that brings us to the final point. 

4. For many in the West, including Mr. Ostrower, the concept of the country being self-sufficient in practically anything is absolutely inconceivable since all these media figures, especially of Ostrower's age (and he is a young fellow), are the products of the Western globalist "education" (in reality dumbing down) which excludes completely even the fleeting grasp of the concept of self-sustainability, if not almost autarky. Not surprising for an American "expert" with degree in nothing who grew up in the country where everything ranging from the TV sets and smart phones to washing machines and computers is produced elsewhere, but not the US, such a concept could produce a serious cognitive dissonance. Especially nowadays, when this country "with economy smaller than that of Netherlands" or a "gas station masquerading as a country" is basically crushing the combined West economically and militarily. 

It is a blessing that Russia finally cuts all ties to Western commercial aircraft industry and is fully returning back to its very rich and highly regarded commercial aerospace school of design and manufacturing and being pressed into self-sustainability already shows not only an incredible resilience but a very bright future, not the darkest one. But this is beyond Mr. Ostrower's "expertise", and Sam's excellent tribute to AN-225 Mria should not eclipse the fact that this magnificent airplane is not and never was Ukrainian but a Soviet one. I am sure Russia will restore it and will make a museum out of it. But it is very instructive, how circumstances allowed to revive an excellent plane which was almost removed from wide service due to illusions of Russia-West "cooperation", but now came back, and it is an excellent machine which will complement the fleet of SSJ-100s (and New) and MC-21 in coming years.   

It is take-off time. BTW, beautiful plane.

UPDATE: I noticed there are a few fanboys (suddenly)  of the Luftwaffe's fairy tales (and "statistics"), and, of course, "Top Gun is a documentary" types, materializing on a discussion board who bought most of the BS published in the Western "historiography" about Eastern Front. So, in order to not respond to all those "air warfare" experts, here is Von Hardesty and Grinberg from their, now classic

But in order to be more substantive here are some excerpts:


I will omit here Russian archive sources which (those who want can easily find them in Russian) disclose a colossal scale of the air operations on the Eastern Front, as well as completely discredit German WW II statistics, correctly at that. But that is precisely the "statistics", much of it simply made up by Germans (e.g. verification of kills), which many of Nazi sympathizers love to use, obviously due to their military illiteracy. I am not talking about other revisionist sources which still cannot resign themselves to the fact that Axis was demolished by those Rooskies and it was the main point of WW II. So, in conclusion from Glantz and House seminal work When Titans Clashed:

Pay attention to date--mid-1944. So, my advice for those "experts"--before issuing your opinions, especially based on German "sources", learn the goddamn subject and give a simple cognizance to the fact that for 75 years combined West was rewriting the history of WW II and succeeded at that. Why it is so, read my first book--it explains in detail why. Read my lips: cream of the cream, best of the best, as well as a bulk of Luftwaffe's assets have been wiped out on the Eastern Front by mid-1944. For all air warfare "experts" the answer could be easily found in 1950-1953 in Korea and actions of the 64th Air Corps under the command of three times Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Kozhedub. This is not statistics USAF likes to talk about. I repeat, in other words: learn the subject. Those who it is addressed to know who they are.

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