Military Review

Alexander Mladenov on the training system for pilots of the Russian Air Force

After almost twenty years of oblivion, the Russian pilot training system has finally created the basis for stabilization in the short term and improving its effectiveness. This was made possible thanks to the adoption of new types of training aircraft and helicopters, which make it possible to train cadets for flights and combat on the most modern combat aircraft and helicopters, which are being adopted by the Russian Air Force and Army aviation.

Yak-130 combat aircraft of the Russian Air Force (tail number "white 134"), March 2014 of the year (с) Alexander Usanov

The main center for the training of pilots of the Air Force is the Voronezh Military Aviation Engineering Institute (VVAII). Flight training is conducted only in two specialized branches - future pilots, navigators and weapon operators are trained in Krasnodar, and helicopter pilots are trained in Syzran. Both branches cover the demand from the Air Force for new pilots, in addition, training is under way there for other Russian law enforcement agencies - the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Security Service and the Emergencies Ministry. In addition, this structure provides theoretical and practical knowledge for pilots from around the world, from those countries to which Russian-made aircraft are exported, and they are being retrained on Su-24MK and Su-27 aircraft.

In 2011, the three existing training centers came under the management and control of the WSIAm (which, in turn, was subordinate to the Department of Education of the Ministry of Defense) and currently operate as independent branches in Krasnodar and Syzran. In 2013, it was announced that the Russian system of training military pilots would undergo a series of organizational changes. Under the new system, three separate military universities will be reformed to train pilots as independent structures, under the direct supervision of the Air Force headquarters in Balashikha. Universities will be based in Krasnodar, Syzran and Chelyabinsk, responsible for the training of pilots, helicopter pilots and navigators / weapon operators, respectively. In June (2013 of the year) these changes were not yet implemented, and the dates were also not known.

The Krasnodar branch has more than 1000 20 aircraft of various types. Outdated combat aircraft Aero L-39C Albatros are the main type of aircraft that is used for the initial training of most pilots (with the exception of those who are trained on pilots of military transport and bomber aviation), as well as for basic training for all cadets - future pilots fighters, attack aircraft and bombers. L-39C is also used to train almost half of the cadets during the last, so-called, in-depth training phase due to the lack of fighters and strike aircraft. Let L-410UVP twin-engine turboprop aircraft is used for the initial training of pilots of military transport and bomber aviation (also used for training special-purpose pilots, patrol aircraft and tankers), but part of the basic training course and advanced training in this stream 26.

Currently, digital technologies are coming to the field of training jet pilots with the new Yak-130 aircraft. A system like Western models includes a computerized training class, flight training instruments integrated into a single circuit, an integrated flight data recording and decoding system, the ability to upgrade aircraft software and an external computer system of integrated logistics support.

The Krasnodar branch has a huge infrastructure for training pilots, as it got airfields and other facilities of five flight schools closed at 1990 and 2000 in the Armavir, Borisoglebsk, Yeysk, Balashov and Kache, as well as the Chelyabinsk Higher Military Aviation Red Banner School navigators. Objects for the preparation of aircraft pilots for the Russian Air Force today 11 training air bases (the so-called second-class base, each of which has two or three squadrons). In addition, there are four theoretical and simulator training centers in Armavir, Borisoglebsk, Balashov and Chelyabinsk, each of which is responsible for training different specialists.

The three-tier training system used in Russia still has to introduce more efficient working methods, as well as more modern training platforms and software to further improve the training course and sharpen the elements of study in the field of theory, training on simulators, and direct flight practice. This is directly related to the training of pilots of aircraft, which at the initial and basic stages is conducted on very uneconomical aircraft.

Slow improvement

The training system of pilots of the Russian Air Force as a result of the underfunding and chaotic restructuring undertaken by the leadership of the Air Force and reductions in the mid-to-late 1990-s almost collapsed. This was followed by a sharp reduction in the number of annually produced pilots - from 200 to 15 fighter pilots (excluding foreign students), with less than 50 flying hours. The situation slowly began to improve in the second half of 2000's, and by the year of 2007 the raid had increased to 165 hours. The best cadets received the title “pilot of the 3 class” (and this meant that they were already combat-ready, and even before graduating from school with an officer’s rank) during five years of training at the academy and undergoing a course of combat training. By 2012, the Air Force’s requirements for the title of 3-class pilot were tightened. During the 2010-2012 period, the raids actually reached Soviet times, and students from the Armavir and Borisoglebsk Schools graduated 200 hours, undergoing three-level training. In the 2012, the 254 pilot lieutenant aircraft was released from the Krasnodar School, in 2013, this number will be 200 people, but in 2014, it will drop to 30 officers, due to a sharp failure in the number of cadets accepted in 2009.

According to the head of the Krasnodar College, Colonel Yuri Sushkov of August 2012, the curriculum is also laid out, based on an attempt to optimize workload during the course of study. The changes will allow cadets to start flying right after the second course, and this change is planned for 2014 or 2015 years.

The system of military schools

The Russian system of training military pilots and navigators still retains the traditional Soviet approach to training for five years. Its main purpose is to provide cadets with higher education in civil standards, together with extensive general military and flight training, to develop a military spirit. Cadets enter flight schools after graduating from high school or during conscription, usually at the age of 17-22. They pass through rigorous screening, with the goal of selecting candidates with good physical and mental data (which are confirmed by various specialized tests and strict medical examinations), as well as with a good level of general education. Only men are allowed to train for military pilots - there are no plans to recruit women as pilots or navigators.

The first two two years of study in Krasnodar are devoted to the general military and fundamental sciences (such as physics, mathematics, история), and in the third year, future Russian pilots begin to learn the theoretical foundations of flight training. At the same time, the cadets begin to hone their flying skills on two L-39C aircraft simulators installed in the 2009 year. On each of them, the cadet must “fly” 15 hours before being allowed to actually fly.

The first stage of flight training begins in the spring after the end of the third academic course by cadets, and the intensive four-five-month program aimed at teaching basic aircraft control skills lasts until the end of summer. It includes approximately 60 flying hours on L-39C or about 20 hours on L-410, and includes familiarizing yourself with the type, training in general airplane control principles and flying in circles. Initial training at L-39C is conducted at the 192-th training base (UAB) in Tikhoretsk, in the 195-UAB in Kushchevskaya and 213-UAB in Kotelnikovo. The 217-I UAB in Rtishchevo flies the twin-engine L-410UVP-E3.

The first independent flight is usually allowed after 75 landings together with the instructor, or 20-25 flying hours in a circle. Some cadets come to flight schools with a specific flight training received during training at DOSAAF, an auxiliary organization subordinate to the Ministry of Defense. It contains a network of training schools, which operate training piston aircraft Yak-52 and PZL Swidnik, as well as Mi-2U helicopters.

Based on the skills demonstrated during the initial flight training, the subsequent selection selects the most successful cadets for the training course of fighter pilots, bombers and attack aircraft (jet aircraft), and the worst performance cadets are redirected to basic training for piloting long-range and military transport aircraft. aviation on aircraft L-410UVP-E3.

The cadets, who are trained on high-speed aircraft, continue their studies in the fourth year at training centers in Armavir and Borisoglebsk. Fighter cadets take a basic course on L-39C for four to five months, receiving practical training in navigation, aerobatics, flight principles in teams, as well as the use of training weapons. This course takes from 70 to 80 flight hours and is conducted on 200-s of UAB in Armavir and 272-s of UAB in Maykop. Preparation for bomber and strike aviation is conducted in the 209 of the UAB in Borisoglebsk and the 219 of the OHIR in Michurinsk also on the L-39C. After completing the basic training course, the cadets of jet aircraft usually have 140 flying hours, of which 30 has independent flight hours.

Future long-range and military transport aviation pilots receive training at the Balashov training center, the main training is conducted on L-410UVP-E3 (217-I UAB in Rtishchevo) and An-26 (205-I UAB in Balashov) aircraft. The cadets have a touch of 35 hours on L-410 and about 38 hours on An-26.

The third stage of training on two streams of cadets of reactive high-speed aviation consists in passing a higher course of combat training and combat use. It starts at the end of the fifth year of college and is conducted on combat types of aircraft for the most outstanding cadets and on L-39C for all others. During this stage, the main maneuvers and a number of combat aerobatic techniques are perfected. For example, the training plan of fighter pilots includes 12 hours on the simulator, and from 60 to 70 hours of flying time on the MiG-29 and L-39C on the 200 UAB in Armavir. Assault and bomber cadets usually have 60-70 hours or Su-25 (30 hours on a Spark and 30 hours on a single Rook), or again on the L-39C on the 209 OAB in Borisoglebsk . From the beginning of 2013, they also began flying the new Yak-130.

Pilots of long-range and military transport aviation during this course have 50 hours of advanced training on the An-26 at the 205 UAB in Balashov.

The most complex techniques practiced by cadets of the fighter stream are one-on-one air combat, as well as daytime interceptions. The cadets of assault and bomber aviation improve their skills in ground attack and bombardment (Su-25 or L-39C). They also receive the basics of training on intercepting non-speed air targets.

At the end of the flight training course, graduates can be sent to completely different aviation units. For example, in 2010, more than half of the newly-released lieutenants from the course of assault and bomber aircraft (about 50 pilots) were sent to Long-Range Aviation, and then they were retrained to assistants to the commanders of Tu-223 bomber crews.

Outdated workhorse

Reliable and proven aircraft L-39C continues to be the backbone of the initial flight training and will remain in the Air Force until at least 2023 year, and it is very likely in a modernized form with an extended resource. It is equipped with conventional avionics and it can use weapons using the ASP-3NMU-39 gyro-stabilized sight and the FKP-2-2 film photo-camera gun. The maximum bomb load that can be suspended on two underwing pylons is represented by an 250-kg bomb, in addition there can be mounted two 16-barrel 57-mm NAR units or two training 100-kg bombs. The L-39C can also use two P-3C training missiles with a working infrared GOS for training battles and interceptions. The range of overloads is from -4 to + 7 g, and the plane is known for its ability to “forgive” the mistakes of unprepared cadets, the most common of which is a hard landing, but not critical due to a strong chassis. It is believed that the L-39C is not enough to be armed (especially for performing basic maneuvers and advanced training) and has many restrictions on modes and aerobatics. Since the end of the 1980-s, working off the corkscrew was banned due to problems with handling, and another serious drawback of the aircraft is the poor reliability and low characteristics of the ejection seat of the VS1-BRI.

Alexander Mladenov on the training system for pilots of the Russian Air Force

Training aircraft L-39C Russian Air Force (registration number RF-94851), March 2014, (c) Stanislav Bazhenov

The Soviet Air Force received at least 2094 L-39C in 1970 and 1980's, the last deliveries occurred in the 1990 year. By the year of the 1994, the Russian Air Force operated 1200 aircraft, and 18 years later, that number dropped to 700, of which about 200-250 units are in good condition at any time. For example, in December 2012, 209 L-46C was listed as part of the 39 ADB, but only 16 of them were presumably flying.

Since the beginning of the 1990-ies between the Russian Air Force and the Czech manufacturer of these aircraft company Aero Vodochody was not normal contacts. As a result, the fleet of these aircraft was maintained in good condition thanks to the work of two aircraft repair plants of the Russian Ministry of Defense in Krasnodar and Yeisk. Spare parts for flying specimens were mined by “cannibalizing” a significant fleet of their flightless counterparts. It was also established its own production and repair of some particularly important components, parts and consumables. The greatest problems with the L-39C fleet include the outdated BC1-BRI ejection seat, hydraulic system and chassis, which continue to cause a significant number of fixed faults, as well as an electrical and navigation system, and an engine inspection system. Initially, the resource for the L-39C was set at 4500 hours or 30 years, depending on what came first, and the planes flying today have a significant residual resource - about 2000 hours per aircraft.

The absence in the medium term of a suitable heir to the L-39C forced the Russian Air Force to start exploring the possibilities of carrying out affordable aircraft modernization and extending its life, at least for a small number of the existing fleet. The modest modernization developed by the Air Force includes a more powerful engine, AI-25ТЛШ produced by Motor Sich JSC, as well as limited installation of a new flight-navigation equipment. Repairs and upgrades should be carried out by the 570 aircraft repair plant in Yeisk, but there have been no reports of the start of this urgently needed program.

Whatever the final fate of the modernization and extension program, L-39C will continue to serve as an initial and basic training aircraft for some time. The twin-engine Yak-130 turned out to be very expensive for this role, besides it is regarded as a very complex aircraft, with the majority of the Air Forces of the leading countries of the world use turboprop aircraft and / or single-engine jets. The original Yak-130 project, developed as a perfect training system in 1990-s, was designed to solve almost all - if not all - of the tasks that L-39C faced at that time. The Yak-130 has two engines, and its hourly fuel consumption is almost six times higher than that of highly efficient turboprop aircraft, and from 30 to 50% higher than that of single-engine jet aircraft.

When introducing a new training system, the Russian Air Force could not take into account the sharp increase in the cost of training for flight personnel. In addition, they showed no interest in ordering the development of a specialized initial and basic training aircraft, and the appearance of such an aircraft cannot be expected earlier than 2020 of the year.

With the advent of the Yak-130 came the new times

Fundamentally new Yak-130 aircraft began to arrive in the Air Force in 2010, and in 2013, the training of cadets began on it. With its help, Russian cadets studying for high-speed jets receive a learning environment that corresponds to the realities of the 21st century, plunging into a cabin with multifunctional indicators, an indicator on the windshield, and getting an aircraft with high handling characteristics. The aircraft is distinguished by a comfortable cabin environment and possibly the best 0-0 class seats used in training airplanes - K-36ЛТ-3.5 produced by Zvezda NPP. There is nothing surprising that all these long-desired improvements for training pilots, designed to prepare them for controlling fourth and fifth generation aircraft, such as super-maneuverability, a large ratio of engine thrust to aircraft weight, and modern avionics in the cockpit, also lead to an increase in cost. The purchase price and operating costs limit the use of the Yak-130 as part of the Russian Air Force only for conducting in-depth training of pilots. At the same time, the claimed costs during the life cycle are four to six times lower than those of the MiG-29 and Su-25, which are currently used for increased training of pilots in Armavir and Borisoglebsk. And this makes this type of aircraft economically attractive even at its high price. The range of allowable overloads is from -3 to 8 g, the aircraft can withstand overload in 7 g at a speed of 830 km / h. The claimed resource is 10000 flying hours or 30 years.

Yak-130 can apply a large range of unmanaged weapons and air-to-air missiles P-73 with a total weight of three tons from six underwing pylons, which allows it to be used as a training aircraft, light interceptor and attack aircraft. The built-in weapons simulator system allows practicing the use of all modern Russian guided missiles and bombs with infrared, television and laser homing systems, as well as any samples of guns and airborne defense complexes. Its perfect EMF and aerodynamics allows you to have three modes of application, which differ in three sets of characteristics of controllability and stability. The main mode is “medium aircraft”, while the instructor can choose a “heavy” and “light” option to simulate a bomber or a highly maneuverable fighter, respectively, by making appropriate changes in the efforts on the control stick and the behavior of the aircraft in flight. The usual angle of attack, given by the EDSU in the “medium aircraft” mode, is 25 °, for a more advanced “light aircraft” mode it reaches 35 ° with restrictions on entering the spin in order to ensure good handling characteristics. However, this improved mode is still being tested, reported by the commander of 209-th UAB Alexander Grün in December 2012 of the year. According to him, the widely advertised “light” and “heavy” modes still have no tolerances for use in Borisoglebsk.

The first batch of four serial Yak-130 was delivered to the Center for combat use and training of personnel in Lipetsk in February 2010 of the year, and Borisoglebsk new cars arrived at the beginning of the 2011 of the year. The first training flights for retraining instructors 209-th UAB to a new type of aircraft took place in August 2011, and the Yak-130 produced by Irkut Corporation began flying in the middle of November 2012.

From February 2010 to December 2012, the Russian Air Force received the 27 Yak-130 (of which 25 entered the 209 ADB), and another 40 is scheduled for delivery in 2013-2015. There is an option for 10 of such aircraft, but this requires the conclusion of a new contract. The first batch consisted of 12 aircraft manufactured by Sokol NAZ (delivered in 2010-2011, one aircraft was lost in May 2010), the subsequent installments will be part of the contract for 55 aircraft manufactured by Irkut Corporation at the price of 2011 million dollars per unit. 18,16 of them were delivered in December 15 of the year. In March 2012 of the year, it was announced that the Russian Ministry of Defense had started negotiations with Irkut on the purchase of another batch of 2013 Yak-50 totaling $ 130 million (or 767 million dollars per aircraft) ), with delivery times after 15.

The new aircraft complements and gradually replaces the Su-25 and L-39C, which were previously used for increased training of pilots in the 209 UAB, and in 2014, the Yak-130 should go to the training center in Armavir. He will take the place of the MiG-29 and L-39C in the 200 ADB, which were used for the final stage of training of cadets.

The first students of the 209 UAB started training on the new aircraft in the second half of March 2013 - the 25 cadets should fly to the Yak-130 100 hours by the end of August, practicing ground weapons tactics and tactics. Before the flights began, the cadets worked on the control of the aircraft and its systems on the Yak-130 ground simulator installed at the Borisoglebsk training center.
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  1. silberwolf88
    silberwolf88 13 May 2014 08: 10
    I really hope that the training system for the flight crew will be restored and improved.
    It is necessary not only to establish full-fledged training ... with a decent touch on leaving the school ... but also to ensure the subsequent maintenance of flight training ... improving the technique of piloting and combat use of all existing types of aircraft.
    This should be a cycle of continuous training for each (no one can stand aside) pilot throughout his service in the RF Armed Forces.

    Separately improve methods for the development of new types of equipment and weapons.
    1. vladimirZ
      vladimirZ 13 May 2014 11: 52
      Training system for pilots of the Russian Air Force as a result of underfunding and chaotic restructuring and reductions undertaken by the Air Force leadership in the mid-late 1990s, it almost collapsed. Followed by a sharp reduction in the number of pilots released annually - from 200 to 15 fighter pilots (excluding foreign students), with a flying time of less than 50 hours (from the article).

      Someone answered, in fact, for the destruction of the Russian Air Force?
      There is no demand and responsibility for committed official crimes, and this CRIME is the destruction of Russian military aviation.
      Russia's trouble is the lack of demand and responsibility of persons entrusted with important state affairs.

      The twin-engine Yak-130 was very expensive for the role (primary and primary school pilots), in addition, it is regarded as a very complex aircraft, ...
      ... its hourly fuel consumption is almost six times greater than that of high-performance turboprop aircraft, and 30 to 50% higher than that of single-engine jet aircraft.

      With the introduction of a new training system, the Russian Air Force ...
      did not show interest in ordering the development of a specialized aircraft for initial and basic training, and the appearance of such an aircraft cannot be expected before 2020. (from article)

      That's how it turns out now The Russian Air Force does not have an efficient, economical, low-cost single-engine training aircraft.
      And what was earlier, the one who ordered and approved the design task for the training aircraft did not know that for the mass training of pilots, the complex expensive twin-engine training aircraft was not suitable.
      YAK-130, suddenly, it turned out only for in-depth training of pilots in complex combat use.
      And on what to carry out the initial training? L-39C finish off in a few years. And what to do?
      It seems that today in Russia there is no strict Soviet system of dialogue between the Air Force and the aviation industry to develop terms of reference and order aircraft with certain required performance characteristics.
      Whatever you take, this principle should not work in the defense industry system.
  2. yulka2980
    yulka2980 13 May 2014 08: 17
    Thanks for the interesting article! Everything is intelligently painted. hi
  3. Vladimirets
    Vladimirets 13 May 2014 08: 23
    Good, sensible article. +
  4. mig31
    mig31 13 May 2014 08: 41
    Where are my twenty ... hunting again repeat everything .....
  5. San_aa
    San_aa 13 May 2014 08: 57
    It is good that the question of improving the quality of military schools is being raised. We must not forget about the technical side of aviation. The closure of a number of engineering and technical military schools and the acceptance of all under one "wing" of the Voronezh Institute showed all their disadvantages. Flight training specialists were the first to react to this. The number of military engineering universities should also increase, since Russia has the entire spectrum of aviation, from drones to strategists, and this is not the same thing.
  6. mamont5
    mamont5 13 May 2014 08: 58
    It is necessary to train our pilots in order to knock out the NATO Air Force. Without aviation, they can’t do anything at all.
  7. Dedjara
    Dedjara 13 May 2014 09: 06
    We look forward to the appearance of a new aerobatic team on the Yak-130.
  8. Gardamir
    Gardamir 13 May 2014 10: 07
    Then why do not they want to develop civil aviation? Why is the law on the admission of foreign citizens by pilots adopted?
  9. valentina-makanalina
    valentina-makanalina 13 May 2014 10: 19
    The fleet can be increased and equipped with modern aircraft. This problem is solvable. But to prepare high-class pilots in a short time is difficult. Even greater emphasis should be placed on the training of flight personnel than on the production of aircraft.
    1. old man
      old man 13 May 2014 11: 01
      In addition to the pilots, it is necessary to prepare those. composition, and a good engineer is obtained only after many years of work. Otherwise, the planes will begin to fall.
  10. Giant thought
    Giant thought 13 May 2014 10: 24
    Training professionally trained pilots is a very important task, as we prepare now, so they will then fly all their lives. And we need our pilots to be piloted by high-level pilots.
  11. chunga-changa
    chunga-changa 13 May 2014 11: 19
    Well written, everything on the shelves. The role of the Yak-130 is clearly disclosed.
  12. asar
    asar 13 May 2014 12: 29
    Plus to the author! Finally, the Air Force "got"! Regarding the Yak-130 I watched the program on the "Polygon"! Aviators praise him! But how things are in reality - I will not say, I have been on airplanes only as a passenger!
  13. PRN
    PRN 13 May 2014 13: 08
    At the expense of training pilots and supplying new equipment, everything is fine (since Voronezh branches, but essentially separate schools, are engaged in the preparation of the flight crew). At the expense of preparing the engineering staff - not everything is so smooth. Having made Voronezh the blacksmith of personnel for the Air Force, the leadership represented by the Commanders-in-Chief (both current and previous) went to the defeat of Zhukovka, where they trained competent personnel for our aviation for more than 90 years. And now they cannot put graduates of Voronezh into operation for half a year !!!!
  14. major_26
    major_26 13 May 2014 14: 35
    Go back 20 years - would become a pilot.
  15. asr55
    asr55 27 June 2019 14: 39
    You do not have the correct information on the Yak-130. The Yak-130 aircraft is capable of training military pilots in different flight modes and using weapons, which are typical for fourth and even fifth generation aircraft. We are talking about Russian and foreign aircraft Su-30, MiG-29, F-16, Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, as well as F-22, F-35. That is, in fact, the training capabilities of our aircraft cover almost the entire sector of modern combat aviation. Of course, you will still have to “feel” the real fighter anyway, but in the opinion of the aviation specialists, the Yak-130 allows it to get the basics of its control. The aircraft is equipped with the latest combat simulation systems, and, if necessary, the Yak-130 is capable of fulfilling the tasks of an attack aircraft and destroying individual ground and low-speed air targets. In addition, the machine is unpretentious in terms of climatic conditions of operation and is able to take off and land on unpaved airfields. An integrated digital control system in cooperation with the crew (two people - a pilot instructor and a student) and on-board equipment provides manual and automatic piloting of the aircraft. In addition, the “intelligence” of the machine was enhanced by other high-tech equipment - the BINS-SP-1 laser strapdown inertial navigation system, which is designed for spatial orientation, determining the location of an aircraft, and complex processing and issuance of navigation and flight information. Thanks to the electronics, the aircraft instantly responds to pilot commands. If the trained pilot does not cope with the control, and the instructor in the cockpit for some reason has lost its legal capacity, the Yak-130 can be put on a radio signal from the ground. The aerodynamic design of the Yak-130 is a twin-engine mid-wing with wing influx, air intakes placed under them, with a three-post chassis. Layout features, a highly mechanized wing and an all-turning stabilizer allow the machine to perform maneuvers at large angles of attack.
    So, flying at angles of attack of up to 40 degrees with a speed change of 200 to 800 km / h - these modes, according to experts, are now inaccessible to any other training aircraft.
    In May 2012, Peter Collins, a well-known pilot and journalist from the world aviation press, flew to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant (a branch of the Irkut Corporation), his Siberian voyage connected with a flight on a new generation Yak-130 combat training aircraft.
    After completing his career as a military pilot and test pilot, Collins specializes in evaluating a wide variety of aircraft around the world. Its output is articles published in the reputable British magazine Flight International. Collins' opinion is listened to in wide aviation circles. His positive assessment of the aircraft in an article published on the eve of the 2012 Farnborough air show will undoubtedly play a role in promoting the Yak-130 to the foreign market.
    By reference, his opinion about the aircraft.