The formation of Russia as aviation powers began a hundred years ago under the slogan of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich: “The air fleet of Russia should be stronger than the air fleet our neighbors. This must be remembered to everyone who cherishes the security of our country. ” These words have gained particular relevance today.
At the dawn of aviation, when in the sky of France bravely chimed the shelves of Newpora and Farman, Russia flew from St. Petersburg to Kiev and back on the world's first four-engine airships of the Russian genius Igor Sikorsky. In the sky of the First World War, the first in the world aviation squadron of heavy bombers "Ilya Muromets" bravely fought in the battle force of the Imperial Russian air fleet. After the revolution, the Workers 'and Peasants' Red (formerly Imperial) Air Fleet continued to solve state tasks during peaceful days. Back in 1922, the same Moscow-Kharkov air line, the first in Soviet Russia, was opened on the same “Muromtsy”. And although in the years of post-war devastation some figures considered aircraft factories to be lipstick factories, already in 1933, Stalin declared to the whole world: “We did not have an aviation industry. We have it now! ”
Soviet aviation conquered the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route, helped to master the riches of Siberia and the Far East, rescued Chelyuskinites and laid the shortest route from Moscow via the North Pole to America. These ambitious tasks were successfully solved in the absence of market relations in the country, moreover, on airplanes and engines of own production. By the way, the aviation personnel were also trained in domestic educational institutions - remember the famous slogan “Let's give the country 150 thousands of pilots!”. And it was given. In addition, German pilots were then trained in the Lipetsk Center for both the civilian Lufthansa airline company and for the future Luftwaffe.
Even then we acquired aircraft engines, combat aircraft and civil aircraft abroad, but in single copies, mainly for study and testing. And licenses were purchased for the mass domestic production of aircraft and engines. At the same time, we did not need to have any Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC). Such a policy in relation to aviation allowed the Air Force to re-equip the modern combat vehicles, and civil aviation - to the legendary Li-2 airships.
The civil air fleet made a significant contribution to the cause of victory over German fascism. The aviation divisions of the Civil Air Fleet delivered food to besieged Leningrad, took the wounded and children to the Great Land, were engaged in supplying the army and partisan movement, drove combat aircraft to the front from factories, and built and operated a unique air route Alaska - Siberia.
In August, the polar aviation pilots bombed Berlin 1941, the People's Commissar Molotov was driven from Moscow to America in 1942, and Stalin was sent to Tehran in 1943. The pilots of the Civil Air Fleet rescued them in the mountains and brought the Yugoslav government led to Marshal Tito to us, and in May 1945 brought the Victory Banner from Berlin to Moscow. By the way, during the war years, instead of today's sanctions, the capitalists supplied us with 18 thousands of combat aircraft from abroad, and this accounted for 20 percent of the entire fleet produced by the aircraft industry of the USSR in four years of war.
And in the peaceful years of another, already cold war, former front-line pilots mastered turboprop technology, switched to jet thrust and overcame supersonic. There was not a single national economic task in the country in which civil aviation would not actively participate. It should be noted that in those years it served not the market, but the state and the people. The price of the ticket did not exceed the fare in the compartment car, and when half a century ago, in 1964, the country's civil aviation carried 40 to millions of passengers, the Head Department of the Civil Air Fleet was transformed into the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Soon the Soviet "Aeroflot" became the largest airline in the world. This happened also because the state policy in the field of aviation was then determined not by the officials of the department imperiously squeezed inside the Ministry of Transport of Russia, but by such slabs-statesmen as the aviation marshals Zhigarev, Zhavoronkov, Loginov, Bugayev and Volkov. But the main thing is that civil aviation as a dual-use industry has become an integral part of the country's national security in the military sphere.
Own goal game
In the 90s, with the change of the social system in the USSR, the Ministry of Civil Aviation was abolished. The rapid privatization of the industry began, and the civil aviation management system changed nine times in favor of market interests. Aircraft of domestic production were taken out of service, duty-free importation for foreign air liners opened. Advanced managers who came to power in the airlines drove out thousands of first-class pilots to the streets and left without work. Today, there are only 17 thousands of pilots in Russian civil aviation, of which eight thousand are aircraft commanders, instead of 70 thousands in the USSR. And this national elite, and if you want - the nation’s gene pool of marketers, again deprives of their jobs with impunity. Officials are trying to reduce the number and reduce funding for aviation universities, and managers - on the contrary, complain of personnel shortages in the sky.
In 2014, they, regardless of public objections, successfully lobbied the law on hiring several hundred foreign citizens as pilots of Russian airlines. And if in the domestic sport for the sake of business they are buying foreign players and coaches with might and main, then aviation is not football at all. This is a dual-use industry. It is essentially designed to serve the state. And in peaceful days, and in the years of testing.
In connection with the above, I, as the chairman of the public council at Rosaviation, have questions.
The first. Will those 500 aircraft captains, who can now be hired from abroad by law, go to defend the sky of Russia from enemies? Of course not! They will flee abroad at the first opportunity, and even on a plane with passengers - citizens of Russia.
But those hundreds of pilots who were recently dismissed from the UTair and Transaero companies will go into battle for the Motherland! Only they need to prepare for this, as it was in our country before. Civilian pilots trained on jet aircraft of the Air Force, and military pilots learned to fly in Aeroflot. For example, in the aviation regiment of long-range aviation on Tu-16 bombers there were 35 crews and in the flight squadron of the Civil Air Fleet on a Tu-104 jet liner there were also 35. During military service, I knew all the commanders of the Aeroflot ships, who would come into service on the second day of the war.
And now we have 900 leasing (read - alien) aircraft and 8000 first-class captains. Where will these (as if becoming superfluous) 7000 pilots - with a rifle and into the militia go to a special period? It will be too late to teach them to fly Air Force combat aircraft during the war.
Second question. It is known that the lion's share - 90 percent of air traffic in our country is carried out on foreign-made aircraft, and only nine percent of the population use air transport (due to the high price of tickets). Often businessmen fly abroad, and inside the country - fans to major sporting events and vacationers, officials and security officials to the Crimea.
Four headed paralytic
So who do we give the sky to Russia? People, state or market?
Let's deal with this and start with the main thing - with the management.
Since the Ministry of Civil Aviation was abolished in 1991, the system has been changed several times by the Russian air force. Currently, management is blurry between the four structures:
1. The Ministry of Transport represented by the Department for the Definition of State Policy in the Field of Civil Aviation.
3. Interstate Aviation Committee.
4. Federal Air Transport Agency.
You will not find in any of these structures those responsible for the airworthiness of aircraft, for the safety of flights, for the creation or reduction of workplaces and for the fate of dismissed people.
For example, the crisis of the largest Russian airline Transaero is rated as “soft landing”. The reasons are not investigated, the relevant conclusions are not made. Approximately 650 thousand tickets worth about 10 billion rubles were sold on Transaero flights, but the second-largest airline in Russia completes the bankruptcy procedure. And at the 2015 investment forum in Sochi, only one civil servant casually mentioned that on the “Superjet” it would be necessary to change foreign components to domestic ones.
With the introduction of the US and the European Union sanctions against Russia, it became obvious that relying on foreign-made aircraft and pilots from abroad is a strategic mistake. The Department of the Ministry of Transport, which determines the policy in the industry, ignores public opinion and recommendations of members of the Experience Club, the Expert Council and the Public Council under the Federal Air Transport Agency, and trade unions when preparing laws, orders and other documents. The Public Council at the Ministry of Transport does not even have representatives from the aviation public structures.
At the same time, department officials, among whom not a single professional pilot, voluntarily abolished the class qualifications of pilots, replaced the pilot certificates with disposable books, allowed pilots to control heavy aircraft not by take-off mass, but by the number of people on board. The Department prepared laws that abolish the airworthiness control of aircraft, and any personnel without appropriate licenses could be allowed to work in aerial work.
Rostransnadzor, with all due respect to the high general intelligence of its leaders, in its functional purpose does not comply with ICAO standards.
In civil aviation in Russia, an acceptable level of flight safety has not yet been determined; no high level official has been appointed to this end.
In its activities, the IAC tactlessly combines the certification of aircraft and facilities (airfields) with the investigation of aviation accidents, which in principle contradicts the common sense and the provisions of the Chicago Convention. For example, the IAC certified the Vnukovo airfield and it is also investigating the Falcon’s crash there. The IAC is not responsible to anyone or for anything (after all, it’s also international), but it is funded from the Russian treasury.
Now, about the Federal Air Transport Agency. The heads of departments and the head of Rosaviation have a higher specialized education, have an adequate level of professional training and decent work experience in their industry, which cannot be said about any of the officials who are appointed by the Ministry of Transport according to the state to determine the state policy of Russia. At the same time, the agency cannot fully realize its capabilities, since its activities are imperiously squeezed inside the fragmented control system of civil aviation in Russia.
In connection with the above, I would consider it expedient:
1. To recreate on the basis of the Federal Air Transport Agency a single civil aviation administration department (as required by ICAO documents) - Ministry of Civil Aviation.
2. As a fallback to give the Federal Air Transport Agency the lost functions of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. At the same time, to transfer to him from the above structures all the rights, powers, and full responsibility for the further fate of the domestic civil air fleet.
In conclusion, let me recall the words of the president of the Imperial All-Russian Aeroclub, Baron I. Stenbock-Fermor: “In any case, one thing is certain. To avoid enslavement, if not directly military, then in any case economic and cultural, in order to preserve its independence and remain a great power, Russia needs an air fleet ”(magazine“ Aeronaut ”, No. 3 for 1909 year).
Civil aviation is ultimately bound to achieve the same high marks from the Russian president as he delivered to the Russian Air Force after a route flight on the Tu-160 strategic rocket carrier: “Clearly. Coordinated. Handsomely. Thank. Putin. "