Dangerous anility of "Cheburashka": L-410 aircraft continues to fall, but there are no others and will not be

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Dangerous anility of "Cheburashka": L-410 aircraft continues to fall, but there are no others and will not be
Dangerous anility of "Cheburashka": L-410 aircraft continues to fall, but there are no others and will not be
12 October, 10:39Photo: https://www.tatar-inform.ru/
The catastrophe with the dead paratroopers in Tatarstan is the third this year with the participation of the L-410 aircraft. Against this background, the government's plans to develop small aircraft in the regions and increase transport accessibility in remote areas of the country do not look very reliable.

Victoria Pavlova

This time, several factors fatally coincided at once: shortly after takeoff, when the plane had not yet gained altitude and speed, one of the engines failed, the plane was overloaded - there were 22 people in it instead of 19, there were obstacles at the emergency landing site - a log warehouse and concrete fence, not an open field. All this led to the death of 16 people.

One could blame everything on an unfortunate combination of circumstances, but in the last few months alone, there have been 3 accidents in Russia with the participation of L-410 aircraft. On September 12, 2021, L-410 made a hard landing near the village of Kazachinskoye in the Irkutsk region and completely collapsed. 4 people were killed, 12 were injured. On June 19, 2021, near the village of Zhuravlevo, Kemerovo Region, an L-410 crashed due to engine failure. 4 people were killed, 12 were injured. And, by the way, in that case, just like in Tatarstan, the plane belonged to DOSAAF and transported paratroopers. The statistics are depressing: by 2019, only 38 aircraft of this model were operated in Russia.

In general, the L-410, which began carrying passengers 50 years ago, does not look like a safe enough aircraft. For the entire time, 1207 aircraft were produced, of which 133 were lost in various flight accidents, in which 495 people died. According to the independent aviation expert Vadim Lukashevich, this is a completely unacceptable level of security for modern aviation:

- You have to understand that the plane was created in Czechoslovakia - a country that at that time did not shine with any serious aviation traditions and schools. This all happened a long time ago. And the safety requirements were different from what they are today. For example, if you take our first jet plane TU-104 and look at the statistics, then every tenth plane there was simply lost along with the passengers. And at that time it was quite acceptable. Which is completely unacceptable today.

Non-compliance with safety standards is a reason for criticism of the aircraft itself. Surely a lot of negativity will pour out on him in the near future. Moreover, in the foreseeable future, it will continue to remain an uncontested basis for the development of transport accessibility in the Far East and the Far North. But the reasons for dangerous flights go much deeper. The L-410 itself, according to Lukashevich, is quite suitable for its tasks. Taking into account age, of course:

- L- 410 - it was a very good aircraft, this is a small aircraft, an intermediate version between the AN-2 and AN-24 maize. Such an intermediate model, which at that moment met all the requirements. It does not need special aerodromes, it is used between settlements at a distance of up to 1000 km. The removal of paratroopers is a normal story, a normal plane. But now the car is both morally and technically old - the plane that crashed was produced in the 80s, when Czechoslovakia itself still existed. In addition, the Mechanic says that this plane arrived to them in some kind of disassembled state. How they assembled it is a big question. Then it turns out that the pilots complained about engine problems...

The technique was good, but everything comes to an end. Not the safest designs should be replaced by more modern and perfect ones. For this we have the whole United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which is part of Sergey Chemezov's Rostec, which practically monopolized the aviation industry. Moreover, projects of small regional aircraft have appeared more than once. They have been trying to replace the same An-2 since 1993. At first glance, the possibilities are colossal: the Superjet has been made, the MS-21 is being prepared for serial production, and even a fighter of almost the fifth generation, the Su-57, has been made. Is it really hard to make a simple small passenger plane? Vadim Lukashevich claims that this is an almost impossible task for the domestic aviation industry:

- We cannot create a replacement now. We have had alternative projects in development many times. There was, for example, the Gzhel plane, now at MAKS another plane, Baikal, was presented, there was a project to modernize the An-2 with a new engine - AN-3 ... But it turns out that now such an aircraft cannot be replaced ... There is an interesting incident in aviation: the smaller the plane, the more difficult it is to make it good. Because there are a lot of requirements for weight design and everything else. So there is no normal adequate replacement: this plane should be unpretentious like a Zaporozhets, should fly quietly from the smallest, unadapted, unpaved airfields, not equipped with any special complex systems, be practically all-weather, should be economical and cheap if we we are talking about the application in the regions. The combination of these qualities cannot be realized. And at the moment, this L- 410 turned out to be the most acceptable and convenient. In general, we have problems with regional aviation. If we are talking about replacing the AN-24, AN-26 - here we have made a beautiful IL-112 B , the first prototype of which crashed beautifully in front of everyone. It would seem that the new plane is also a problem with the engine. And the same engine is installed on the "new" passenger Il-114.

The L-410 is the future of Russian local aviation. There are no options. Moreover, it began to be produced in Russia at the facilities of the Ural Civil Aviation Plant - one of the few private aviation enterprises. But there is still enough government money. The assembly production was established in 2016 within the Ural special economic zone "Titanium Valley" with corresponding tax incentives. Investments amounted to 1 billion rubles, two thirds of which were financed by the state. And the first customer was the State Transport Leasing Company (STLK), which received 1 billion rubles from the federal budget for the purchase of five L-410 assembled domestically. In 2018, UZGA produced 5 aircraft with a localization rate of 35%, and all of them went to STLK. In 2010, UZGA received another contract from GTLK for 10 aircraft for 2 billion rubles.

Only with an increase in the degree of localization has not yet worked out. Yes, UZGA switched to domestic radio and navigation equipment, skis and floats were developed for the aircraft for landing on snow and water, respectively. But with the transition to domestic VK-800 engines, the process was clearly delayed. They talked about them in 2017, when the plant was just under construction, in 2019 Denis Manturov announced his readiness to transfer L-410 to them. And in July 2021, Evgeny Sergeev , director of the Aircraft division of the UZGA, announced that the plant plans to replace Czech engines with domestic ones. Again plans... In general, Vadim Lukashevich is very skeptical about import substitution and localization:

- I am very careful about all statements that we are getting something domestic and we will replace everything. In general, import substitution is such a big snag. Take, for example, MS-21: the first 50 aircraft fly with American engines, and then PD-14 should fly - our engine, which is installed on the MS-21, and it is also the basis for a line of engines of different thrust, up to very large ones. Literally a month ago, a message passed unnoticed that import duties on engines for MS-21 had been canceled. We present pompously and say that we have solved the problem with the engines, and we ourselves are quietly removing duties on American engines. The same is true when we say that domestic avionics will appear on the L- 410, I would be very careful about this. There are problems with the element base, with semiconductors, microcircuits, and in general with electronics in general. We cannot produce our own smartphone, computer, washing machine, even a normal one ... How can we say that a country with such a level of electronics will have good avionics? When you start digging, it often turns out that there are Chinese derivatives with re-glued nameplates.

Aviation is a globalized human activity. There are 3-4 companies in the world that make avionics, the same number - engines. And this technique is used by all the planes of the world. Therefore, we can try to do something of our own, but I am absolutely convinced that we will not be able to make avionics of the same class as is done in the best samples. The same goes for engines. We are now talking about the fact that we have the latest version of the TU-160 - this is a unique engine, but let's start to figure it out: firstly, this is still the Soviet groundwork, and secondly, we have a problem not only in avionics, but also in the machine tool park. Equipment for production is imported. Therefore, even if we make some kind of our own engine, we say about PD-14 that this is our Russian engine, we just hide the imported component at a stage earlier. It's like electronics for Roskosmos - they buy it in China, at the border they redraw it to the conditional Dandelion LLC, put it on rockets and say that this is our domestic electronics. Yes, we have organizations that produce domestic avionics, God forbid, that this is enough for the original L- 410, but I am somehow very careful about this.

It turns out the following situation: UZGA assembles an outdated aircraft model, pulls on localization, in the future it is going to expand the production line by assembling a Czech aircraft not of the first freshness L-610 for 40 passengers, but at the same time receives state money. By the way, the UZGA is also preparing a replacement for the An-2 maize workers. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has already spent 1.2 billion rubles on the Baikal project (the flight prototype was supposed to be ready in 2014), and in the future the state plans to purchase 300 Baikals for 36 billion rubles. In July 2021, Mikhail Mishustin visited the enterprise and promised further support through development institutions.

Why is money flowing like a river at UZGA? This is a question for the state. But there are some surprising coincidences worth noting. The Minister of Industry Denis Manturov was at first the deputy of the current owner of UZGA Viktor Grigoriyev at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. Then, when Manturov headed Oboronprom, Grigoriev became his deputy. And the Czech company Aircraft Industries (formerly Let - developer and manufacturer of L-410) belongs to the Urals businessman - the head of the UMMC Iskander Makhmudov.

So the money ends up in whoever's hands, and people in small towns and villages can only dream of affordable and safe aviation, such as in distant Alaska, where it can easily replace cars, the railroad, and dog teams.

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