DALLAS – Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Oleg Bocharov, believes that pilots should train to become mechanics and learn how to maintain their own aircraft.
“Together with the Ministry of Transport, we should prepare and certify pilots as universal soldiers: they should be pilots and mechanics at the same time, and the equipment should include the possibility of field repairs,” Bocharov stated during a session at the Eastern Economic Forum.
Bocharov mostly discussed rural aviation, but his comments were generally taken as referring to all of Russian aviation, which drew harsh criticism from numerous news organizations.
The official also disclosed that the ministries are developing a brand-new mechanism to keep various sorts of regional aircraft in airworthiness condition. Some airplanes, in Bocharov’s opinion, ought to be modular so that the pilots can swap out components and rearrange the cabin as needed.
According to Bocharov, a system like this would be largely used on the Baikal, a future single-engine turboprop that is designed to replace the Antonov An-2.
However, there are countless instances of Russian companies having trouble maintaining their planes and laying off sizable numbers of employees as a result of financial issues.
After sanctions were placed on the Russian aerospace industry as a result of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, problems started to arise. There have been stories of Russian pilots receiving instructions to “be careful” with other difficult-to-replace equipment and to use the brakes of an aircraft less to conserve the brake pads.
Major Russian airlines were also reportedly already cannibalizing aircraft to keep at least some of their fleet flying, according to numerous sources. In May 2022, modifications to Russian aviation law were implemented to let businesses utilize non-certified parts.
Furthermore, when the nation’s aviation business started to tank, numerous major airlines laid off or fired a sizable portion of their workforce.
Featured image: This is one of SU’s A330-300 aircraft. Photo: Davide Calabresi/Airways