We have already slightly mentioned the Buran in the first part of our MAKS posts, but today we decided to devote the whole article to it.
“What a shame!”, “How could they possibly exhibit this junk?” say people who saw the right (hidden from the visitors) side of the Buran. Let’s try to find out the real reasons of such a failure.
The Buran was transported to the city of Zhukovsky only several weeks before the beginning of MAKS. It was pretty clear that such a short period of time wouldn’t be enough for its full restoration and nobody expected it to be exhibited until at least 2013. So, you can imagine everybody’s surprise when this “work of art” appeared at the show…
The photo above proves that, besides the assembly (the attachment of wing panels, keel and landing gear to the fuselage), the whole process of “restoration” was nothing more than poor painting. The paint was applied over the scraps and fragments of heat shielding. The absence of major structural components and assembly units was ignored completely!
This is how the cockpit of the Buran looked in 2000. You see that the windows are shut with protective covers.
And this is year 2011. No glazing at all! The glass is not broken – there are simply NO window units.
During the transportation, there still was a hint of hope that the windows had been specially taken off for their better preservation and later would be installed back. But nothing of the sort! They were simply painted with gray paint over the protective covers.
As it was explained later, the window units were “lost” as a result of long-term “storage”. However, the journalists picked a more appropriate term – long-term “decay”.
The result of such “restoration” is quite deplorable. 1 – the windows in 2011, 2 – before the flight in 1988, 3 – after the flight in 1988.
1 – the absence of a fuselage nose cone before transportation, June 26, 2011. 2 – the painted slot of the missing nose cone, August 13, 2011. 3 – after the flight in 1988. When comparing the last pic with the two first ones, any comments are needless. Only the blind won’t see the difference.
1 - piled in a heap wing panels were in such a position for a very long time. 2 – the left wing panel. August 13, 2011. 3 – before the flight in 1988.