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Turkestan International Air Show -- Aviation Monthly, October 2008 issue

Manufacturers' representatives, government officials, representatives of airlines and air forces from around the world, together with curious onlookers, gathered in Qızıl-Su, Türkümänistan last month for the eagerly-awaited First Turkestan International Air Show. Almost all of the world's major aircraft manufacturers were represented at the five-day event in the formerly secretive and Snorist nation, together with official representatives from over 60 nations and other entities, from the North American League to the Knights Hospitaller of St. John. The new Greek Imperial Minister of War was prominent among potential aircraft buyers, though by no means the only one, or even the one with the most money to spend.

Several manufacturers had new models or prototype mock-ups to display. Xierva Autogiro displayed their new X-80 model, which is designed to replace the X-66 in service with many police forces around the world. Wessex Aviation introduced the world to their Walrus transport autogiro, and the NAL's Douglas-Martin corporation brought the P-118 Salamander mixed-propulsion flying boat debuted last year at the Japanese Air Show in Hiroxima. Wenedyk-Hindenburg and BOAC had a joint display of the new "Queen Diana" airship recently completed by WenHin and delivered to BOAC, complete with scale cutaway model and mock-up of a typical cabin.

The star of the show, though, by design, was the new jet fighter-bomber from Turkestan's own ÜKÜ company. Kept hidden until midway through the second day of the event, the Turkestani organising committee pulled off a suitably impressive surprise entrance for the new jet, following behind a flyover of several well-known Turkestani planes, from ÜKÜ's own T-1 Bürküt, through Märgän Arms' T-4 Laçın ("Peregrine" ) dive-bomber and ÜKÜ's T-7 Şıkra fighter-bomber, to the eventual culmination of the T-9 Boran, escorted by a group of six T-5 Çagaltaı fighters of the Turkestani national aerobatic display team, the Sunhawks.

The mostly Turkestani crowd cheered wildly as test pilot Talğat Äbidyeşü-ulı Mayor (=Major) brought the jet in for a safe landing on the specially-created airstrip. Even the notoriously hard-to-please Miçubixi representatives looked guardedly impressed.

A T-9 was on permanent, prominent display among the assembled aircraft for the rest of the event, and flight displays of the new jet in such operational roles as dive-bombing, ground attack and air superiority were scheduled every day, several involving competitive flyoffs against other renowned jets from around the world: the Oltenian V-15 Firebolt, the Japanese Miçubixi Taçu fighter, the Dalmatian Vukilak attack jet and the Australasian Ao Whetuma "Vompire" among them.

Preliminary conclusions are that the Boran appears to be a very capable aeroplane. While the Spretu can outpace it and a fully-loaded Miçubixi Taçu carries more weaponry, its long operational range, excellent manoeuverability and tiny target profile are strong selling points.

For much of the third day, the representatives of the RTC and Turkestani governments were sequestered away in closed conference, prompting speculation of all kinds of deals being done between the two administrations. Sorting through the myriad wild rumours, those seeming most plausible to our editorial staff were those of some kind of deal of cut-price Boran fighters for the RTC in exchange for technical assistance with Turkestan's struggling National Air Frigate project, or a plane-for-plane swap of the Boran jet fighter for one of their Rzejpybłiekawya flying boats.

At the time of going to press, the fact that some kind of deal was struck seems almost certain, though the substance of this deal is still unknown.

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