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Moscow - Vnukovo (VKO)

Vnukovo is perhaps the most interesting of Moscow's airports. Most flights to European Russia and the former Soviet CIS countries in Europe operate from here, and things can get pretty busy at times. Vnukovo is also home to the huge Russian government fleet, and a major rework facility for Tu-154s (unfortunately neither of these areas are likely to be accessible to the average enthusiast, although both can be seen to some extent). There are also a large number of stored/wfu aircraft of all types dotted around the airfield, some of which may fly again but many probably won't. All-in-all, an essential stop on any Moscow visit.

I don't know what the facilities are like or what kind of reception you'd get if trying to take photos or spot on your own, but I don't imagine it would be particularly good. However, with the coming of 'glasnost', Russia has opened up a great deal, and there are now plenty of enthusiast tours visiting Russia, especially during the time of the Moscow Airshow every odd-numbered year (see the Links page for more details of these). These all allow full ramp access and permission for photography (for a small fee), and are by far the best way to visit. All notes and photos included below are taken from/based on what you will get on one of these tours, rather than an independent visit.
Since you can get airside on these tours, there are any number of places where you could, theoretically (but obviously dependant on where your hosts will actually let you go), take pictures from. This page is therefore divided into the different areas of the airport (with the pictures taken from various places), rather than the different areas that you could be.

a) The main apron in front of the terminal is obviously the busiest area of the airport. All the commercial flights park here out on the tarmac with passengers being bussed out to the aircraft, there being no airbridges whatsoever at Vnukovo. This is obviously good for photography, and the overall layout means that wherever you are most movements should be viewable.

UR-42343 RA-85828 RA-42421 RA-65904 RA-65613
Crimea Air Yak-42
Daghestan Airlines Tu-154
Kuban Airlines Yak-42
Rossiya Tu-134
Karat Tu-134

b) Vnukovo is home to a fairly large number of bizjets (mostly Yak-40s, with a few Western-built types as well), and the ramp area to the right of the terminal seems to be where most of these aircraft live, with a smaller private facility and hangar over to the left of the main ramp.

UR-88310 RA-87669 RA-87373 RA-87243 RA-87807
Interpipe Group Yak-40
Volga-Dnepr Yak-40
FBME Yak-40
Rossiya/Evrazia Yak-40

c) Most of the stored aircraft seem to be parked in a line along the far edge of the main apron, facing the terminal.

RA-64008 CCCP-86005 OK-JBI RA-86018 RA-85633
ex-Aeroflot Il-86
IDG Technology Airlines Il-62
Aeroflot Il-86
Vnukovo Airlines Tu-154

d) Around to the right of the terminal (and probably not visible unless airside) there seems to be some sort of an engineering facility/storage area, with quite a number of Tu-154s and Il-86s in residence. Some of these were obviously undergoing work, but others were almost certainly permanently wfu, and probably used only for spares. This is not the Tu-154 rework facility, however, which is situated at the far end of the government ramp, well away from the terminal and only really visible from the top of the control tower.

RA-85084 RA-85611 RA-85299 RA-86007 Storage Area
General view of
storage area

e) The top of the control tower gives fantastic views out over the entire airport, but is not for those who suffer from vertigo or are otherwise of a nervous disposition - quite how safe it actually is is questionable!
Click here to see a composite panoramic view of Vnukovo as seen from the top of the control tower.

RA-85284 RA-86109 UR-65757 ER-65707 4L-AAD
Perm Airlines Tu-154
Sibir Il-86
Air Ukraine Tu-134
Air Moldova Tu-134

Wrecks and Relics

Aeroflot Tu-104
Last visited 22 August 1999 Top of page


Click on the icons below to see maps relating to Vnukovo airport. Note that these are all external links to other sites, and will open in a new window.

Area Map  
General map of the Vnukovo area

Courtesy of:
Maps by Expedia.com Travel

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Gear Up
Interesting enthusiast's site on photography at Moscow airports, marred somewhat by a rather confusing design (hyperlinks all over the place without any real logic to the layout). Some general airport and transport info for Vnukovo, together with what promises to be very detailed photo spot details (currently under development). Also a good selection of photos from all the various Moscow airports, a recognition guide to Russian-built aircraft, and the author's interesting views on planespotting (sure to rile some people out there!).

TYP: Moscow Maps
Intended for the general visitor rather than the aviation enthusiast, but this site does include good terminal plans for Vnukovo (and the other Moscow airports), as well as many other maps of the Moscow area. Lots of other possibly useful Moscow information elsewhere in the site, too.

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