"Are you sure to be able to take off with the closed air intakes?": Yakovlev Yak-130 anti-FOD system disorientates Farnborough Tower

During a media briefing held at Farnborough, Irkut‘s vice-president Konstantin Popovich recounted a funny episode that had occurred during the Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainer first flight at the Airshow 2012.

The Russian aircraft is equipped with shields that close the air intakes for FOD (Foreign Object Damage) prevention. The system is intented to enable the Irkut-built Yak-130 to operate from unpaved/unprepared runways.

“You can not taxi because the air intakes are closed” Farnborough ATC controllers told the Yak-130 aircrew. Even after explaining that the engine-shields were a normal feature of the plane, the Tower asked if they were sure to be able to take off with the closed intakes.

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David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.