AirPods Max – Technical Specifications
- Apple-designed dynamic driver
- Active Noise Cancellation
- Transparency mode
- Personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking1
- Adaptive EQ
- Optical sensor (each ear cup)
- Position sensor (each ear cup)
- Case-detect sensor (each ear cup)
- Accelerometer (each ear cup)
- Gyroscope (left ear cup)
- Eight microphones for Active Noise Cancellation
- Three microphones for voice pickup (two shared with Active Noise Cancellation and one additional microphone)
Apple h2 headphone chip (each ear cup)
- Turn for volume control
- Press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call
- Press twice to skip forward
- Press three times to skip back
- Press and hold for Siri
- Press to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode
- Say “Hey Siri” to do things like play a song, make a call, or get directions
3.28 inches (83.4 mm)
7.37 inches (187.3 mm)
- Weight: 13.6 ounces (384.8 grams)
- Weight: 4.74 ounces (134.5 grams)
- Up to 20 hours of listening time on a single charge with Active Noise Cancellation or Transparency mode enabled3
- Up to 20 hours of movie playback on a single charge with Spatial Audio on4
- Up to 20 hours of talk time on a single charge5
- 5 minutes of charge time provides around 1.5 hours of listening time6
- Storage in the Smart Case preserves battery charge in ultra-low-power state
- Charging via Lightning connector
Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
- AirPods Max
- Smart Case
- Lightning to USB-C Cable
Accessibility features help people with disabilities get the most out of their new AirPods Max.
- Live Listen audio
- Headphone levels
- Headphone Accommodations
- iPhone and iPod touch models with the latest version of iOS
- iPad models with the latest version of iPadOS
- Apple Watch models with the latest version of watchOS
- Mac models with the latest version of macOS
- Apple TV models with the latest version of tvOS
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 79
- iPhone 7 Plus9
- iPhone 6s9
- iPhone 6s Plus9
- iPhone SE (3rd generation)
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPhone SE (1st generation)9
- Apple Watch Ultra
- Apple Watch Series 8
- Apple Watch Series 7
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch SE (1st generation)
- Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Apple Watch Series 2
- Apple Watch Series 1
- Apple TV 4K
- Apple TV HD9
- iPad Pro 12. 9-inch (5th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)9
- iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch9
- iPad (9th generation)
- iPad (8th generation)
- iPad (7th generation)
- iPad (6th generation)
- iPad (5th generation)
- iPad Air (5th generation)
- iPad Air (4th generation)
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- iPad Air 29
- iPad mini (6th generation)
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- iPad mini 49
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015–2017)
- MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2012–Early 2015)
- MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2012–2017)
- MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018–2020)
- MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
- MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012–Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012–Mid 2015)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012–2020)
- MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012–2019)
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, two ports)
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, four ports)
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022)
- MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)
- MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)
- MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
- iMac (21. 5-inch, Late 2012–2017)
- iMac (27-inch, Late 2012–Late 2013)
- iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, Late 2015–2019)
- iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014–2020)
- iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021)
- iMac Pro (2017)
- Mac mini (Late 2012–Late 2018)
- Mac mini (M1, 2020)
- Mac Studio (2022)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013–2019)
- iPod touch (7th generation)
AirPods Max are designed with the following features to reduce environmental impact:
- Brominated flame retardant–free
Spatial audio unavailable
Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode unavailable
Sweat and water resistance unavailable
Lightning Charging Case
Personalized Spatial Audio
with dynamic head tracking
Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode unavailable
Lightning Charging Case or
MagSafe Charging Case
Personalized Spatial Audio
with dynamic head tracking
MagSafe Charging Case
with speaker and
Personalized Spatial Audio
with dynamic head tracking
Sweat and water resistance unavailable
Compare all AirPods models
Should You Buy? Everything We Know
Should You Buy AirPods Max?
Introduced in December 2020, the AirPods Max have now been in Apple’s product lineup for three years, but the company does not release new AirPods models on a regular basis. Apple has only debuted one generation of the AirPods Max headphones so far, which makes it difficult to speculate on an upgrade cycle timeline, but there could be a new model in 2024 or 2025.
Given that there have not yet been any concrete signs of new AirPods Max headphones or distinct rumors around what an upgraded model could feature, now is still an okay time to buy AirPods Max depending on your circumstances.
With a $549 price tag, AirPods Max are much more expensive than its direct competitors. For example, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which both offer a similar feature set to the AirPods Max, cost $349 and $379 respectively.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the h2 chips inside the AirPods Max offer a seamless and fully integrated pairing and device-switching experience for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV users, which competitors have been unable to match. This means that when used with Apple devices, AirPods Max seem to be the best option for over-ear headphones when it comes to its feature set.
If you feel that AirPods Max are too expensive or you simply do not need over-ear headphones, but you would still like Apple’s seamless pairing and device-switching experience, standard AirPods or Beats headphones are also a viable option, with prices starting from as little as $69 for Beats Flex. Similarly, some of the AirPods Max features, such as Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode, are available with the AirPods Pro for $249, and there are also the Beats Studio Pro over-ear headphones for $349.
- AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Max Buyer’s Guide
To get MacRumors readers the best prices on the AirPods Max, we have a dedicated AirPods Max deals guide that highlights the best sales each month.
AirPods Max Overview
- Should You Buy AirPods Max?
- AirPods Max Overview
- How to Buy
- First Impression
- Digital Crown and Button
- Smart Case
- Apple Music Lossless Audio
- Active Noise Cancellation
- Transparency Mode
- Adaptive EQ
- Pairing, Switching, and Sharing
Apple in December 2020 surprised us with the AirPods Max, the long-rumored high-end over-ear headphones that had been in development for at least two years.
AirPods Max are the first Apple-branded over-ear headphones that Apple has designed. There have been similar over-ear headphones sold under the Beats brand, but the AirPods Max join the AirPods and AirPods Pro as an Apple audio accessory.
The AirPods Max feature oval-shaped ear cups with a U-shaped, inverted knit mesh headband and knit mesh ear cushions. The design of the headband allows it to evenly distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure, plus it has adjustable arms to fit a range of head sizes.
Ear cups attach to the headband through what Apple calls a “revolutionary mechanism” meant to balance and distribute pressure, and each ear cushion has been designed with acoustically engineered memory foam to create a seal for immersive sound.
Ear cushions attach to ear cups magnetically and are interchangeable, with Apple selling ear cushions on a standalone basis. AirPods Max come in five colors: silver, space gray, blue, pink, and green, all with matching ear cups.
At the top of one of the AirPods Max ear cups, there’s an Apple Watch-inspired Digital Crown that provides precise volume controls and gestures for playing/pausing audio, skipping tracks, answering/ending phone calls, and activating Siri.
To provide excellent sound quality, the AirPods Max are equipped with a 40mm Apple-designed dynamic driver. Apple says the AirPods Max deliver deep bass, accurate mid-ranges, and crisp, clean high-frequency extensions. With a dual neodymium ring magnet motor, AirPods Max maintain a harmonic distortion of less than 1 percent across the audible range, even at max volume.
Like the AirPods, the AirPods Max are equipped with two Apple h2 chips that provide high quality sound thanks to the 10 cores that power computational audio capabilities.
AirPods Max feature Active Noise Cancellation technology and the same Transparency mode, Adaptive EQ, and spatial audio features that were in the original AirPods Pro.
Active Noise Cancellation works through three outward-facing microphones on each ear cup that detect environmental noise, along with a microphone inside each ear cup to monitor the sound reaching the listener’s ear. Apple’s software adapts the noise cancellation to the environment in real-time.
Transparency mode allows outside sounds to still be heard even with ANC turned on, while Adaptive EQ adjusts the sound to the fit and seal of the ear cushions by measuring the sound signal and adjusting it in real-time. Spatial audio uses dynamic head tracking to place sounds anywhere in space for an immersive, theater-like experience.
All of the devices in the AirPods family feature automatic device swapping on any device where the user is signed into their iCloud account, along with quick pairing, Siri access, and audio sharing. AirPods Max have optical sensors to detect when they’re on a user’s head.
When put on, AirPods Max can play audio, and when removed, the action pauses the AirPods audio. The aforementioned microphones allow for clear phone calls and ensure that Siri hears user commands even when music is playing.
AirPods Max have a battery that lasts for up to 20 hours for listening to music, talking on the phone, or watching movies with Active Noise Cancellation enabled and the volume set to 50 percent. For charging, Apple provides a Smart Case made out of a soft material that puts AirPods Max in an ultralow-power state to preserve battery charge when not in use. AirPods Max charge using Lightning, and a five-minute charge provides 1.5 hours of listening time.
Apple sells AirPods Max for $549, and at least iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, macOS Big Sur 11.1, watchOS 7.2, and tvOS 14.3 are required to use the headphones.
Apple regularly updates the software that runs on the AirPods. The current firmware is version 5E135, released in May 2023.
Note: See an error in this roundup or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.
How to Buy
AirPods Max can be purchased from the online Apple Store or third-party retailers like Amazon.
From late January 2021, Apple began selling AirPods Max ear cushions on a standalone basis, providing a way for people to get replacement cushions. The AirPods Max ear cushions are priced at $69 and come in red, green, sky blue, black, and silver.
- How to Get Replacement AirPods Max Ear Cushions and Change Them Out
AppleCare+ is available for AirPods Max for $59, with the coverage including two incidents of accidental damage every two months, subject to a $29 service fee. Out-of-warranty battery service is priced at $79.
Hands-on first impressions of the AirPods Max were published ahead of the release of the new headphones, and for the most part, initial thoughts from members of the media were positive. Sound was described as “crisp and bright” with little distortion even at max volume, and the AirPods Max are “more than good enough to compete with other high-end headphones.”
Some reviewers found the AirPods Max to offer superior noise cancellation compared to other headphones with ANC, including the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM4.
Most reviewers pointed out the weight, as the AirPods Max are heavier than most other headphone options. The mesh headband is said to reduce some of the pressure, but they might feel large on people with small heads. The ear cups, though, have good airflow and didn’t feel sweaty or hot.
Additional hands-on opinions on the AirPods Max can be found in our full review roundup and we also have first impressions from actual Apple customers.
Apple designed the AirPods Max with oval-shaped brushed aluminum ear cups attached to a retro-style U-shaped curved “canopy” with telescoping arms for size adjustment purposes. There are mesh ear cups that Apple says are made from an acoustic fabric that better conducts sound.
The headband curves upward and is made from a breathable knit mesh material between a stainless steel frame that Apple says distributes the weight of the headphones across the head to make them more comfortable. The frame is covered by a soft-touch material.
The AirPods Max headband can be removed with a standard SIM card ejector tool, which suggests that interchangeable headbands could be possible in the future, and it also facilitates easy headband repairs. At the current time, Apple does not sell headbands. There’s also a small Lightning-like connector inside that allows the headband to connect each ear cup together.
Apple says that the AirPods Max design allows for an “uncompromising fit” that creates an “optimal acoustic seal” for many head shapes. Each ear cup rotates independently on the frame to balance pressure, and the mesh material and memory foam internals of the ear cushions are meant to offer pillow-like softness.
Apple sells AirPods Max in five colors: silver, space gray, sky blue, pink, and green. Color-wise, the shades that Apple chose are similar to those used for the 2020 iPad Air, and each color has a matching color for the ear cushions and the headband.
The AirPods Max ear cushions attach to the ear cups magnetically, and they are interchangeable. Apple sells standalone ear cushions for $69 per pair, allowing for different color mixes.
AirPods Max are significantly heavier than many noise cancelling headphone sets from other manufacturers, weighing in at 13.6 ounces or 384.8 grams. Comparatively, Sony’s WH-1000MX4 headphones weigh 8.96 ounces and the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II weigh 10.93 ounces.
AirPods Max are not waterproof or water-resistant, and Apple warns customers not to get moisture in any of the openings.
Digital Crown and Button
Like the Apple Watch, the AirPods Max have a Digital Crown to provide physical controls. The Digital Crown can be used to turn the volume up or down, skip between tracks, answer phone calls, and activate Siri through both rotating and pressing gestures.
The button next to the Digital Crown allows Active Noise Cancellation to be controlled, switching between ANC and Transparency mode.
Turning the Digital Crown controls volume, pressing once answers a call or plays/pauses a song, pressing twice skips forward one track, pressing three times skips back one track, and pressing and holding activates Siri.
AirPods Max have an LED light on the bottom of the right ear cup, which can be used to determine charge level when pressing the power button while the AirPods Max are charging. At above 95 percent, the light is green, at below 95 percent charge, it’s amber. Pressing the button on the AirPods Max when the headphones are not charging shows a green light if there’s more than 15 percent battery life remaining, while it shows an amber light if there’s less than 15 percent charge.
Apple ships AirPods Max with a soft Smart Case that wraps around the ear cups but that does not provide protection for the headband. The case is designed to put the AirPods Max into an ultra low power state that preserves battery life, utilizing magnets.
The default case is not particularly protective, but third-party manufacturers have started coming out with AirPods Max cases that are more traditional and offer more protection.
The AirPods Max pair high-fidelity audio with Active Noise Cancellation for what Apple describes as an “unparalleled listening experience.”
There’s a custom-built driver inside the AirPods Max that produces ultra-low distortion sound across the audible range. Apple promises rich bass, accurate mids, and crisp, clean highs, even at the highest volumes.
The driver is equipped with a dual-neodymium ring magnet motor that’s modeled after the drivers in high-end floor-standing speakers. The magnet motor is designed to minimize total harmonic distortion, which is how the AirPods Max deliver the clearest possible sound.
In June 2021, Apple added Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos to Apple Music, allowing AirPods Max owners to listen to specially designed Spatial Audio tracks.
Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos is designed to provide an immersive, multi-dimensional audio experience that allows artists to mix music in a way that makes it sound like the notes are coming from all around you.
Spatial audio applies directional audio filters and subtly adjusts the frequencies that each ear receives to place sounds virtually anywhere in space for an immersive listening experience. The feature uses sensors in the AirPods Max along with sensors in the iPhone or iPad to track the motion of a person’s head as well as the position of their device, comparing the motion data and remapping the sound field so that it stays anchored to the device even as the head moves.
Apple Music automatically plays Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an h2 or W1 chip, as will the built-in speakers of the newest iPhones, iPads, and Macs, plus the HomePod.
Record labels adds new Dolby Atmos tracks to Apple Music on a regular basis, and Apple offers a curated selection of Dolby Atmos playlists. There are already thousands of Spatial Audio songs available across a wide range of genres.
Spatial Audio also works with the Apple TV app and third-party apps, providing a movie theater listening experience on the AirPods Max.
- All the Apps That Support Spatial Audio
Apple Music Lossless Audio
There’s also a new lossless audio feature for Apple Music, but this is not compatible with the AirPods Max or any Bluetooth headphones.
h2 Chip Features
There are two Apple-designed h2 chips in the AirPods Max, and this is the same chip that Apple used in prior products like the first-generation AirPods Pro. Apple added one h2 chip to each ear cup, and the 10 audio cores provide computational audio capabilities that provide all of the magic Apple’s headphones are known for.
Apple’s computational audio enhances Active Noise Cancellation, allows for Transparency mode, enables hands-free Hey Siri functionality, allows for quick paring and devices switching, adapts sound to the fit of the headphones on the head, and more.
Active Noise Cancellation
As with the AirPods Pro and some Beats headphones, the AirPods Max feature Active Noise Cancellation capabilities. There are a total of six outward-facing microphones to detect noise in the environment, and two inward-facing microphones that measure what the wearer hears.
Combined with Apple’s software, the microphones allow the AirPods Max to determine and mitigate the outside noise level while fine-tuning the audio that’s playing.
These microphones power Active Noise Cancellation. Two of these microphones and one additional microphone also make sure Siri can be heard for voice commands even with music playing and that voice calls are clear even when it’s windy.
Transparency mode can be activated for users who are worried about Active Noise Cancellation drowning out the sounds in the environment, which is useful when it’s important to hear what’s going on.
Transparency mode turns down the Active Noise Cancellation so AirPods Max owners can listen for traffic, hear flight announcements, and more, without having to turn off their audio. On AirPods Max, Transparency mode can be activated by pressing on the noise control button that’s at the top of the headphones.
With iOS 16.1, Apple added Adaptive Transparency to the AirPods Max – a feature that was initially exclusive to the first-generation AirPods Pro. Adaptive Transparency is designed to allow the AirPods to block out loud sounds, such loud speakers at a concert, sirens, construction work, without blocking out all noise.
Adaptive EQ provides better sound quality by tuning the music that’s playing to the individual fit and seal of the headphones on the head. The inward-facing microphones in the AirPods Max measure what you hear and then adjust the frequencies of the music for a rich, consistent experience.
AirPods Max support always-on Hey Siri functionality so to change the music you’re listening to or to ask Siri a question, Siri activates with the “Hey Siri” wake phrase.
Pairing, Switching, and Sharing
Like other AirPods, AirPods Max connect automatically to other Apple devices with one-tap setup and pairing capabilities. Connecting AirPods Max to an iPhone or iPad, for example, is as simple as holding the headphones near the device and then tapping the Connect button.
There are also quick device swapping capabilities that let users quickly and easily switch use AirPods Max on any device they’re signed into with their Apple ID.
Automatic device switching lets the AirPods Max automatically switch between iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch as the devices are used, with no need to access Bluetooth controls to swap devices.
Audio on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV can be shared with two sets of AirPods, and this feature also applies to the AirPods Max.
Sensors in the AirPods Max allow them to determine when they’re on the head, so when the headphones are removed, audio pauses, and when placed back on the head, audio resumes. Pausing the music can also be done by lifting up an ear cup.
Each ear cup includes an optical sensor, position sensor, case detection sensor, and an accelerometer. There’s also a gyroscope in the left ear cup.
There is no U1 Ultra Wideband chip in the AirPods Max, even though this chip was included in the iPhone 12, iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch Series 7, and the HomePod mini. The U1 chip offers better spatial awareness than Bluetooth, precisely calculating the time that it takes for radio waves to pass between two devices.
The AirPods Max battery lasts for up to 20 hours of listening to music, watching movies, or talking on the phone with both Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled. Apple’s testing was conducted with the volume at 50 percent.
The headphones charge with a Lightning cable, and a five-minute charge provides 1.5 hours of listening time. It takes approximately two hours for the AirPods Max to charge to full. The AirPods Max has no power button, with Apple instead relying on different power modes to preserve battery life.
When AirPods Max are removed but not placed into a Smart Case, they go into a “low power mode” after five minutes. When untouched, they remain in this state for 72 hours. After the 72 hour period, the headphones enter into an “ultra” low power mode that disables Bluetooth and Find My location to further retain charge.
When the AirPods Max are put into the Smart Case when not in use, they go into low power mode immediately to preserve battery. After 18 hours in the Smart Case, the AirPods Max go into the ultra low power mode that turns off Bluetooth and Find My Location. This means that the AirPods Max go into the same “low power mode” in and out of the case, and the case is not strictly necessary for power saving for those who prefer not to use it.
AirPods Max can be tracked in the Find My app, and with iOS 15, can be located using Apple’s Find My Network.
This integration lets the AirPods Max be located even when they’re out of Bluetooth range by pinging the Apple devices of people located near them, so you can locate a lost set of AirPods much further away.
AirPods Max How Tos
Software and Device Requirements
Using the AirPods Max to their fullest capabilities requires macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later.
AirPods Max are compatible with the iPhone 6s and original iPhone SE and later, the iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 2 and later, Apple Watch Series 1 models and later, and the Apple TV 4K.
As for the Mac, the AirPods Max work with machines dating back to 2012, and the AirPods Max also pair with any device that supports Bluetooth 5.0, though most features require an Apple device.
What’s Next for AirPods Max
There were originally rumors that the AirPods Max would be available in two varieties, with a high-end option and a lower-end, more affordable sport option, but that didn’t happen, so it’s something we might see in the future.
Apple is also said to have removed several features from the AirPods Max due to production issues and development challenges. Early rumors also indicated the headphones would feature interchangeable headbands, touch pads for controls, and no specific left and right orientation, but these features did not make it into the final product.
It’s possible that a future version of the AirPods Max will include the functionality that was left out of the first launch version, but all we know so far is that additional color options are in the works. AirPods Max will likely adopt features that have come to the AirPods Pro 2, such as a USB-C port, Conversation Boost, Bluetooth 5.3, a new U1 chip, and the newer h3 chip. The h3 chip would enable 2x improved Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency Mode for cutting down on loud environmental noise, and improved sound quality.
According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, there are no major changes planned for the AirPods line in 2023, which could mean the AirPods Max will not be refreshed until 2024. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that new AirPods Max will launch in the second half of 2024 at the earliest.
- Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2
left for outsourcing)))) At any military airfield there are 3 canteens. 1st for pilots, 2nd for techies, 3rd for soldiers. Didn’t you go to the soldier’s?
So what? There are no more trousers. Longing, huh?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
| 0 Still, neither the IL-76 nor the IL-78 are now massively changing engines to the PS-90. For the Il-76MDM (modernization of combatant Il-76MD, with PS-90), so far only plans have been announced openly.
And in the parking lot there were not Russian Knights, most likely, but Lipetsk Su-27 / Su-30.
It was just necessary to hang signs (or put up one big billboard): “The signs are being painted. Please don’t worry.” Or make temporary – on the printer.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)solikama
I somehow planned a sabotage in Diaghilevo on the maps)))
There is another airfield, where helicopters are based (were based), I forgot the name, we jumped from helicopters and descended on ropes.
Good and complete reporting!
It is the Lipetsk aircraft that are based in Diaghilev, the Russian Knights are now actively flying with the Swifts in Kubinka 🙂
In the row of museum photos, the fan hangs from the hatch. Isn’t that the emergency fan that spins the generator in case of engine failure? Nothing else comes to mind. Although the drive to the generator is not visible. If only in one block. What is this?
Or do you think that the generator is a half-fuselage colossus? 😉 But in general, there is mainly a hydraulic pump – electric drives are only on the Dreamliner, hydraulics still steer. 😉
Edited at 2012-08-08 14:08 (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread) (Expand)
Gorgeous reportage, it was exactly like that. I still managed to get invitations to Zhukovsky in the evening, so I didn’t write a report.
Nice to meet you.
Where can I see a photo cell with long lenses?
VM-T is the most interesting specimen, it’s not clear how it didn’t cling with its ass when taking off.
“Stalin route”. From the Chkalov Airfield to Chkalov Island
A scarlet-painted winged machine took off into the sky in the early morning of July 20, 1936 from a military airfield in the town of Shchelkovo near Moscow. Pilots leaving for a long and risky flight were escorted by a mass of people. As Georgy Baidukov, one of the three aviators who were then in the cockpit of the scarlet plane, later recalled: “Among the mourners were everyone except relatives and friends. This was demanded by the doctors, the headquarters of the flight, and the crew agreed with this …”
© Alexander Belyakov/TASS
The planned flight was too risky for that era – on a single-engine aircraft without a single landing from Moscow along the polar coasts of Russia to Kamchatka and then across the Sea of Okhotsk to the shores of the Amur. The risk was high. There was also a high probability that the plane that left the airfield in Shchelkovo would never be seen again.
“Why risk it unnecessarily?..”
The scarlet car, overloaded with fuel and everything necessary for such a long flight, climbed heavily, as Baidukov recalled, “… meter by meter, we pass below Shchelkov’s smoking factory chimneys.”
Pilots – there were three of them – crew commander Valery Chkalov, co-pilot Georgy Baidukov and navigator Alexander Belyakov took risks deliberately, preparing to set a world record for non-stop flight distance in the most difficult climatic and geographical conditions of the Far North. The aviation of that era, rapidly developing, actually gave rise to a “race of records”, in which all countries that had their own aviation industry voluntarily and involuntarily participated. But the flight, which began on July 20, 1936, was conceived not only for the sake of a record – its main, although never voiced, goal was the security of the country. The security of our Far Eastern borders.
Experienced aviators Chkalov and Baidukov, who conceived a non-stop flight, originally intended to fly across the North Pole to America. A year earlier, another crew with the participation of Georgy Baidukov had already tried to fly through the ice “roof of the world” from Moscow to San Francisco. But then, in August 1935, the latest ANT-25 aircraft, created by designers Tupolev and Sukhoi (anyone who even knows the history of Russian aviation at least a little, will immediately understand the epoch-making significance of these names), was forced to interrupt the record flight due to problems with engine oil.
The ANT-25 was considered unreliable by the flight directors. But Georgy Baidukov decided to prove that, with proper control, this winged machine is capable of a world record. He persuaded his old friend, Valery Chkalov, to a new attempt at a polar flight. Both friends were experienced aviators with many years of extreme flying behind them. Both knew each other for a long time and closely – Chkalov called his friend Baidukov, and Baidukov always jokingly addressed Valery Chkalov only as Valerian.
Georgy Baidukov and Valery Chkalov
© Viktor Temin/TASS
At that time, all record flights were discussed and approved directly in the Kremlin. And in June 1936 Baiduk and Valerian ended up in Stalin’s office. They were not here for the first time, but the leader of the USSR surprised them.
“Why is it necessary to fly to the North Pole? Everything seems to be fearless to pilots, they are used to taking risks. Why take risks unnecessarily? ..” – later Chkalov recalled Stalin’s words (note that in these chopped phrases one can only imagine the famous Georgian accent and the no less famous wave of the hand with the pipe). Stalin suddenly proposed a completely different route – not across the Pole to America, but along the northern borders of Russia to Kamchatka and then to Primorye and the Amur region with a final landing in Khabarovsk.
This route has never been discussed before and was new. A successful flight to America would have had a great propaganda effect, but the leader of the USSR, no matter how you treat him, knew how to think cunningly and was a clever politician. It was at that moment that he needed another obvious, but not voiced aloud effect from the demonstration of an unprecedented level of Soviet aviation – military.
Baiduk and Valerian against the Samurai
Today we are used to the fact that Khabarovsk is adjacent to China, that Sakhalin has no land borders with other states at all, and Kamchatka is separated from other powers by at least a thousand kilometers of ocean water. But then, 85 years ago, it was not so. Khabarovsk then bordered on … Japan. More precisely, with the Japanese Empire, whose troops in 19In 32, they captured the entire northeast of China adjacent to Russia. The entire Korean Peninsula and the southern half of Sakhalin Island at that time were also territories subject to Tokyo since the unsuccessful Russo-Japanese War of 1905 for us.
Let’s add that everything is absolutely everything! – the chain of the Kuril Islands was then also Japanese. In 1936, only 85 years ago, from the territory of Japan – from the northernmost Kuril island of Shumshu – it was possible to look at the coast of our Kamchatka even without binoculars.
At the same time, Japan of that era was a very aggressive state, its army and navy were rightfully considered one of the largest and strongest in the world. In 1934–36, armed skirmishes were constantly going on on the Soviet-Japanese border in Primorye, with dozens of people killed. Both countries teetered on the brink of open conflict, were de facto in a state of cold war, which at any moment could turn hot… If our ground forces in the Far East could still compete with the Japanese on equal terms, then at sea the situation for the USSR was extremely difficult – our Pacific Fleet then infinitely inferior in power and level of technology to the squadrons of Dai-Nippon teikoku kaigun, “the fleet of the Great Japanese Empire”.
Just at the beginning of 1936, an attempted military coup took place in Tokyo, Japanese generals and admirals aimed at expansion actually controlled the government, headed by the former Japanese ambassador to the USSR Hirota Koki that same year. Mr. Hirota was very well known in the Kremlin precisely as a convinced and active opponent of our country. The Japanese had already begun to conquer China piece by piece (in the next 1937 they would capture Beijing) and, not at all illusory, with a frank appetite of a geopolitical predator, were also looking at our Far Eastern lands.
Let the reader forgive this deepening into the Soviet-Japanese politics of 85 years ago, but without it one cannot understand why and with what “necessity” Baiduk and Valerian – Baidukov and Chkalov – risked their lives. So, in the Pacific Ocean, the USSR then, in fact, did not have a fleet, while the imperial naval forces of Japan were one of the most powerful on the planet. Our country could only oppose the samurai fleet with an air fleet. The demonstration of its impressive capabilities was supposed to cool the hottest heads in Tokyo and reduce the military-political tension between the two powers. Indeed, in that era, a long-range bomber played the same “deterrent” role as ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads today.
It was for this purpose that Stalin proposed (and in fact ordered!) Chkalov and Baidukov a special route for the record-breaking flight. The pilots themselves and the Soviet media will immediately call this route “Stalinist”. Having reached without landings from Moscow across the sky to Kamchatka, our plane still had to actually pass without a single landing along the borders of the Japanese Empire – past the Japanese Kuriles, past the Japanese part of Sakhalin to Khabarovsk, which was separated from Japanese Manchuria 85 years ago only a few kilometers. Japanese aviation – and any other aviation in the world! – then I could not demonstrate anything like the “Stalinist route”.
“I wish we could wave right at the Pole!.
On the first day of the flight, the bright red ANT-25 from Moscow kept moving not to the East, but to the Pole — to the archipelago of Franz Josef Land, one of the northernmost on our planet.
A window in the clouds made it possible to see the outlines of some island. At this point, we turned to the mainland, heading for Nordvik … In very difficult meteorological conditions, breaking through solid clouds, struggling with a cyclone, we went to the Khatanga Bay. From here we headed for the Olenyok River, got to it and flew to the Lena. We turned along the Lena to Tiksi Bay …
So, sparingly and in a businesslike way, the crew commander Valery Chkalov later described his flight. Nordvik is a port founded under Stalin and now abandoned on the coast of the Taimyr Peninsula. The Khatanga Bay is the Laptev Sea, where the air temperature stays below zero for at least ten months a year.
It was necessary to fly continuously for several days – the pilots replaced each other at the helm. In addition to 32-year-old Chkalov and 29-year-old Baidukov, the third – the oldest in age – crew member was 39-year-old Alexander Belyakov, head of the navigation service department of the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy (and today it is the main Russian university that trains military aviation engineers). For that era, even Chkalov and Baidukov were already considered middle-aged, and Belyakov was generally elderly – experienced, a lot of older and a lot of flying experts in their field went on a record flight.
Georgy Baidukov, Valery Chkalov and Alexander Belyakov
© Viktor Temin/TASS
Experience, however, did not prevent them from remaining romantics of long-distance flights. Baidukov later recalled the seconds when turning from the polar course to the east over the waters of the Arctic Ocean: “When I passed on the instructions of the navigator to Chkalov, he could not resist. “I wish I could wave straight at the pole! Give me a hand!” shouted Valery Pavlovich in my ear. 0011
However, over the shores of the Taimyr Peninsula, the northernmost part of continental Russia and the Eurasian continent in general, the crew had no time for jokes. In order not to fly in continuous cloud cover, the red plane had to maintain an altitude of at least 4 km for many hours. The pilots began exhausting oxygen starvation, but, after consulting, the crew decided not to use cylinders with a supply of breathing gas for the time being.
As Baidukov recalled: “We will save a six-hour supply of oxygen by the end of the flight, when after Kamchatka we will begin to cross the Sea of Okhotsk and make our way to Khabarovsk.1314
Already over the mountains of the modern Magadan region, approaching the shores of the northernmost part of the Sea of Okhotsk, on the plane received a laconic radiogram from the Kremlin, signed by Stalin and all the top leadership of the USSR: “The country is watching your flight. Your victory will be the victory of the Soviet country. ..”
In flight, a red ANT-25 made a circle in the sky over Petropavlovsk, the capital of Kamchatka. “The city was covered by clouds. Only at the very last moment it opened up to us because of the clouds and we managed to photograph it from a height of 4000 meters …” Chkalov later recalled.
From the coast of Kamchatka they flew south across the Sea of Okhotsk. “Eternally covered with fog and clouds, it represented the most unfavorable section on our way …” – the commander of the ANT-25 crew later admitted.
“The most intense hours passed, the last hours of the flight,” co-pilot Baidukov recalled this segment of the flight, “An extensive cyclone, accompanied by thick clouds, rain and fog, met us over the Sea of Okhotsk. Again, only instrument flight. The weather in the region of Sakhalin and Primorye is extremely unfavorable – also clouds, rain and fog.”
© Ivan Shagin/TASS
It was here that the pilots and their equipment began their own “cold war” – not with the Japanese, but with the weather. Due to heavy cloudiness, we decided to go at a height of no more than 50 meters above the waves of the Sea of Okhotsk, making our way to the northern part of Sakhalin and the mouth of the Amur. “From stormy gusts of wind, the wings and tail of the aircraft trembled dangerously and vibrated helplessly. I couldn’t manage to call Nikolaevsk-on-Amur on the radio. The rain became so heavy that it became very difficult to determine the distance to the water. “air bully” precisely for his ability to fly, for example, under bridges, almost touching the water with the plane.
At the 55th hour of continuous flight, in the region of the Tatar Strait between the mainland and Sakhalin, the situation became critical. Baydukov described those minutes as follows:
Valery literally dug into the steering wheel, peering intently into the foggy darkness … The weather at sea is getting worse: it is incredibly difficult to determine the distance to the water. We realized that in such conditions we would crash into the coastal hills before we entered the mouth of the Amur. Chkalov instantly makes the absolutely correct decision: up! And then it gains altitude, turning the ANT-25 to the east. Clouds hide everything, the height is rapidly increasing, and the air temperature is dropping sharply…
But at altitude, another danger, equally deadly in those conditions, is met – icing of the aircraft. A word to Baydukov: “At 1500 meters, there is a continuous vile and cold colostrum of fog, and, of course, intense icing sets in. The stabilizer and its supporting steel braces are especially quickly covered with ice. Tense, dangerous seconds go by. The plane is already at an altitude of 2500 meters, but icing continues. may collapse … Chkalov urgently slows down the engine, and the icy giant goes down … “
“Only Chkalov could do that!”
The crew of an ice-covered red plane makes a decision – until it gets dark to look for a place to land somewhere on the coast near the mouth of the Amur. As Baidukov recalled: “First we stumble upon the rocky island of Langre — there is nowhere to sit down. In the evening twilight and foggy darkness we suddenly see a low island, all eaten away by lakes and ravines, with several houses. “Let’s go to land! Chassis!” Valery shouts to me and decisively begins to descend … “
In those seconds, Baidukov did not yet know that in two decades the “rocky island of Langre” would be renamed in his honor. They landed on Udd Island, also not knowing that very soon, by Stalin’s decision, it would be renamed Chkalov Island.
ANT-25 aircraft on Udd Island
© Viktor Temin/TASS
This islet in the Bay of Schastya on the northern coast of the Khabarovsk Territory is almost 17 km long, but only 200-300 meters wide. At the last moment, when landing right on the sand and pebbles, the aviators noticed a dangerous ravine and managed to slip through it. At sunset 22 July 1936 years, the scarlet plane touched the ground – exactly 56 hours and 20 minutes of continuous flight.
“After a few seconds we open the hatches and get out of the car tired,” Baidukov recalled, “It seemed that it was impossible to sit down in this place — there were deep ravines-saucers filled with water around, large pebbles and boulders, one of which wedged between the wheels of the left leg of the chassis and tore off one of them . .. Chkalov looked at us and somehow smiled guiltily, as if apologizing. — Yes, only Chkalov could do such a thing! – I said to Belyakov … “
Although we landed not in Nikolaevsk or Khabarovsk, it was a world record – 9374 km of non-stop flight in the most difficult conditions of the Far North and the Far East. Over the next ten days, with the help of local residents and border guards, the pilots repaired the broken landing gear and even built 500 meters of a makeshift runway from pebbles and logs.
On August 2, 1936, Chkalov managed to lift a tired car into the air – they flew west from Udd Island in the Bay of Schastya. It took a week to get to Moscow with landings in Khabarovsk, Krasnoyarsk and Omsk. They arrived in the capital of the USSR in the early evening of August 10. By that time, they had already prepared for the return of the record holders – before landing, the scarlet ANT-25, accompanied by an air escort of 12 fighters, made a circle over the Kremlin. On the airfield in Shchelkovo, the crew was met, shook hands and hugged by Stalin himself – an unprecedented case for pilots.
Then, in August 1936, a real triumph began – all three participants in the flight were awarded the title of Heroes, numerous articles were written about them, entire special issues of printed publications were devoted to them, and documentaries were made. In the central Soviet newspapers Pravda and Izvestia, even poems in honor of Chkalov, Baidukov and Belyakov were repeatedly published.
Here, for example, is the beginning of a poem published in the Pravda newspaper on August 11, 1936, immediately after the meeting of the pilots in Moscow:
For the glory of the motherland, for the fear of its enemies
You have conquered ice, wind, fog.
And today millions of hands are rushing towards you,
The rumble from the squares of Moscow is flying across the ocean…
“For the fear of her enemies…” is, by the way, perhaps the only open mention of the military-political significance of the flight that ended exactly 85 years ago. A lot was written about the heroism of the pilots, about the achievements and successes of the aviation technology of the USSR, about the world record, about conquering the expanses of the North and the Far East.