Group Mechta was the organization that brought the Russia I and II designs to the World Class competition. They had extensive experience in prototype design and development group, but were never tooled for volume production; this is one of the reasons the Russia lost at the World Class Design Competition in Oerlinghausen, Germany, in 1993.
Though it came in second to the Polish PW-5, the judges unanimously considered the Russia to be a well engineered sailplane with remarkable performance for it’s size and weight, and noted several innovative construction ideas that would keep costs low if the ship ever went into production.
Cygnet World Class, Inc. was the entrant from the U.S. at Oerlinghausen and the Americans were struck by the simplicity and construction quality of the Russian entry. After meeting with Vladimir Fedorov and observing the flight tests of the Russia prototypes, they purchased the 12.6 meter prototype and promised to aid Group Mechta in introducing the Russia to the U.S. soaring community. To this end, they started a new company, Russia 12.6, and imported another pair of sailplanes while they looked for a suitable dealer to handle marketing.
Mechta Sailplanes, LLC took over distribution in 1994 and began to aggressively market the Russia as a low cost alternative to the other successful designs stemming from the World Class effort. They successfully brought in the first 18 Russias and really put the AC-4 on the map as a viable alternative to the World Class ship. Meanwhile in Moscow, Vladimir Fedorov expanded production with a second set of molds and a satellite assembly shop in Penza, increasing production capacity to 48 gliders per year.
Russia Sailplanes, Inc. was created in 1997 to take the Russia to the next level in the United States. When Vladimir Fedorov announced the development of a series of new designs based on the AC-4 including a retractable model, a motorglider, and a kit version, Mechta Sailplanes began to look for a dealer who could devote considerably more time to the enterprise than had been previously possible.
Salutary cooperation which has been adjusted between Dr. Vladimir Fedorov and Mr. William Ard (Russia Sailplanes, Inc), promoted vigorous sale of gliders of a series “AC” in America during nearby 7 years.
However, in 2002 by Government of the Russian Federation have been put into operation new, more rigid legislative norms and requirements to the certification and licensing of industrial production of double purpose, including manufacture of flying vehicles of any type and purpose. In these new circumstances, possible attempt to execute all the requirements, manufactures of sports gliders concerning demanded licensing, would make their manufacture absolutely unprofitable. So, for this reason, since 2003 the cooperation, attained before between Dr. Vladimir Fedorov and Mr. William Ard, has been stopped and wide sale of gliders Russia in America was interrupted.
Nevertheless, for the past 3 years, after 2003, in the State Russian legislation concerning licensing there were made favorable changes which allow planning the future business with new hope.