Pilot Dies After Two Russian Jets Collide




Pilot Dies After Two Russian Jets Collide

By Mike Mitchell


August 17, 2009, Moscow, Russia, yesterday two Russian Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighters were practicing aerial maneuvers for the up coming annual Russian Airshow on Tuesday when one of the jets collided into the rear of the other jet. All three pilots involved ejected from their aircraft. However, one pilot died,  and other ejected into a wooded area landing in the trees received a broken back. The deceased is Col. Igor Tkachenko, commander of the Russian Knights.  

Col. Igor Tkachenko was 45, married with a son and daughter, and had been an aerobatics pilot since 1989 with more than 1,500 hours flying attack aircraft.

MAKS-2009 air show, the largest and most important showcase for Russia’s aerospace industry. The air show will take palce between August 18 thru 18th.

The Russian Knights are an aerobatic demonstration team of the Russian Air Force. Originally formed on April 5, 1991 at the Kubinka Air Base as a team of six Sukhoi Su-27s, the team was the first to perform outside the Soviet Union in September 1991 when they toured the United Kingdom. On December 12, 1995, disaster struck as three team members flew into a mountainside while practicing formation flying in adverse weather. Despite this tragedy, the team now performs with four Su-27Ps and 2 Su-27UBs.

The Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO reporting name ‘Flanker’) is a one seat Mach 2 class jet fighter plane manufactured by the Soviet Union. It was intended as a direct competitor for the large United States fourth generation fighters, with long 3,530 km range, heavy armament, sophisticated avionics and high agility.


The Su-27 most often flies air superiority missions, but is able to perform almost all combat operations. Complementing the smaller MiG-29, its closest US counterpart is the F-15 Eagle. There are several related developments of the Su-27 design. The Su-30 is a two-seat, dual-role fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions; comparable to F-15E Strike Eagle. Su-33 ‘Flanker-D’ is a navy fleet defense interceptor for use on aircraft carriers; comparable to F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Further versions include the side-by-side 2-seat Su-34 ‘Fullback’ strike variant and the Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ improved air defense fighter.

Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev expressed his condolences to the family of the dead pilot, Igor Tkachenko, a highly trained professional and commander of Russia’s celebrated Russian Knights aerobatic team.

One of the two Sukhoi Su-27 jets crashed into a residential building Moscow injuring five people. One woman received severe burns covering 60 per cent of her body.

Russian Air Force spokesman reported a commission has been set up to investigate the accident. Anatoly Kvochur, a top test pilot, said on Russian television the Su-27 was a reliable model, but acknowledged that the Russian fighter jets might have seen better days.

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