Tag Archives: Leeuwarden

‘Why allied pilots don’t sleep well’

Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Image © Elmer van Hest)

“Why enemy pilots don’t sleep well”, said an eighties General Dynamics advertisement for the F-16 Fighting Falcon *. “Why allied pilots don’t sleep well”, is what applies to the Sukhoi Flanker family. The Flanker is a slender, delicate and elegant looking machine despite its surprisingly large dimensions. But most of all it is a feared fighter. Stuff of nightmares, really.

Let’s count from 10 to 37. The Flanker prototypes were designated T10, and the very first flight took place on 20 May 1977. NATO came up with the name ‘Flanker A’ for the prototypes, and ‘Flanker B’ for the production Su-27s that followed.

A standard Su-27 in not-so standard colours. This is Flanker B from the Russian Flight Research Institute at Zhukovsky near Moscow. It seen in September 1997, awaiting test pilot Anatoly Kvotchur at Valkenburg airfield, the Netherlands. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A standard Su-27 in not-so standard colours. This is Flanker B from the Russian Flight Research Institute at Zhukovsky near Moscow. It is seen here in September 1997, awaiting test pilot Anatoly Kvotchur at Valkenburg airfield, the Netherlands. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
These colours are wellknown on the Su27. A Flanker of Russki Vityazi - the Russian Knights - is getting ready for take off at Leeuwarden airbase, the Netherlands, in April 1993. This particular aircraft crashed into a mountain in December 1995 in Vietnam. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
These colours are well known on the Su-27. A Flanker of Russki Vityazi – the Russian Knights – is getting ready for take off at Leeuwarden airbase, the Netherlands, in April 1993. This particular aircraft crashed into a mountain in December 1995 in Vietnam. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Ukrainian Flankers are pretty rare now, but also in 1997 when a pair visited RIAT airshow at Fairford, UK. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Ukrainian Flankers are pretty rare these days, but they also were in 1997 when a pair visited RIAT airshow at Fairford, UK. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker B. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another Ukrainian Su27 Flanker B. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Su30
Counting on to 30. The Su-30 is a two-seat variant based on the Su-27UB ‘Flanker C’ trainer aircraft. Not many were built of the ‘vanilla’ Su-30 without thrust vectoring. Variants with thrust vectoring became a valuable Russian export success, however.

Counting on to 30 ... See here are two Russian Su30s - not many were built - at Fairford in 1997. That year saw probably the greatest airshow ever at Fairford. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Seen here are two Russian Su-30s at Fairford in 1997. That year saw probably the greatest airshow ever at Fairford. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The SU30s above were predecessors of the Indian Air Force Su30MKI aircraft, featuring thrust vectoring. See angle of the exhausts - that's why allied pilots don't sleep well. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
The Su-30s were predecessors of the Indian Air Force Su-30MKI aircraft, featuring thrust vectoring. Notice the angle of the exhausts – that’s why allied pilots don’t sleep well. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another Indian Su-30MKI. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another Indian Su-30MKI. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Frankenstein Flanker
The Flanker platform was used for various other roles as well. The most ‘Frankenstein Flanker’ is probably the Su-34 Fullback, known earlier as Su-27IB and Su-32FN.

Russia_Su32FN
Not a Flanker really, but a Su-32FN Fullback on the taxiway at Le Bourget, France, in June 1997. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Fantastic Flanker
Going hi-tech now with the Su-37 Flanker F. This aircraft stunned airshow crowds in the nineties with truly spectacular moves that made the famous ‘Cobra’ act by Su-27s and MiG-29s look like childs play. If allied pilots weren’t worried before, they definitely were now.

A Sukhoi Su-37 Flanker-F fighter aircraft at the Paris - Le Bourget airshow of June 21, 1997. Russian Sukhoi aircraft only developed two prototypes of the Su-37, to test so-called thrust-vectoring nozzles to improve its air combat manoeuvrability. The aircraft is coded 711 Blue, and has number 344 on the fuselage. The plane would crash in December 2002 due to a software malfunction. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Up, up, up to 37. This is a Sukhoi Su-37 Flanker-F, one of two built by Sukhoi for thrust-vectoring tests. This aircraft crashed three years after this pictures was taken in June 1997. (Image © Marcel Burger)

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

* F-16 advertisement via http://www.f-16.net/


Related posts

Survival of the Fitter

Poland still operates quite a number of Sukhoi Su-22 Fitters. This one is seen in June 2001 at Swidwin Airbase in central Poland. Nice artistic touch there to the fuel tanks. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Poland still operates quite a number of Sukhoi Su-22 Fitters. This one is seen in June 2001 at Swidwin Airbase in central Poland. Nice artistic touch there to the fuel tanks. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Sukhoi Fitter family has always been a favourite with the AIRheads↑FLY editorial team. Why? Well, just take a look at the pics below. It doesn’t really look like a flying machine at all. It more resembles a dinosaur, one that survived extinction, one that will be around for some time to come, one that makes T-Rex look a tame animal. This is survival of the Fitter.

When you're talking dinosaurs, you're talking Su-7 Fitters. This is a Su-7U Fitter, with the extra U pointing at it being a twoseater aircraft. The aircraft is pictured in Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw, were it survives. What else. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
When you’re talking dinosaurs, you’re talking Su-7 Fitter. This is a Su-7U Fitter, with the extra U pointing at it being a twoseater aircraft. The aircraft is pictured in Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw, were it survives. What else. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another twoseater, this time a Su22UM-3K form 8.ELT at Mirosławiec. This Fitter was captured however at Lechfeld airbase in Germany in May 2006. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Another twoseater, this time a Su-22UM-3K form 8.ELT at Mirosławiec. This Fitter was captured however at Lechfeld airbase in Germany in May 2006. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Germany
German Fitters weren’t around for too long. The East German NVA operated quite a number of aircraft, but after the reunification with West Germany only a few were kept in service for test purposes. Most aircraft were disposed of. They generaly had very few hours on the clock.

Gerany operated some Su-22s for a number of years. They were used for test purposes and were flying out of Ingolstadt Manching with test unit WTD61. This one is seen in may 1998 at Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
In the nineties, a number of German Fitters were used for test purposes. They were flying out of Ingolstadt Manching with test unit WTD61. This one is seen in may 1998 at Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Surviving, but barely. This German Fitter earned its place in the Luftwaffenmuseum in Gatow near Berlin. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Surviving, but barely. This German Fitter earned its place in the Luftwaffenmuseum in Gatow near Berlin. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Slovakia
Slovakia had its share of Fitters also and operated them well into the nineties. Some aircraft were eventually sold to other countries, Angola being one of them.

Slovak Fitter were a bit of a rare sight, but they paid a very welcome visit to the Netherlands in October 1997. Volkel airbase was the place to be. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Slovak Fitters were a bit of a rare sight, but they paid a very welcome visit to the Netherlands in October 1997. Volkel airbase was the place to be. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Czech Republic
When the Czech Republic and Slovakia split up into seperate countries in 1993, both of them continued flying the Su-22 Fitters that were before flying under the flag of Czechoslovakia. The Czech even had a display team flying the Fitters. Flying Fitters would actually have been a perfect name for them.

Czech_Su22
This is a Czech Su-22M-4 Fitter seen at RAF Fairford in 1995…. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
..... and this is the exact same aircraft, seen ten years later in Letecke Muzeum in Kbely near Prague. Fitters survive, it being in active service around the world or in well earned places in aviation museums. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
….. and this is the exact same aircraft, seen ten years later in Letecke Muzeum in Kbely near Prague. Either in active service around the world or in well earned places in aviation museums, Fitters survive. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Phantom Pharewell Afterparty

,,Can’t be!” one of the authors  of AIRheads↑FLY thought after seeing F-4F Phantoms touchdown for the last time at Wittmundhafen airbase in northern Germany. It should be Phantoms Phorever. So let’s throw a little afterparty, right here and now.

Starting off with some chilling, easy Phantom vibes, here are some Germans doing what they do best: looking phabolous.

germanF4F_1
Luftwaffe F-4F blasting off from Laage airbase in 2006. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
German F-4F Phantom about to slam it down on RWY24 of Leeuwarden AB.
German F-4F Phantom about to slam it down on RWY24 of Leeuwarden AB. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Hellenic Air Force
Turning up the heat with a taste of Southern Europe. The Greeks modified their Phantoms to F-4E AUP standard, including the AN/APG-65GY radar suited for AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. Advanced radar warning receivers were added, and the Greeks also took the opportunity to integrate the Rafael Litening II pod and AGM-142 Popeye missile. Plus their Phantoms can use state-of-the-art JDAM ammunition. The modified Phantoms are recognized by the four IFF transponders on the nose. But we actually don’t really care about all that … as long as the results look this good.

Back in the days when the Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) was still at Florennes in Belgium. This Greek Phantom is taking off ahead of the pack for a refuel at Leeuwarden. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Back in the days when the Tactical Leadership Program (TLP) was still at Florennes in Belgium. This Greek Phantom is taking off ahead of the pack for a refuel at Leeuwarden. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Still at Florennes, a different Phantom. There's a runway there, somewhere ... (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Still at Florennes, a different Phantom. There’s a runway there, somewhere … (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Turkish Air Force
Slightly further south Turkey still uses Phantoms everyday. In 2011 the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri showed a modified RF-4E during the Izmir airshow, celebrating a 100 years of military aviation in Turkey. That’s two tasty Phantoms!

Oven-like hot day in Izmir, cool camouflage. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Oven-like hot day in Izmir, cool camouflage. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Not hot enough for you? Warm your hands on what these J-79s put out at Lechfeld in Germany. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Not hot enough for you? Warm your hands on what these J-79s put out at Lechfeld in Germany. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

South Korean Air Force
Okay, getting into serious Phantom territory now, with rarer-than-rare South Korean rhinos. The Koreans used the ancient F-4D up till a few years ago. Crazy stuff.

Heart-attack moment at Seosan when - in the middle of a flock of F-16s - came two F-4D dinosaurs. We're talking October 2000 here. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Heart-attack moment at Seosan when – in the middle of a flock of F-16s – came two F-4D dinosaurs. We’re talking October 2004 here. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The South Korean RF-4Cs are nearing the end of their lives, but they still haul some serious equipment around. Feel free to guess what the center-line pod on this Phantom is … because we just don’t know.

What's that under the fuselage? No prizes for the right answer (or any answer). Just look at that RF-4C Phantom. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
What’s that under the fuselage? No prizes for the right answer (or any answer). Just look at that RF-4C Phantom. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The F-4E is still in use in South Korea. No problem, keep it going! Phantoms Phorever!

Approaching Cheongju airbase in central South Korea. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Approaching Cheongju airbase in central South Korea. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

As we are still digging through our archives, we found Japanese, Spanish and US Phantoms caught a long time ago. They are screaming to be seen again. So, we’ll be back soon with more of the mighty Phantom.

© 2013 AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest