Tag Archives: Ukraine

‘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/


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Most famous biplane of 1946 gets new life

Test flight of the new Antonov An-2-100 (Image © Antonov Aircraft Corporation)
Test flight of the new Antonov AN-2-100 (Image © Antonov Aircraft Corporation)

It is probably the world’s most famous biplane. 18,000 have been built between 1946 and 2002, but today starts a new chapter in the life of the Antonov AN-2, with the AN-2-100. The modernized 70-year old model made its first flight on July 10, 2013, at the Ukrainian aircraft factory plant piloted by commander Sergii Tarasiuk and co-pilot Valerii Epanchintsev.

,,The AN-2-100 is intended for passenger, cargo and mixed cargo-passenger transportation on local airlines. It can be operated autonomously at small airfields with low sub-soil strength, including ice and snow-covered ones, in a wide altitude range, under good and adverse climatic and weather conditions”, writes a spokesperson of the Antonov aircraft company of Ukraine in a press release.

The main difference between the AN-2-100 and its predecessor is the new MC-14 turboprop engine, designed and produced by Ukrainian Motor Sich company. The new engine doesn’t need the special aviation gasoline of the old Antonov 2, but the cheaper normal aviation kerosene. The An-2-100 also has a new reversible propeller and weights in fully operational condition 200 kg less than the Annie of 1946.

Antonov will refurbish existing An-2s to the An-2-100 standard. The company identified 135 AN-2s within Ukraine alone, with only 54 aircraft still airworthy. Antonov hopes for foreign orders as well, with reportedly 1580 of them available in the Russian Federation, of which 322 still fly – mainly for agricultural purposes. 290 An-2s are being operated in Kazakhstan, 143 in Uzbekistan, 89 in Turkmenistan, 82 in Belarus, 63 in Azerbaijan, 30 in Kirgizia, 13 in Moldova and 4 in Armenia. How many Antonov An-2s are stored, displayed or fly outside the former Soviet states is unclear.

Source: Antonov Aircraft Corporation