Tag Archives: flanker

Ukrainian Sukhois

Non-Western jets are always a strong attraction at a Western air show and the appearance of the Ukrainian Sukhois at RIAT was no exception.  The SU-27 is a beast of a jet and quite an impressive performer at a show.  The arrival was cool and the practice display was welcome.  I was a bit annoyed as I didn’t have the camera to hand when the jet thundered off the runway and turned towards us and blasted over our heads at the Western Park and View.

The light wasn’t great for any of the times I saw the jet fly but the sky blue camo scheme it wore seemed to do a good job of picking up the light as it maneuvered around the display.  Plenty of blasts of power for the engines combined with a damp atmosphere allowing a bit of vapor to be pulled from the air was pretty cool.  The front fuselage shape is a little odd and this shows more so when on the ground where it droops down.  Once airborne, things are different.

Something photos don’t show is the way in which the auxiliary inlet doors on the underside of the intakes flap around in certain flight regimes.  Looking through the viewfinder, you could see them oscillating a lot but only video would show that off.  It was a long time since I had last seen the Ukrainian jets at Fairford and this was my first time to shoot them digitally.  They were accompanied by an IL-76 and I suspect that will get a post one day!


Farnborough 1992 – Here Come the Russians

0902.jpgThe Farnborough Air Show used to be a regular feature for me. I started going when I was studying at university and would go to the trade days each two years as the show came around. When I worked at BAe, they would sometimes make it easy for us to get there. One year I got to ride down on the 146 to RAF Odiham and they took us the rest of the way by bus. Not a bad way to travel for sure.

0201.jpgThe Russians started showing up at the shows from, if memory serves, 1988 onwards. They started off with a pair of MiG-29s the first time around and progressively brought more with them each time. 1992 was a particularly good year. Not only were the MiGs there again but Sukhoi SU-29 Flankers were there and, the highlight for me was the Yak-38 Forger and the Yak-141 Freestyle. Sadly, it did not fly the day I was there but those I know who saw it hovering can attest to the noise and spectacle it created. Meanwhile, there were other excellent types there such as the SU-24 Fencer although it was rather brightly painted for an operational type. Support aircraft and airliners were also part of the display as Russia tried to expand its business following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the sudden downsizing of their forces.

0702.jpgTimes have changed and I doubt we will get Russian attendance like this at a western trade show for a while. However, nothing stays the same forever so there may well come a time again in the future when some variety will be added to a trade show. With the number of types in service in the west reducing, it would be nice to see things like this again and some of their more recent types would be good to see too.