Aviation History

Anatoly Kvochur, test pilot who ejected 2 seconds Before the Crash of his MiG-29 and first to land a Fulcrum on American soil, passes away

Russian test pilot Anatoly Kvochur passes away

Russian test pilot Anatoly Kvochur passed away on Apr. 15, 2024 following a serious illness. He would have turned 72 the following day, Apr. 16.

The United Aircraft Corporation said in a statement that “Many of his achievements are unique. His contribution to the development of domestic aviation is difficult to overestimate.”

Born in the village of Mazurovka, the Vinnitsa region of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Kvochur graduated from the Yeisk Higher Aviation School of Pilots, the school of test pilots, and the Moscow Aviation Institute.

According to Pravda he tested the Su-17 and its modifications, the MiG-29 and MiG-31, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, the MiG-29K carrier-based fighter, systems of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, as well as latest models of MiG family aircraft. Kvochur was the first pilot who made the first takeoff and landing in the USSR from the deck of the Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov aircraft carrier at nighttime.

Test-pilot Anatoly Kvotchur at MAKS-2007 airshow.

In 1988, Kvochur performed the “bell” aerobatic manoeuvre for the first time at the Farnborough Aviation Show in England.

Anatoly Kvochur Ejecting Two Seconds Before the Crash of his MiG-29

On Jun.8, 1989, at the air show in Le Bourget (France), while Kvochur was performing aerobatic manoeuvres on the Soviet MiG-29 fighter at an ultra-low altitude, a bird flew into the aircraft engine. A sheet of flame belched from the starboard engine nozzle as the engine surged. Kvochur immediately selected full afterburner for the good engine, but at only 180 km/h (111 mph) he had insufficient rudder and aileron authority to counter the thrust asymmetry and the result was inevitably an irrecoverable departure.

The engine failed and the stricken fighter immediately yawed and rolled to starboard, the nose ‘falling through’ until the aircraft entered a vertical dive, as the video below shows. Kvochur ejected at 92 m (302 ft) making sure the aircraft would not hit the spectators. The fighter hit the ground beside the runway, erupting in a tremendous fireball. The pilot landed a mere 30 m (98 ft) from the wreckage, the ejection seat impacting right next to him.

Anatoliy Kvochur was rushed to a hospital but released on the same day with nothing worse than bruises and a cut above his right eyebrow from the oxygen mask. Indeed, he had been extremely lucky, as he had ejected outside the seat’s envelope, not to mention the proximity of the fireball and the falling seat.

“Anatoly Kvochur ejected from his MiG-29 only after he was convinced that the fighter would not crash down on people. The pilot’s parachute did not have time to fully open, but it saved his life,” a message posted on the website of the Russian Defence Ministry said.

Anatoly Kvochur the first to land a MiG-29 on American soil

In the same year according to Eurasian Times, Kvochur participated in a mission that marked a historic occasion: the first landing of MiG-29 fighters and the colossal Soviet An-225 transport on North American soil.

This event occurred as part of the Soviet delegation’s journey to the Abbotsford International Air Show in Vancouver, British Columbia. Following a brief refueling stop in Alaska, they were escorted to the Canadian border by US Air Force F-15 Eagles and greeted by Canadian CF-18 Hornet jet fighters.

During this time, the MiG-29 and An-225 garnered considerable media attention. The Soviets showcased these newly developed aircraft worldwide in hopes of attracting foreign buyers.

At that time, USAF Capt. Richard Armstrong, one of the F-15 Eagle pilots involved in escorting the MiGs through US airspace, expressed excitement at being the first American pilot to come into proximity with the new Soviet fighter.

World records

In March 1995, the pilot flew a single-seat Su-27 fighter to Australia, and in July and September 1999 he flew over the North Pole on a closed circuit.

In 1992, Kvochur received the title Hero of Russia. He was awarded, among other things, the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, III degree.

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: Unknown via Reddit and Vitaly V. Kuzmin, vitalykuzmin.net, via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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