In this article:
The MiG-29 was designed in response to a new generation of American fighters, which included the F-15 and F-16. Designed as an air defense fighter, this dual-purpose aircraft also possessed a ground attack capability. The task of producing a “frontal” or tactical fighter for the Frontal Aviation Regiments of the Soviet Air Force went to the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau (MiG OKB). Employing all the technical data available about the most advanced Western aircraft, the MiG designers started working on the MiG-29 in the early 1970s, and the first prototype made its first flight on Oct. 6, 1977. U.S. reconnaissance satellites detected the new fighter in November 1977, and NATO gave it the designation “Fulcrum.”
Production started in 1982, and deliveries to Frontal Aviation units started in 1983. By comparison, the USAF’s first operational F-15As arrived seven years earlier in 1976, and its F-16As entered operational service four years earlier in 1979.
Filmed on Jul. 24, 1993 the famous video in this post shows MiG-29s belonging to Russian Flight Research Institute (named after Mikhail M. Gromov (LII)) display team (sponsored by the Aviatika Production Association affiliated with MAPO) colliding during their performance at the International Air Tattoo ’93 (IAT ’93) airshow at RAF Fairford.
The story behind this incident is quite interesting.
As told by Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov in their book Mikoyan MiG-29 & MiG-35, the blue/yellow/black MiG-29s (code ‘526 Black’ and ‘925 Black’ and flown by test pilots Sergey N. Tresvyatskiy and Aleksandr G. Beschastnov) had arrived on Jul. 21 from Prague where they had performed at the Czech Air Force’s 75th anniversary show. For the next two days the pilots were busy practicing. However, the ‘real thing’ – the display on Jul. 24 -culminated in a spectacular collision at 200-250m (660-820 ft) in which Beschastnov’s aircraft (‘925 Black’) was virtually cut in two aft of the cockpit, bursting into flames. Incredibly, both pilots escaped without a scratch, even though one of them had to eject from an inverted position; a BBC announcer said that the pilots had ‘jumped out from under the coffin’s lid’.
The accident information message released by the RAF Inspectorate of Flight Safety (IFS) went as follows:
The British reaction to the crash was something like ‘don’tworry too much; you’re not the first, you’re not the last.’ The RAF accepted the costs of recultivating the soil at the crash site while the Russian party paid for the damage to the parked aircraft. The pilots returned to active duty on Aug. 2, 1993.
The following video features the full display up until the crash.
Mikoyan MiG-29 & MiG-35 is published by Crecy and is available to order here.
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