“We removed all Russian flights as a consequence about the War in Ukraine,” Philipp Schaer, MiGFlug founder.
MiGFlug, the famous company that offers jet rides, canceled planned flights in Russia and removed all Russia-based flights from its platform.
“We removed all Russian flights as a consequence about the War in Ukraine,” said Philipp Schaer, one of the company founders along with Flavio Kaufmann, to The Aviation Geek Club.
“We did not only offer jet flights in Russia for 18 years, it was also where our company started,” he said.
The idea fighter jet rides started with the end of the Cold War and the downsizing of military services and air forces due to strained public finances in the former Eastern Block – the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe.
At that time, many former Warsaw Pact military aircraft appeared in the West or on the market for sale. One of the reasons was a lack of state control in the Eastern Block countries in the years after 1991 – or 1989, respectively.
This led to a lack of control and chaos.
Given the huge amount of military hardware that these countries owned, including nuclear weapons, this was a very dangerous situation. Corruption and unscrupulousness were widespread, things just “vanished.”
A former Swiss pilot who made a fortune by buying Aero L-39 Albatros jets and selling them in the west, mainly in the US, told MiGFlug: “In some countries those who were in the positions were just trying to earn something from the diminishing stock of military equipment. In the Ukraine for example you could give them a waggon full of potatoes, they would give you an L-39 in exchange.”
The idea of MiGFlug came about when Schaer and Kaufmann were travelling through Eastern Europe during their University years. One epic night in a Moscow dive bar, they met a Russian military pilot and convinced him to take them for a fighter jet flight. Despite the question was meant as a joke, one of the upcoming days, the pilot smuggled them into a Russian Air Force training airbase and took them on an Aero L-39 Albatros flight.
As unbelievable as it may sound, this is how the company was born. MiGFlug [the name of the company was obtained by merging the words MiG (for the legendary Soviet fighter jets) and Flug (that means flight in German)] was founded in 2004 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Following this first unforgettable flight, Schaer and Kaufmann navigated the complex Russian military administration to make the experience available to other aviation enthusiasts.
Surprisingly jets were made available for civilian fighter jet rides by Russia’s state operators. The jets made available included modern fighter jets of the 4th generation, such as the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker, Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum and MiG-31 Foxhound. In fact, because of the huge 1997 financial crisis, Russians tried to earn some hard currency from everything they had and these incredible Russian fighter jets were suddenly made available for fighter jet rides even to US tourists.
Flights took place from Zhukovsky airbase, where the MAKS airshow takes place. Other supersonic jets available for flights at this time included the MiG-23 Flogger and the MiG-25 Foxbat. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, flights were still available today, even though Zhukovsky had been closed for civilian supersonic jet rides in 2006. Additional flights were available from Sokol airbase in Nizhny Novgorod. MiGFlug was also the first company to offer MiG-29 supersonic flights as well as Edge of Space flights there.
And as demand for flights grew, MiGFlug expanded and now offers fighter jet flights across the world (CLICK HERE for overview of fighter jet flights currently available).
But now all Jet Rides in Russia are canceled.
‘It is coming to an end due to this tragic and unnecessary war,’ the company said on its Facebook page. ‘Any profits generated from flights in Russia in the last two years will be used to support Ukraine. We are currently looking for the most effective way to help. If you have a suggestion, please share it in the comments!’
Photo credit: MiGFlug