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Russian Pilots Apparently Like Top Gun And Buzzing The Tower

sU33two

A rare glimpse of the Russian SU-33 making a low-level pass – twice.

For a neutral observer, there’s nothing as exciting as being up close and personal as a military jet does a low-level buzzing of the deck.

That’s exactly what’s depicted in our featured video. A Russian Sukhoi SU-33 makes two passes just off the tarmac. The speed, power and sound is impressive.

(And this video is reminiscent of a much more serious incident that happened recently involving the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. Two Russian SU24s made 20 passes at the warship, coming within 1,000 yards and just 100 feet off the waves. Perhaps the Russian pilots had been watching Top Gun and declined to request a fly by.)

Catching a glimpse of the SU-33 (which is designated as Flanker-D by NATO) is rare. It was designed as all-weather carrier-based twin-engine, twin-tailed air fighter and came into service in 1998. However, when the Soviet Union dissolved, the Russian Navy was scaled back and only about three dozen SU-33s were produced.

The SU-33 has a maximum speed of Mach 2.17 (1,430 mph) and a service ceiling of 55,800 feet. It’s range is nearly 1,900 miles.

Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, is reported to be deploying to the Mediterranean Sea. Its air wing will be comprised of the SU-33, SU-25UTG and Mikoyan MiG-29K.

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.