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Powerful Engine Gave Crew Chance To Escape By The Skin of Their Teeth

Russian Su-30 Flanker C Almost Got Away With One at the Paris Air Show

On June 12th 1999 Sukhoi test pilot Vyacheslav Averynov and navigator Vladimir Shendrikh took to the skies in the shiny new Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKI Flanker-C  demonstrator “Blue 01” on opening day of the 43rd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport.

The jet was the latest word in Russian vectored-thrust air-superiority fighter aircraft. Near the conclusion of the demonstration, as the fighter was descending during a downward spiraling maneuver, before Ayerynov could pull out and with afterburners blazing, the tail of the jet hit made contact with the ground. Even though the aircraft was nearly out of energy and the left engine was en fuego, the jet was still able to pull away from the ground and stabilize long enough for the crew to successfully eject. The aircraft then pancaked into the ground on the infield and went up in flames. Fortunately nobody was hurt.

Photo Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin

The Su-30 is a development of the earlier Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. The primary differences between the Su-27 and the Su-30 are the thrust-vectoring engines in versions after the Su-30 MKI and that the majority of the Su-30 models are two-seaters. Notable developments of the Flanker family include the MKI with canards and thrust vectoring for Russian and India, the MKA with different avionics for Algeria, the MKM for Malaysia, the and the SM for Russia herself. Operators of the 14 distinct version of the Su-30 family include Algeria, Angola, the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, Uganda, Veneuela, and Vietnam. In the video there is an interview (in Russian I think) going on during part of the video but almost all of the demonstration flight is shown.

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.