On March 12th, 2012 Russian people celebrated the 96th anniversary since foundation of the first fighter air group. Today we want to visit Buturlinovka, the Voronezh Region, where Kursk Air Group featuring fighters Mikoyan MiG-29SMT and MiG-29UBT is temporary stationed.
4+ generation crews are preparing for practice shoot. Graduates of flying schools have started practicing.
The VKK-6M is a high-altitude compensating suit that compensates for excess pressure in the pilot’s lungs.
R. Kupchin was appointed commander of Kursk Air Group in 2010. He says his pilots have about 112 flight hours a year. In general, they are satisfied with their aircrafts although some of them have “child diseases” which are easy to fix.
Since January, 2011 Kursk Air Group has been stationed in Buturlinovka because the runway in their hometown is currently under reconstruction.
These planes were designed and manufactured for Algeria which refused to accept them. As a result, they were assigned to Kursk’ and Lipetsk’ airbases.
Algeria alleged some defects and stopped accepting the planes (the MiG-28SMT and MiG-29UBT) which later became the pride of the Russian Air Force. “Algerian” planes had spent less than 80 hours in the air before they were returned to the producing country.
This is a MiG-29UBT. It features the same equipment as the MiG-29SMT but has no radar (by the way, this is a great way how to remove ice from the runway).
The MiG-29SMT is a single-seater fighter, a modernized version of the MiG-29SM, featuring modern equipment and an increased flight range. It was designed in 1997.
The volume of its fuel tank of the central part of the fuselage is 1,400 l.
This is where the planes are “parked”.
“Russian Air Force”.
The MiG-29SMT contains 6,100 l of fuel in its inner tanks and 3,800 l in its external tanks.
It is equipped with the same high-consumption and smoky RD-33 engines.
After the plane lands, they check out its systems. The MiG-29SMT is the first Russian aircraft that has no repair maintenance and technical service schedule but has been designed to be repaired depending on its condition.
Pilots make good money by the way. Majors, plane commanders make more than $2,000 a month while non-pilots make about $1,500.
At weekends, the pilots may go home, to their families. The city of Kursk is situated just 400 km away.
The pilots are rather young. The majority of them were born in 1983 or later.
They exercise air fighting in groups of three, in pairs or one at a time.
“Attention! Carbon fibre!”
The K-36DM of the 2nd generation is one of the best ejection seats in the world.