Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square
May 28, 1987 the aircraft of 18-year-old German Mathias Rust landed on Red Square. What was it? A provocation of special services, marketing course or a hooliganism? There is no answer.

Mathias Rust left Helsinki airport “Malami” on May 28. The ultimate goal of the sport aircraft Cessna was Stockholm. Finnish staff perplexed: there was no more than an hour and a half to Sweden, but the aircraft tanks were filled to capacity. Mathias, of course, was not going to the Swedish capital. His purpose was Moscow but at that moment no one could even imagine it, so the flight was allowed. The first 20 minutes of the flight, the pilot was going along designated route, then he contacted the dispatcher, said he was all right and said goodbye. On that day, he no longer contacted anyone by radio. 

Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

Shortly after Mathias turned off all means of communication, his plane disappeared from radar screens. In the place of the latest aircraft coordinate, the rescue team was dispatched urgently, which found an oil slick of impressive size on the surface of the sea. The plane was decided to be crashed. Rescuers even summoned to the aid of divers, so they combed the bottom in search of Matthias. Later, “the Kremlin flyer” received from the Finnish authorities an account for a false alarm in the amount of 100 thousand dollars. The origin of the oil spot remained a mystery. Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

While Finnish rescue workers searched for Rust in the sea, he crossed the border into the Soviet union in the area of Kohtla-Jarve (Estonia) over the Gulf of Finland. To say that the airplane remained unnoticed would be incorrect.  In Estonia for some time it was led by two alerted fighters, but they did not receive a permission to intercept or destroy Rust’s aircraft, so they returned to the base. The pilot was also detected by Soviet air defenses – in 2:29 pm the “object” that did not answer the call sign of “friend or foe”, was assigned a number 8255. Three missile battalions were resulted in alertness, but there was no order to destroy the target. Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

One can say, Rust was just lucky. After the incident with the Korean Boeing, which presumably was shot down by Soviet military over the Pacific Ocean in 1984, they issued an order prohibiting to open fire on sport and civil aircrafts. Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

Rust could hardly know that at 3 pm, when he was already in the region of Pskov, there were training flights of the local Aviation Regiment. Some airplanes was taking off, others was coming on landing. At exactly 3 p.m. there was a replacement code of state recognition system, so all pilots should have been simultaneously change this code. But some young pilots did not do it and the system made them “foes”. In this “mess” one of aircraft commanders, without investigating the situation, automatically assigned a sign “friend” to all the fighters.Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

Among the aircrafts there was Rust’s Cessna. Thus, a further way Rust made with the Soviet Air registration. Secondary legalization Rust got near Torzhok, where rescue operations were conducted after the collision of two Soviet aircrafts. So, the German low-speed Cessna was took for the Soviet search helicopter. Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

Later in court, Rust stated that he wanted to call for peace with his flight. The world’s media have made their more “romantic” versions: Rust was trying to impress a girl or win a bet. Soviet newspapers were published under the headings “Country is shocked!”Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

They said, Rust’s flight was just a marketing ploy. His father was a dealer of Cessna in Western Europe. Aircraft sales decreased by that time. It was clear that after such “advertising” saying that “the only aircraft that could win the Soviet Air Defence system“, things of the company went uphill . The Soviet military were convinced that this action was nothing but the machinations of foreign intelligence. Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

At 7:10 pm, Mathias Rust landed his plane on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, went to St. Basil’s Cathedral, got out of the plane and started handing out autographs and pose in front of the cameras. Photo and autograph session, however, was short-lived: Mathias Rust was arrested. Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

His birthday, June 1, he spent in prison. The most humane court in the world sentenced him to imprisonment for a term of 4 years, but on August 3 of next year Mathias Rust was pardoned and expelled from the USSR. Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

In a total, Rust spent 433 days in Moscow. After his return to Germany, he was stripped of his right to drive an airplane as “mentally unstable” man. Later, Rust confirmed thas definition: while his serving in the hospital he attacked a nurse with a knife because she allegedly refused to go with him on a date. Then he was caught stealing a sweater in a supermarket.

Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square

*Mathias Rust is landing on Red Square. May 28, 1987*

Mathias Rust nowadays.

Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square


12 thoughts on “Mathias Rust Landed on Red Square”

  1. The Korean Boeing was not shot “presumably” – the Soviet initially denied it but later accepted full responsibility for shooting it down, although claimed that it was a “spy plane”.

    And please don’t use google translator so much – it should say “no order to destroy the target” rather than “no order to defeat the purpose”.

    • Ita was a mistake. An error.
      Mistakes happen when military spying and hostile “exercises” take place constantly in sensible areas. More or less like today… The only difference is that the US is much more aggressive, and at the same time, much more paranoid than in the 1980’s.

      Now, get your meds, it’s late.

  2. Although Rust got mentally ill, but this happend after his flight. It is possible that he became ill as a result of his spending a year in Russia. Soviets had a common practice of injecting political prisoners with really nasty staff. Several Soviet dissidents such as Novodvorskaya are well-known examples of this. Especially if Soviets believed Rust was a spy, they may have wanted to try to torture out some information from him.

    • …”Rust got mentally ill, but this happend after his flight….”. –LOL. Trust me, flying to the Soviet Union and landing in the Red Square, means you already are mentally deranged. Try to do that in the Washington Mall, and let us know how it goes.

  3. Rust landed in Red Square and Michael Fagan sat on the Queen’s bed inside Buckingham Palace….good for them. My kind of heroes.!

  4. I remember that I got several thousands of hours in Cessna 172’s, its a very good airplane, easy to learn to fly in one, easy on keeping it in an airworthy condition! And it’s a very good first airplane to buy if you are going in for aircraft ownership, I owned and sold a dozen of them over the years! As for Rust, he is nothing but an airplane thief, I never heard that the then Soviets returned the airplane to its owners! Hard airplane to intercept, it flies at around 110 Knots, and low enough to get lost in the ground clutter! I hope the guys on the radars that day didn’t get into any more trouble that does better next time! You never with the soviets they were an odd bunch that took offense on just about everything! Rust was stupid and gave a lot of us pilots a black eye with his the lack of responsibility! You don’t fly across national borders with out clearance and a flight plan!

  5. The “in the air” photo, of course, is a stock photo of a Cessna (with a US registration number). But useful for the narrative sequence.

  6. i good well remember THIS good glorious times , in socialism , no big data no bankster , no corporation , no chemical food my liceal claas in 1987 – may spent thhree days /weekend over lakes in godd hut -FREE !!! no pay – socialist works and managres[ dyrektor ] give us for free !!!

  7. Not a marketing ploy. That’s just an insane claim.
    No business would want to publicly advertise/promote “Our planes can get you into places you aren’t suppose to go undetected!” unless you were actually wanting to engage in illegal activities.
    Especially after this you know the first thing the air defenses are going to look out for would be this type of plane. People would probably want to get rid of their Cessnas because now they would be the first thing to be shot down.

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