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Russian Knights / Russkiye Vityazi

The Russian Knights, an aerobatic team of the Russian Air Force formed on April 5th 1991 as part of the 237th Guards Proskurov Aircraft Demonstration Centre (237 TsPAT). The team operates three Su-27Ps and two Su-27UBs from their home base Kubinka Airbase which is close to Moscow. The first show outside the Soviet Union was in September 1991 when they visited Scampton Airbase in the UK. And only a year later the team performed in the USA. On April 20th 1993 two Su-27s of the Russian Knights visited Leeuwarden Airbase for some demonstration flights. Until now the team never visited the Netherlands again.

 

December 12th 1995, a black day in history for the Russian Knights when they lost three aircraft on their way back home, returning from Malaysian LIMA airshow. While approaching Kam Ran Airbase in Vietman for a fuel stop the pilot of the supporting Il-76 misinterpreted the approach instructions and leaded the formation straight to the nearest mountain. Two Su-27Ps and one Su-27UB crashed onto the mountain in bad weather conditions killing four pilots.

 

A year later the team flew again, but only with four aircraft. In 2002 the Russian Knights started to train joint formation flights with colleague aerobatic team Strizhi, which operates the MiG-29. This was especially for the Red Square parade fly-by, they didn’t perform any loops or rolls. In 2004 the Russian Knights and Strizhi formed the big diamond formation (with five Su-27s and four MiG-29s) and started to train for a full aerobatic demonstration.

 

On August 16th 2009 two Su-27s collided near Moscow while rehearsing aerobatic manoeuvres killing team leader Colonel Igor Tkachenko (a decorated air force officer), and one woman on the ground. A week later the remaining team members performed a diamond formation flight during MAKS 2009 at Zhukovsky Airbase to honour Colonel Tkachenko. The next years the Russian Knights performed at many national and international airshows in various configurations, either with five or six Su-27s, or together with the MiG-29s of team Strizhi.

 

In 2013 the team opened the airshow season in India where it performed with five jets at Aero India 2013 at Bangalore Airbase, followed by the LIMA airshow at Langkawi Airbase, Malaysia. The remainder of the season the team performed at various events in Russia except for one show. During the weekend of August 3/4 the team performed with five Su-27s at the International Airshow at Kecskemét Airbase, Hungary. Below you’ll find an impression of what the performance in Hungary was like.

 

 

 

 

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