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   Undertoad  Wednesday Aug 7 12:17 PM

8/7/2002: Air show crash

When the crash happened last week I watched for shots of it, and this was the best that came around. Can you imagine?

headsplice  Wednesday Aug 7 02:13 PM

Jesus, what kind of plane was that? The angle makes it look about the size of a B1. I think the last thing I need today is several tons of flaming metal landing on my head.

CharlieG  Wednesday Aug 7 03:25 PM


Originally posted by headsplice
Jesus, what kind of plane was that? ...snip....
That WAS an SU-27. Amazing aircraft, and pretty much a match for anything we currently have. No F-15/Su-27 dogfight has ever occured - it's interesting to speculate

In case you haven't noticed, the larger fighters aren't small - the Su-27 is about as big as they get. The F-15 isn't exactly tiny either (ditto the F-14). That's part of the reason for the F-16, which was designed as a "Light" fighter. That's part of the reason the F-16 is used for airshows, and not the F-15 - the F-15 is too big.

ndetroit  Thursday Aug 8 09:46 AM

Can someone fill in the details of the crash? (I don't know too much about it..)

Why is the plane missing a chunk out of its left tail, and a good portion of its left wing? Also, is there is a small chunk taken out of its right tail wing?

ndetroit  Thursday Aug 8 09:48 AM

Hmmmm... upon further inspection, the bottom of the plane looks a little scratched up too... I'm guessing it collided with something in mid air during one of those "fly really really close to the other plane head on" maneuvers..

andcal  Thursday Aug 8 10:11 AM

What happened to the plane

If I remember correctly, it hit some trees trying to pull out of a steep, spiraling dive, and the pilots ejected somewhere around that point.

dave  Thursday Aug 8 10:13 AM

The engine malfunctioned, the plane dove, clipped some trees and another [parked] plane on the way, then slammed into a crowd. ~80 people dead.

MaggieL  Thursday Aug 8 11:28 AM

So far the "accident investigation" seem to amount to "the pilot was really not proficient because we can't afford to fly much and was doing maneuvers that hadn't been approved: pilot error".

The "engine failure" might well have been a compressor stall, not uncommon when doing radical maneuvers at an extreme angle of attack at low airspeed. And it wouldn't surprise me to learm that an aerodynamic stall and flat spin developed immediatiely thereafter, since the stalled engine would have caused asymmetric thrust that would have been very difficult to deal with.

A compressor stall occurs when the airflow to a turbojet engine is far enough outside the design envelope with respect to angle-of-attack, density and airspeed that a temporary reversal of airflow through the engine occurs. This can result in flameouts and other nasty occurances.

The differing appearance of the exhaust from the two engines in this image suggests to me that the portside engine isn't cooking anywhere near as hot as the starboard. Not exactly definitive proof and I'm not a turbine engine expert.

The missing and damaged airframe pieces have to do with the fact that the airplane is in the process of cartwheeling across the field. Look at the engine exhausts for a clue as to which way the aircraft is actually moving at this point.

Sniper 1  Thursday Aug 8 08:39 PM

Geez. That is as disturbing a photo as I've ever seen.

Great stuff Undertoad.

NateXLH1000  Friday Aug 9 08:21 AM


This is why I can't understand airshows.

They have to make it so exciting and therefore compromise safety a bit.

Was it pilot error, or is the government covering for an equipment failure?

I get the impression that he might have been set up as the fall guy.

andcal  Friday Aug 9 10:06 AM

Air Shows

Didn't a similar airshow crash similar to this happen somewhere in Europe sometime in the past few years?

I have only been to a handfull of airshows, (only in the US), but based on what I have seen in US airshows, combined with what I heard on the news when these types of crashes happen, there are safety standards dictating whether a pilot can fly over a crowd at all, and other things that prevent a crashing plane from falling or flying into the crowd. These standards which are followed in the US were not being followed when these European and in this case Ukranian airplanes crashed, and as a result, the airplanes crashed into the crowd.

Again, I am no expet, but this is what I have heard and seen. Next time I go to an airshow, I will pay very special attention to the proximity of every airplane flying "over", especially the ones doing difficult manuvers, and I will notice if any of them are on a trajectory which would put them into the crowd if their engines suddenly died, or if their wing suddenly sheared off. What I remember seing supports the fact that this sort of safety factor is currently followed in the US.

MaggieL  Friday Aug 9 12:25 PM

Re: Air Shows

Originally posted by andcal
Didn't a similar airshow crash similar to this happen somewhere in Europe sometime in the past few years?
Well, there was the accident with the Frecce Tricolori, the Italian Airforce Aerobatic Team that killed 70 people at Ramstein AFP in Germany in 1988. Or you make be thinking of the MiG 29 that went in at the Paris Air Show in 1989. I beleve no one was hurt in the Paris incident. Two MiG-29s also collided at at airshow at RAF Fairford in 1993

In the case of the Ramstien tragedy, the manuever being flowwn would not have been allowed under FAA airshow rules, becuase it involved an aerobatic maneuver with an aircraft flying across the showline towards the crowd.

The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds do have solo aircraft fly perpendicular to the showline...both face on to the spectatiors, as well as one heartstopping manuver they do where the crowd's attention is held by a low speed low pass down the showline while a second solo approaches from behind the crowd at maximum speed and minimum altitude; the spectators never hear the second aircraft coming until it passes overhead...stunning! But these maneuvers involve solo aircraft not in aerobatic flight at the time of the maneuver.

tjennings  Friday Aug 9 12:37 PM

Thanks MaggieL for that description of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds manuever (I belive the Thunderbirds call it the "Liberty Bell" (kinda leaves your ears ringing)).

I was aware that airshow performers couldn't cross the crowd line, and I wasn't sure how to square that with what I've seen the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels do.


MaggieL  Friday Aug 9 03:22 PM

Originally posted by tjennings

I was aware that airshow performers couldn't cross the crowd line...

Distinguish here too between the "show line" and the "crowd line". The show line is the main axis of the show, is usually parallel to a runway (often on the centerline). It is a requirement of the rules that the show line be easily identified visually from the air.

The crowd line (limit for spectators) is required to be 500 to 1500 feet from the show line, depending on the airspeed of the show aircraft. It must be set back further to allow for the width of a formation so that clearance are maintained.

But my understanding is that aircraft not in aerobatic flight don't need to stay on the show line, and may fly towards the spectators.

jfiscus  Friday Aug 9 03:44 PM

I read about this on dailyrotten

I was reading over there the other day and came upon a weird article:

"Slow-motion videotape of the July 27 accident show a dark object rising in an arc from a wood near the Lviv airfield close the flight path of the Su-27, which went on to crash into the crowd.",00.html

Your reply here?

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