Russkie Vitiazi (Russian Knights) and Strizhi (Swifts) perform " diamond nine " for 20th anniversary.
The Russian Knights aerobatic team celebrated its 20 th anniversary on a very special airshow held at Kubinka Air Base on April 5th 2011. More than a birthday, the event acted as a launch of a new display program by five Su-27s. Team members were affected with tragic accident of their former leader in August 2009 - read - a few days before MAKS 2009, so the Knights had to look forward. It is to be pointed out the team had much positive support from military headquarters and government alike to recover and to look forward. That is not obviously the case with some of the world renowned national teams elsewhere in the world.
(Picture : a tribute to Col. Igor Tkachenko at MAKS 2009)
Last week, Russian Knights pilots introduced their new routine, with Guard Lt. Col. Andrei Alexeev as their new leader. They were also joined by four MiG-29s of the brother team " Strizhi " , also part of the Kubinka based 237th Guards Proskurov Regiment. The MiGs teamed with the five " Knights " Su-27s to fly as the traditional big " diamond nine " formation, the largest and heaviest fighter jet team showcase in the world. The film report made by russian TV network www.ntv.ru/novosti/226400/ looks exhilarating and says all to make us aware of the bright future of russian showmanship. With thanks to Sergei Kowalski.
During the event, high ranking officials emphasized that this is not a team rebirth but a new show with spectacular items that are being introduced in preparation for MAKS 2011 show near Moscow. Sky-Lens'Aviation' will be there in August 2011, to report on that exciting exhibition. As if the Russian huge list of flying items was not long enough for Moscow, MAKS 2011 will also see the largest USAF participation in continental Europe this year, with the powerfull F-15 E solo display as a performer and a big list of items for static feature.
Remembering ol. Igor Valentinovich Kachenko
Two Russkie Vitiazi - ( The Russian Knights ) - Su-27 Flankers collided on Sunday, August 16th, 2009, at 1-00 PM during a practice display over Zhukovskii airfield. Three pilots ejected. It is reported today in Russia, that many people on the ground received burns from one of the crashed Flanker. Precise causes of the collision are unknown.
I am very sad to report that Col. Igor Valentinovich Tkachenko, leader of the Russkie Vitiazi was killed in that accident. He was a respected and very experienced leader. We met him and his team in Finland in June 2008. He was leading the fascinating Russian Knights performance at Midnight Sun Airshow. I express deep condolences to his family. The two other officers hit in the crash were Col s . Melnik and Kurilenko : unfortunately they were reported as seriously injured and evacuated with ambulances. We wish them a safe recovery as well as to all people slightly or baddly injured during the event.
MAKS 2009 will open tomorrow at Zhukovskii. The Russian Air Force headquarters have declared today that all the air force display acts will remain the same as scheduled excepting for the Russian Knights that are fully cancelled from the aerosalon. So it means that the Swifts - Strizhi - flying six MiG-29s - who were under Col. Igor Valentinovich Tkachenko command in the 237th Air Regiment - are still scheduled to perform.