Strizhi - Russian aerobatic performance demonstrator team


Pravda Report


Published on Mar 25, 2013

"Strizhi" ("Strizhi") was a Soviet and later Russian aerobatics demonstration group associated with the Russian Air Force. In July 1983, the 234th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, based at the Kubinka airbase, was one of the first regiments to receive the 4th generation MiG-29 fighters. The regiment began to form a team of military pilots with perfect piloting skills to perform demonstration flights on the MiG-29 in the mid-1980s, when the Air Force was just beginning to master this type of aircraft. Lt. Col. A. N. Kutuzov, the honored pilot of Russia, was appointed to perform aerobatics in formation of six airplanes, sometimes three meters apart. The collective is considered officially established on May 6, 1991. when it first performed demonstration flights under the name of Strizhi or Strizhi (_ru. Strizhi). After the demonstration Air Marshal Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub personally decorated the pilots of the aerobatic team with medals "For strengthening the military commonwealth of states". In October 1991 the "Strizhi" aerobatic team made their first demonstration flights abroad visiting the Swedish air base in Uppsala. The first public demonstration of "Strizhi" took place in France in May 1992 during the air show on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the "Normandy-Neman" squadron. The flight skills of the aerobatic team amazed the experienced Western audience. Dense formation of six planes performed almost all the aerobatics: loop back, loop-loop, barrel roll, etc. The flight patterns were constantly changing: an echelon formation was transformed into "envelope", "cross", "pyramid", "wing" and "star" formations. The demonstration flight ended with a spectacular aircraft collapse in different directions, the so-called "tulip" collapse, followed by a volley of rockets fired by fighters. In 1993 the "Strizhi" took part in the air show LIMA'93 on the island of Langkawi in Malaysia, as well as in air shows in Belgium and Thailand. At the Thailand air show, the aviation mechanics of the brigade set up a unique aircraft assembly record: four MiG-29s were disassembled and delivered to Thailand on the AN-124, and the Russian aviation technicians and mechanics managed to put them back into operation in just three days. In 1995 the Swifts visited Sweden again, and in 1997 the group visited Finland. Since 1991 the "Strizhi" aerobatic team performed 50 demonstration flights a year. Its pilots have visited more than 28 foreign countries. The team traditionally participates in Tushino air shows and air shows in Zhukovsky. The pilots of the squadron have repeatedly performed demonstration flights during numerous celebrations dedicated to various city anniversaries, including the 850th anniversary of Moscow.
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