Air Force Confirms Su-27 Flanker On Display At Dayton Museum Was Bought By USAF In 2011

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The Sukhoi Su-27 throughout the plane transfer from restoration to the Chilly Battle Gallery on the Nationwide Museum of the U.S. Air Pressure on Oct. 25, 2023. (U.S. Air Pressure photograph by Ty Greenlees)

Extra fascinating particulars in regards to the considerably mysterious story of the Su-27UB Flanker C “61 Blue” are rising: for the primary time, the U.S. Air Pressure has revealed they purchased the Sukhoi in 2011.

Final yr, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, acquired a former Ukrainian Air Force Su-27UB Flanker C that has been restored and is at present on show within the Chilly Battle Gallery of the museum at Wright-Patterson Air Pressure Base.

Together with the one other two-seat Su-27 (N131SU/31 blue), the Su-27UB Flanker C “61 Blue” (c/n 96310408027, f/n 05-02, constructed on Mar. 30 1988), now carrying civilian registration N132SU/”32 blue”, was in-built 1989 and served first within the Soviet Navy after which the Ukrainian Air Pressure after the Soviet Union collapsed.

The Sukhoi Su-27 on show subsequent to the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29A within the Chilly Battle Gallery on the Nationwide Museum of the U.S. Air Pressure.(U.S. Air Pressure photograph by Ken LaRock)

As defined in particulars in a previous story, the 2 plane had been purchased from the Ukrainian Authorities by an organization known as Terralliance Applied sciences for use in a scheme to seek out oil and fuel. Terralliance, that operated within the oil exploration enterprise between 2004 and 2009, paid 22 million USD for the 2 jets, in addition to greater than 4 million USD for an choice to buy two others, and employed Pleasure Plane to disassemble the plane, put them again collectively as soon as within the U.S., set up western avionics and make them airworthy once more.

Meridican Capital LLC supplied financing and that is the explanation why the plane was registered to the corporate.

The Sukhoi Su-27 throughout the plane transfer from restoration to the Chilly Battle Gallery on 10/25/2023 on the Nationwide Museum of the U.S. Air Pressure.(U.S. Air Pressure photograph by Ken LaRock)

The Su-27s by no means flew a mission for Terralliance: the corporate ran out of cash in 2009 and the Flankers had been bought to the U.S. Authorities. A certificates of airworthiness was issued to Pleasure by the FAA in December 2009; a second COA was issued for the Su-27 in 2010 to Tactical Air Support, an organization that gives contract adversary air companies to U.S. army forces.

The plane, based mostly at Rockford airport, Illinois, had been operated for a while by Tactical Air Help retaining their Ukrainian splinter camouflage, solely changing the “61 Blue” tactical code with a brand new “32 Blue”.

The Sukhoi Su-27 throughout the plane transfer from restoration to the Chilly Battle Gallery on 10/25/2023 on the Nationwide Museum of the U.S. Air Pressure.(U.S. Air Pressure photograph by Ken LaRock)

They had been later bought once more in 2011, though the brand new proprietor was not disclosed. Their airworthiness certificates expired in 2013 and Flankers had been faraway from the US register in 2018. Nonetheless, what they had been used for between 2011 and 2023, when the Nationwide Museum of the U.S. Air Pressure managed to accumulate “32 Blue”, has by no means been disclosed: somebody recommended that TacAir continued to function the Su-27 for adversary companies whereas others stated that the Sukhois had been transferred to the U.S. Air Pressure to carry out comparable actions as a part of a overseas materials exploitation program.

Lastly, affirmation got here from the Museum’s web site which, on the recently-published page dedicated to the Su-27, says that the US Air Pressure purchased it in 2011. It’s the first time this data has been disclosed.

The Sukhoi Su-27 throughout the plane transfer from restoration to the Chilly Battle Gallery on 10/25/2023 on the Nationwide Museum of the U.S. Air Pressure.(U.S. Air Pressure photograph by Ken LaRock)

The Pink Hats

For a number of many years, the U.S. Air Pressure has maintained and flown a fleet of overseas plane for each analysis and adversary coaching.

The Pink Hats was the nickname of a gaggle of pilots and engineers of the 4477th Check and Analysis Squadron (4477 TES), a USAF squadron whose nickname was “Pink Eagles” outfitted with MiG-17s, MiG-21s and MiG-23s and created to reveal the tactical air forces to the flight traits of fighter plane utilized by Soviet Union throughout the Chilly Battle underneath undertaking Fixed Peg. At present the Pink Hats have change into an unnumbered unit inside the Detachment 3, AFTC take a look at wing. The unit, working from Groom Lake, operates a wide range of Russian-developed plane, together with the MiG-29 and the Su-27P, one in every of which was observed dogfighting with an F-16 inside Area 51 back in 2016.



On Sept. 5, 2017, Lt. Col. Eric Schultz was killed in an a mysterious crash 100 miles Northwest of Nellis AFB within the Nevada Check and Coaching Vary, halfway between Tonopah Check Vary and Groom Lake.

Hypothesis in regards to the crash was fueled by Air Pressure media releases that didn’t point out the kind of plane that was being flown by Lt. Col. Schultz on the identical day when the accident occurred. There was additionally a delay within the story reaching information media that raised additional questions for the reason that accident was reported after one other, unrelated accident involving two A-10s, was reported sooner.

However AviationWeek.com correspondent Man Norris wrote on September 11, 2017, that “Sources point out Schultz was the Pink Hats squadron commander on the time of his dying. The Pink Hats grew to become an unnumbered unit inside the Detachment 3, AFTC take a look at wing after the 413th flight take a look at squadron (previously 6513th take a look at squadron) was deactivated in 2004.”

In 2022, author Steve Davies, citing two unnamed sources, provided an unconfirmed account of the incident in a video on his YouTube channel stating that “Doc” Schultz had been killed on the controls of an Su-27UB Flanker-C on the time.

The present standing of the Flanker N131SU/31 blue is unknown and for that reason there are possibilities the opposite former Ukrainian Air Pressure Su-27UB was the Flanker concerned within the crash at Space 51 that value the lifetime of “Schultz



 

 

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and lots of others, overlaying aviation, protection, battle, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Pressure, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.

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