Belarusian pilots set 15 world records flying modernised fighter MiG-29BM. Just recently the Belarusian Aircraft Sport Federation received a confirmation that all the records set by the army pilots had been approved and entered the official book of world records of the Fйdйration Aйronautique Internationale. After diplomas were awarded, the correspondent met with the record-breakers.
So, meet ace pilot, chief of the flight test station of the 558th aircraft repairs plant Colonel Alexander Bochkarev, first class pilot, chief air traffic safety inspector of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defence Lieutenant Colonel Vyacheslav Brovchenko and first class pilot, chief navigator of the navigation service of the 61st air fighter base Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Kovalev. They set over dozen world records in four flights — time to climb to a height and speed over a closed circuit.
Of course, records are not easy to come by. The pilots worked hard to get fit for that. First, on the ground using a flight simulator recently acquired by the army. Over 150 times the pilots rose into the virtual sky to perfect flight routines. After making sure the record-breaking is feasible in the real sky, they decided to demonstrate capabilities of the Russian fighter, which had been modernised by a Belarusian company, to official observers of the Fйdйration Aйronautique Internationale.
“We had no doubt we’d be successful,” said Colonel Alexander Bochkarev. “Actually MiG-29 is a fine aircraft. After the modernisation its capabilities neared those of the fifth generation of aircraft. If previously the fighter’s correctness of arrival at a destination point varied up to 700 metres, after a modern navigation system was installed the figure shrank almost 10-fold! An improved targeting and navigation system as well as the in-flight refuelling capability made MiG-29BM a multipurpose aircraft with hugely expanded battle application area”.
“Which record was the hardest to break?” I asked the pilots.
“Perhaps, the flight speed over a 100km closed circuit, because the fuel amount was fixed,” reckons Vyacheslav Brovchenko. “Colonel Bochkarev did just fine!”
“For us like sportsmen the most important thing is assigning the required amount of efforts for every stage. In our case it was the flying program. If there is an error, victory is not an option,” explains Alexander Bochkarev. “And the flight itself did not differ much from others. Maybe, just the fact that there was additional measuring equipment on board and on the ground”.
Lieutenant Colonel Brovchenko, who set 12 out of the 15 world records, sees nothing special in his “sky races”.
“Just usual, simple good work with maximum attention paid. Some flights were supposed to break several records at a time,” he explains.
Later a modernised MiG-29BM was on show at the international aviation and space salon MAKS 2005 in Moscow and evoked much interest of representatives of many countries. Today this aircraft together with a modernised Su-27UBM, which was modernised by the same 558th aircraft repairs plant and caused an uproar at the international arms expo MILEX-2005, are on duty in the Belarusian air fighters fleet.
Asked whether the pilots would be ready to break their own records if MiG-29BM had been modernised more profoundly, they said, “First the mastery of the existing capabilities should be perfected, then we will see…”
[i]by Viktor Semakov[/i]