Perhaps the most widely seen of the Russian display teams is the Gromov
Flight Test Research Institute based Test Pilots Team. Flying the Sukhoi Su-27P Flanker
and Sukhoi Su-30 Flankers the team often appears at shows on behalf of the Sukhoi Design
Bureau. Lead by Lithuaian born Anatoly Kvotchur, perhaps the best display pilot in the
world, the team flies solo and duo routines. They have appeared at all the major aerospace
exhibitions such as Farnborough, Paris and Dubai, as well as many of the big miliatry
events such as the International Air Tattoo.
Flightgear Online visited
Anatoli Kvotchur and the Test Pilots Team at their homebase Zhukovsky near Moscow.
Currently, A. Kvochur holds a position of Deputy Chief, Flight Research Institute named
after M.M. Gromov. Hence two interrelated spheres to apply his skills. They are flight
testing and scientific activities. Moreover, he is head of Flight Research and Aerobatics
center (FRAC) the name and concept of which incorporate the words pilot and
scientist. The center was set up in 1992. Its aim was to perform professional
aerobatics flying the Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft both in group and separately, and to
carry out research. He has been a test pilot since 1977 and having worked for the Mikoyan
design bureau for over 10 years.
One unusual characteristic of this team is that Anatoli himself pilots and prepares the
aircraft at shows, as well as flying large distances to satisfy demand for their exciting
shows. For instance, June 6th 1998 he flew from Moscow straight into a show in Finland.
Then he landed and refueled before taking off for Woodford Airshow in the UK. After flying
straight into his low level routine he again landed and refueled before taking off
straight into a display at Biggin Hill. The next day he flew another display at Biggin
Hill before refueling and flying straight back to Finland for his second display amassing
some 5000km flying over two days. He also has flown a Su-27 with a flight that covered
16,000 km within 24 hours with only three intermediate stops. This unique super long range
flight took place in March of 1995 and the plane flew from Moscow via Tashkent and
Singapore to Melbourne and back.
Anatoli is also known for his
MiG-29 ejection at the 1989 Paris Air Show. While flying he suffered an engine failure
that produced Kvotchurs most spectacular performance. Flying just over 100 miles per
hour at an altitude of about 500 feet, the right engine stalled and the Russian pilot had
to eject. As his K36DM ejection seat exited the cockpit, the aircraft rolled towards its
starboard side and then descended in an almost perfect nose-first vertical attitude. Less
than two seconds after Kvotchur punched out, the aircraft crashed to the ground.
Kvotchurs parachute opened fully the moment his feet touched the ground. He suffered
only minor injuries during the spectacle.
Anatoly Kvochur is
leader of the group that includes pilots Vladimir Loginovskiy and Alexander Garnayev. The
Su-27 No 598, 595, and Su-30 No 597 demonstrators used by the group are equipped with the
most sophisticated radio and navigation equipment, satellite navigation included, and they
feature air refueling system. Their flight range at a cruise speed of 900-1,000 km/h and
at an altitude of 12,000-15,000 m is about 4,000 km.
Anatoli and the other pilots of his team wear blue flight suits, most of the time the
pilots perform without g-suits. The helmets worn are the Zsh-7 versions, with at least one
of them being an Zsh-7AN with KM-35 mask.