Air to air view of two German Air Force MIG-29 fighters and two Air Force Reserve’s F-16 Fighting Falcons flying in a fingertip formation. In the foreground is the second left wing aircraft, a MIG-29, the left wing is a MIG-29, the lead aircraft is an F-16, the flag ship of the 302nd Fighter Squadron and on his right wing is the flag ship of the 944th Fighter Wing, both deployed from Luke Air Force Base. Arizona.
©Dmitry Terekhov ( https://flic.kr/p/8bn3nR )
The Ilyushin Il-80 (NATO reporting name: Maxdome) is a Russian airborne command and control aircraft. It is a modified Ilyushin Il-86 airliner.
Heavily modified from the Ilyushin Il-86, the Il-80 (also referred to as the Il-86VKP) is meant to be used as an airborne command center for Russian officials, including the President, in the event of nuclear war. The role of the Ilyushin Il-80 is similar to that of the Boeing E-4B. The Il-80 has no external windows (save those in the cockpit) to shield it from a nuclear blast and electromagnetic pulse. Only the upper deck forward door on the left and the aft door on the right remain from the standard design. There is only one airstair door, instead of three. An unusual baffle blocks the aft cockpit windows. This may serve to block EMP or RF pulses.
Unlike the standard Il-86 airliner, the Il-80 has two electrical generator pods mounted inboard of the engine nacelles. Each pod is approximately 9.5 metres (32 feet) long and 1.3 metres (4 feet) in diameter. Both pods include landing lights.
Like the E-4B, the aircraft has a dorsal SATCOM canoe, believed to house advanced satellite communications equipment, and a trailing wire antenna mounted in the lower aft fuselage for very low frequency (VLF) radio transmission and reception (likely for communication with ballistic missile submarines).
On the opening day (8th June 1989) Mikoyan test pilot Anatoly Kvochur was making a demonstration flight in the single-seater Mig-29 ‘303’ Blue. During the high-alpha/low-speed pass at 160m (525ft) that was to conclude the Fulcrum’s aerobatic display, the starboard engine surged, belching a sheet of flame. Kvochur immediately selected full afterburner for the working engine; however at 180km/h (111mph) he had insufficient rudder and aileron authority to counter the trust asymmetry and the result was inevitably an irrecoverable departure.
The engine failed at 13hrs 44mins 57sec; the stricken fighter immediately yawed and rolled to starboard, the nose “falling through” until the aircraft entered a vertical dive at 13:45:01. 2.5 seconds later Kvochur ejected at 92m (302ft) after making sure that the aircraft would not hit the spectators. At 13:45:05 the fighter hit the ground beside the runway erupting into a fireball. The pilot landed a mere 30m (98ft) from the wreckage, the ejection seat impacted right next to him.
To give a credit where credit is due, the airport’s rescue & fire-fighting team was on the scene 55 seconds after the crash. Kvochur was rushed to hospital, but was released the same day with nothing worse than bruises and a cut above his right eyebrow from the oxygen mask. Indeed he had been extremely lucky as he had ejected outside the seat’s operating envelope, not to mention the proximity of the fireballs and the falling ejection seat. Yet the incident spoke a lot for the design of the Zvezda K-36DM ejection seat, while the Mig-29 demonstrated its structural integrity by burying its entire forward fuselage, including the cockpit, in the ground before exploding.
The Mig-29 has suffered at least 2 lightning strikes immediately before the accident. However, EXAMINATION OF THE WRECKAGE AND THE FDR ANALYSIS REVEALED THAT THE STARBOARD ENGINE HAD BEEN CRITICALLY DAMAGED BY MULTIPLE BIRDSTRIKES.