One of the most remarkable pilots in the world – Anatoly Kvochur

Anatoly Kvochur (Анатолий Николаевич Квочур) was born in April 16, 1952 in the village of Mazurovka, Mohyliv-Podilskyi in the Vinnytsia Oblast of Ukraine. He is a Russian aerobatics test pilot and a Hero of the Russian Federation.


By Vitaly V. Kuzmin –, CC BY-SA 4.0,


He began service as a pilot in the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, served for two years before he was discharged from the Soviet Armed Forces in 1977 with a recommendation for admittance to the Test Pilot School at the Zhukovsky airfield. He graduated from the school in 1978, and till 1981 he worked as a test pilot at Komsomolsk-on-Amur, testing Su-17 aircraft and its modifications. He also studied further at the Moscow Aviation Institute, from whence he graduated in 1981.





He was transferred to the Mikoyan Design Bureau where he participated in the testing of more than 80 types of aircraft, including MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27, MiG-29, MiG-31, as well as air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. Since then he has appeared in numerous international air shows, showcasing Russian aircraft.

In 1995 Kvochur participated in a very long range flight demonstration of Su-27PD and Su-27PU Flankers featuring an inflight refueling probe. He led an aerobatic team, known as the Test Pilots Team (Lyotchiki-Ispyttahteli), which also included the pilots Vladimir Loginovskiy and Aleksander Gamayev.

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. When air refueled, Kvochur flown Su-27 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. Moreover, A Kvochur took part in almost every major air show.

Almost every air show hosting nation is eager to invite Kvochur, for his participation guarantees a spectacular aerobatics, with stunts changing each other without pauses at an extremely low altitude. One of the most vivid ones is of course the Cobra, when a plane brakes, hovering in midair with a very big angle of attack, which resembles cobra’s stance before it hits. Other figures include the Knife, when the plane moves forward with the 90-deg. turn, and the Bell. Being a test pilot since 1977 and having worked for the Mikoyan design bureau for over 10 years, Kvochur has been performing stunts ever since. He performed the Cobra in the early 1990s as part of the “Dogfight” program. It is worth mentioning here, that at that time the Su-27, with its superb characteristics, did not exist. Having performed this stunt that early, Kvochur proved its high effectiveness, thus opening a new era of the Russian combat aircraft employment.

He performed the Bell when a cadet of an Air Force college. Later he decided to make it more spectacular by avoiding rotation and working with the two engines separately. He also worked out safety rules. Nowadays, a lot of pilots perform the figure at an altitude of 1,000 m, while Kvochur can do it at 600 m.

Kvochur’s aerobatics can carry one away. His performance is called “little ballet”. Every movement of the aircraft is perfect.

Kvochur was involved in an air show accident in June 8, 1989 at the Paris Air Show. He was flying a single-seater Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum ‘Blue 303’, the latest fighter aircraft of the Soviet Union at the time. While executing a low-speed, high-angle attack portion of his routine, a bird was sucked into the turbofan of his right engine (a bird strike), causing the engine to burst into flames. Kvochur immediately turned the remaining engine to full afterburner. However his speed, at 180 kilometres per hour (110 mph), was too slow to maintain stability on one engine. Despite his efforts, the stricken aircraft went into a steep dive. Kvochur managed to steer the MiG away from the crowd and eject 2.5 seconds before impact. He landed 30 metres (98 ft) away from the fireball of the crashed plane.

The aircraft Kvochur was in  Zvezda K-36D ejection seat at that time, which also save the lives of the pilots of two MiG-29s that collided mid-air at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July 24, 1993, and the pilot and navigator of a Sukhoi Su-30 that crashed from a bird strike at the Paris Air Show in June 12, 1999

Currently he is  the Deputy Chief of the Gromov Flight Research Institute (ЛИИ), and widely regarded as one of the best Russian pilots.

Save the plane or “exit with an umbrella” ?

The first ejection seats were developed independently during World War II by Heinkel and SAAB. Early models were powered by compressed air and the first aircraft to be fitted with such a system was the Heinkel He 280 prototype jet-engined fighter in 1940.
They were were imperfect – pilots broke the arms and legs, split head and tore the inside of the air flow. Literally every improvement in ejection seats paid for someone’s life and health: Fixing clamps for hands, feet and head, catapulting through the glass canopy, etc.
The purpose of an ejection seat is pilot survival. The pilot typically experiences an acceleration of about 12–14 g (117–137 m/s2). Western seats usually impose lighter loads on the pilots; 1960s-70s era Soviet technology often goes up to 20–22 g (with SM-1 and KM-1 gunbarrel-type ejection seats). Compression fractures of vertebrae are a recurrent side effect of ejection.

The “standard” ejection system operates in two stages. First, the entire canopy or hatch above the aviator is opened, shattered, or jettisoned, and the seat and occupant are launched through the opening. In most earlier aircraft this required two separate actions by the aviator, while later egress system designs, such as the Advanced

Concept Ejection Seat model 2 (ACES II), perform both functions as a single action.
The ACES II ejection seat is used in most American-built fighters. The A-10 uses connected firing handles that activate both the canopy jettison systems, followed by the seat ejection. The F-15 has the same connected system as the A-10 seat. Both handles accomplish the same task, so pulling either one suffices. The F-16 has only one handle located between the pilot’s knees, since the cockpit is too narrow for side-mounted handles.

Non-standard egress systems include Downward Track (used for some crew positions in bomber aircraft, including the B-52 Stratofortress), Canopy Destruct (CD) and Through-Canopy Penetration (TCP), Drag Extraction, Encapsulated Seat, and even Crew Capsule.

A zero-zero ejection seat is designed to safely extract upward and land its occupant from a grounded stationary position (i.e., zero altitude and zero airspeed), specifically from aircraft cockpits. The zero-zero capability was developed to help aircrews escape upward from unrecoverable emergencies during low-altitude and/or low-speed flight, as well as ground mishaps. Parachutes require a minimum altitude for opening, to give time for deceleration to a safe landing speed. Thus, prior to the introduction of zero-zero capability, ejections could only be performed above minimum altitudes and airspeeds. If the seat was to work from zero (aircraft) altitude, the seat would have to lift itself to a sufficient altitude.

These early seats fired the seat from the aircraft with a cannon, providing the high impulse needed over the very short length on the cannon barrel within the seat. This limited the total energy, and thus the additional height possible, as otherwise the high forces needed would crush the pilot.

Zero-zero technology uses small rockets to propel the seat upward to an adequate altitude and a small explosive charge to open the parachute canopy quickly for a successful parachute descent, so that proper deployment of the parachute no longer relies on airspeed and altitude. The seat cannon clears the seat from the aircraft, then the under-seat rocket pack fires to lift the seat to altitude. As the rockets fire for longer than the cannon, they do not require the same high forces. Zero-zero rocket seats also reduced forces on the pilot during any ejection, reducing injuries and spinal compression.

And yet, the pilots continue to die, and often for one reason – trying to save the favorite plane, delayed the decision to “exit with an umbrella.”

Parachutes and catapults in aviation has always been disliked …





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