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The collapse of the MiG-23 in Belgium in 1989 (4 photos + text)

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July 4, 1989 in a densely populated area of ​​Belgium near the city of Curtre
there was a dramatic event that shook the locals and amazed
aviation specialists around the world.
On a clear, undisturbed day, the private house of the Delauer family rammed the combat aircraft ... with Soviet identifying marks! From the injuries died Belgian young man. The pilot was not injured, because an hour before the tragedy he catapulted from a fighter and landed safely on Polish soil. MiG-23 flew from Poland to Belgium without a pilot!
A unique case in the history of aviation in the then political situation received an undesirable color for the Soviet Union. Therefore, an unpleasant incident tried to quickly hush up. His immediate participant? military pilot Colonel Nikolai Egorovich Skurndin? recommended "not really spread."
In the summer of 1989, the year ended, as Colonel Skuridin served in the Northern Group of Forces.Nikolai Egorovich held the high post of head of the political department of the air division, which obliged him, in particular, to carry out independent flights. On July 4, he was preparing to fly the MiG-23 from the airfield of the regiment, which was based near the town of Kolobrzeg (the Baltic coast of Poland).
As usual, the plane confidently off the ground. But as soon as the pilot began to climb, the fighter shook the strongest blow. Perhaps a bird got into the air intake. It happened at the 41st second of the flight, at an altitude of only 90 meters! The speed dropped sharply, the MiG began to decline ... Skuridin barely had time to turn the plane away from the city towards the sea and ejected. Before landing, the pilot managed to notice how the fighter crossed the coastline and was lost against the background of blue waves.
In the meantime, locators gave out information about the loss of a facility somewhere in the coastal waters region. A pair of fighters that flew out after an emergency MiG did not detect it. The command began to calm down, judging that a serious flight incident ended fairly well? without human victims. The fact that the MiG-23 fell into the sea, no one doubted
Meanwhile, the plane left without a pilot was plying the airspace of Germany. German air defense was not up to par until its fighters tried to overtake the MiG, it had already crossed the border with Belgium. The reports of the German pilots that they allegedly flew close to the Soviet fighter and, surprised, examined, the empty cockpit was most likely just a fiction. Almost all military aircraft have photographic equipment. A shot of a silver MiG with red stars on board and without a pilot in the cockpit, and even against the background of the German interceptors, would cost a lot of money and go around many world newspapers. But there were no such photos.
Scuridin's fighter was in the air for just over an hour. The officer himself during this time managed to visit the hospital, take x-rays (because he had hurt himself while descending by parachute) and appeared at headquarters. And here the radio station “from abroad” reports that the Soviet MiG-23, airborne number 29, landed safely in the vicinity of Brussels. The plane destroyed the fence of one of the houses, a wing broke the veranda, on which, unfortunately, was a young man. Listening to the message, Colonel Skuridin and other staff officers were shocked.How could a faulty fighter, and even without a pilot, be in Belgium?
Later it turned out that the autopilot had saved the MiG-23 crash. The regiment was made to turn it on the ground and not turn it off during the entire flight. Quite strangely behaved engine. The film from the "black box" recorded the following. At the 41st second of the flight there was a sharp drop in speed (it was not possible to establish the cause, since the main part of the equipment was not returned). In this state, the engine was 15 seconds, then revs increased again. At this time, the pilot has already catapulted. Further, the engine speed increased to the maximum, and after 20 seconds again fell. Automatic their increased again. Soon, the engine performance parameters returned to normal and were held until the end of the fuel in the tanks.
After the engine stopped, the fighter began to plan. Decreasing, the aircraft gained speed and due to its aerodynamic qualities, with the current autopilot, it returned to horizontal flight. This was repeated several times. On the last cycle, the MiG literally got used to the ground and remained unharmed.
A few days after what happened in Belgium, a group of representatives of the Ministry of Defense visited. No fault of the pilot found.Litigation erupted between the Ministry of Aviation Industry and the engineering aviation service. The fact is that the engine, as it turned out, was repaired 5 times during the year. However, the commission did not find out the reason for its unstable work.
Commenting on the incident, the then First Deputy Commander of the Air Force, Lieutenant General E. Shaposhnikov, said: "The case in aviation history is unique. There has never been such a situation when the combat vehicle left by the pilot makes such a long uncontrolled flight."

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