July 27th 2002 Sknyliv Airshow Disaster SU-27 Crash

The aircraft, flown by two experienced pilots, entered a rolling maneuver and suffered a loss of power on both engines.Although the pilot then initiated emergency re-start and managed to regain some power he was unable to pull out of decent, the left wing dropped shortly before the aircraft hit the ground, at which point the crew initiated ejection. The aircraft flattened out initially, skidding over the ground towards stationary aircraft, striking a glancing blow against the nose of an Il-76 transport aircraft before beginning to explode and cartwheel into the crowd of spectators. Both pilots survived with minor injuries from the ejection and landed just a few feet away from the transport aircraft. Both pilots were framed for this crash.Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma publicly blamed the military for the disaster and dismissed the head of the air force, Volodymyr Strelnykov. The defense minister Volodymyr Shkidchenko sent in his resignation, but it was rejected by Kuchma.

On June 24, 2005, a military court sentenced pilot Volodymyr Toponar and co-pilot Yuriy Yegorov to fourteen and eight years in prison, respectively. The court found the two pilots and three other military officials guilty of failing to follow orders, negligence and violating flight rules. Two of the three officials were sentenced to up to six years in prison, and the last official received up to four
years. In addition, Toponar was ordered to pay 7.2 million hryvnia ($1.42 million; €1.18 million) in compensation to the families, and Yegorov another 2.5 million hryvnia. The crew's main flight trainer was acquitted for lack of evidence.

While the pilots were assigned the majority of the blame, which included accusations of attempting
maneuvers that they were not experienced with, Toponar had requested an additional training flight at the airfield where the display was to be performed; this request was denied.

After the verdict was announced, Toponar said he planned to appeal, insisting the crash was due to technical problems and a faulty flight plan.


By: SlothropSez (1.50)

Tags: ukraine, airshow, disaster, SU-27

Location: Sknyliv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine