Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Russian Knights (Russkiye Vityaze) Aerobatic Team

Russian Knights aerobatic team is an aerobatic team of the Russian Air Force. Russian Knights better known as 'Russkiye Vityaze' in Russian. Russian Knights aerobatic team was formed in mid-1991. Initially the first aerobatic team was formed in 1989 when the 1st Air Squadron Aircraft Demonstration Centre received their Sukhoi SU-27 Flanker fighter jets. Experienced Russian Air Force top pilots quickly adapted a new technique of the new SU-27 Flanker.They started training in the pairs, triples and four aircrafts in formed of 'Diamond'.

The first team pilots was Anatoly Arestov (leader), Aleksander Dyatlov (left wingman), Ivan Kirsanov (right wingman) & Vladimir Bukin (tail). The pilots successfully overcome the difficulties to perform group maneuvering of SU-27 Flanker jets.

In 1991 Russian Knights aerobatic team finally formed with 6 SU-27 Flanker long range fighter jets. An aerobatic members of Russian Knights at that time was Vladimir Basov (team leader), Aleksandr Dyatlov (left wingman), Sergei Ganichev (right wingman), Vladimir Bukin (tail), Vladimir Bazhenov (outer left) & Alexander Lichkun (outer right). The team finally named as Russian Knights which was based on Russian folk tales, war spirit & unique image formed.

Russian Knights first abroad airshow was in Poznan, Poland in August 1991. A single Russian Knights SU-27 Flanker piloted by Vladimir Bazhenov exhibited in aerial display. Later, Russian Knights visited UK. 6 SU-27 Flanker was fly to United Kingdom where 4 of the Russian Knights SU-27 Flanker performed aerial display.

After UK visit, Russian Knights visited Praque, Czechoslovakia with 1 unit of SU-27 Flanker was exhibited in aerial display piloted by Vladimir Gryzlov & Igor Tkachenko.
On December 1991, 1 SU-27UB Flanker invited to LIMA 91 airshow in Langkawi, Malaysia. The SU-27 of Russian Knights impressed visitors at LIMA airshow.

In June 1992, 2 Russian Knights SU-27 visited Portland, United States of America for an airshow followed with Alaska. Russian Knight was invited for 50th Anniversary of 'Normandy-Neman' in French in Spetember 1992. During that anniversary, Russian Knights aerobatic team performed with French famous aerobatic team, Patrouille de France.

In April 1993, Russian Knights was invited to Leeuwarden Air Show, Holland. Russian Knights also participated in Abbottford Air Show in Canada in August 1993. Russian Knights make it's apppearance for inaugural MAKS International Air Show at Moscow in September 1993.

Russian Knights make a comeback at LIMA 1993 Air Show in Langkawi, Malaysia. 2 of Russian Knights SU-27 Flankers fly from Kubinka Air Base through Tashkent, New Delhi, Calcutta, Yangon & Vietnam before reaching Langkawi. 2 Russian Knights SU-27 Flanker piloted by Vladimir Bazhenov, Alexander Lichkun, Vladimir Gryolov & Boris Grigoriev was exhibited in aerial displays performanced.

5 SU-27 Flanker of Russian Knights exhibited for the third time during LIMA 1995. 4 SU-27 Flanker exhibited in aerial display during LIMA 1995. On the way back from Langkawi to their air base, 3 SU-27 Russian Knights crashed onto mountain at Cam Ranh Air Base, Vietnam. That incident killed four pilots of Russian Knights.

After 1995 incident, Russian Knights team flew again in 1996. They participated at SAID 97 airshow in Bratislava, Slovakia.

In 2002 Russian Knights Aerobatic Team & Strizhi (Swift) Aerobatic Team flew in jointly formation for the first time. Until now Russian Knights & Swifts / Strizhi still fly in joint formation of both team at airshow especially in Russia.

In 2009, during aerial display training for MAKS 2009 Airshow, 1 SU-27 of Russian Knights crashed and killing it's team leader, Igor Tkachenko.

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