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Sure, we’re talking about a Soviet twin-engine jet fighter aircraft that entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, but these puppies still are quite competitive. A little old maybe, but they remain one of the fastest in the line and seeing one suddenly taking off vertically shouldn't come as a surprise to any aviation enthusiast out there.


According to the person who posted the video on YouTube, the action involving the jet in question occurred at the recently concluded Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military airshow. The MiG-29 belongs to the Polish Air Force, which partially explains the vertical lift-off, considering we all know how skilled the Polish aviators are.

Getting back to the aircraft model in question, Fulcrum how NATO called the Mikoyan MiG-29, was developed by the Mikoyan design bureau as an air superiority fighter during the 1970s along with the larger Sukhoi SU-27. Even after the Soviet Union dissolved, the MiG-29 has remained a popular export aircraft, with more than 30 nations either operating or having operated the aircraft to date. India apparently is one of the largest export operators of the type.

As of 2013, the updated model is in production by Mikoyan, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) since 2006. The particular breed you see in the clip below can fly at Mach 2.25 and has top speed of almost 1,500 miles per hour.


 

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The power to weight ratio of an SLK55 is pretty good, but those things, it is phenomenal!

These Poles are showing that anything the US can do (I refer to the mighty sex-on-a-stick Raptor of course..), they can do with a fraction of the budget in a machine 20+ years older !
 

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When I was at Holloman AFB in NM in 1977, we received about 125 F-15's. For the first month or so, virtually all of our planes were coming in from the factory, so all of them had to be FCF'd (Functional checkout Flight). Everything took off just like that to about 50,000 feet straight up. It's good to see the Russian's catching up to 1977. Yeah I know that plane has been around for a while, we shot down a number of them with F-15's in the first gulf war. After a while, the Iraqis just started letting them get destroyed in their bunkers instead, instead of losing their pilots.
 

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Yup.. tis true.

Technically that's a vertical DEPARTURE. When McDonnel Douglas was building F-15s in St Louis, it was problematic to deliver them mixing them in with commercial traffic because they cruise much faster. So they developed the "St Louis Departure". They would be cleared to FL400 from mid field direct (ie cleared to climb from the middle of Lindberg Field, straight up to 40,000ft...and they could accelerate at least to the mid 20s).

Another MiG-29 story. When I was with the Luftwaffe (95-97) we visited the heavy maintenance/overhaul facility run by MBB. That's Messerschmitt... So we walk into the hall, and down one side are early 70s F-4E Phantoms and on the other former DDR Mig-29s) - surreal. But when you looked at the structure etc and the technology in the cockpit - very very similar. Keep in mind the F-4 was a 1960s airplane. It's advantage? The GIB (guy in back, better known as a RIO). Also the F-4s had been updated with F-16 state of the art radar. To kill another fighter you first have to find it... the Mig-29 radar was described as "looking through a 75 mile long soda straw"... because they were designed to engage directed by ground radar...once they engaged it was all eyeball. And if you could jam the ground radar or comms, they were useless.

Last factoid. We were told the Mig's engines had a 600hr life, but you could swap them out in 2hrs or less. Talk about plug and play!

I'm not a fan of the Raptor nor the F-35...for various reasons.
 

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I've seen this kind of thing many times. It's a staple at the Hillsboro International Air Show, of course; a vertical departure by an F-15, F-16, or F-18 is pretty common. I've seen it once at PDX as well, while waiting for my flight to board. A pair or Oregon ANG Eagles taxied out from their base across the runway from the terminal, so I knew that it wouldn't be long before they came back into view going the other way a lot faster. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later their noise announced their intention and shortly thereafter they appeared rolling hot. At the mid-point of the runway, they pitched vertical and disappeared into the standard-issue murky Oregon overcast.

Russian aircraft were always built to be robust and easy to maintain in primitive conditions. Their avionics were never up to NATO standards, but there were always a lot of them and as Stalin himself said, quantity has a quality all its own. I imagine that if you reworked a MiG-29 airframe to accept F-18 engines and avionics you would have a very capable fighter indeed.
 
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