Search is Underway for Pilot of Su-27, Reports Say No Survivors in L-39 Crash.

A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO codename “Flanker”) and an Aero L-39 Albatross jet trainer crashed in separate incidents yesterday, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Russia. According to Russian news outlets, a search is underway in difficult conditions at sea for the missing Su-27 pilot. The single crewmember onboard the Aero L-39 trainer is reported to have died in the crash.

A statement issued by Russia’s Ministry of Defence said that, “Around 08.10 pm Moscow time [17:10 GMT] on March 25, a Su-27 fighter flying a scheduled mission over the Black Sea at a distance of about 50 kilometres [31 miles] from the town of Feodosia, disappeared from radar screens. An emergency radio beacon signal was detected in the area”. The official news release went on to say that, “The search for the pilot in the area of the operation is complicated by difficult weather conditions”.

The emergency radio locator beacon could have been automatically triggered by the aircraft’s ejection sequence depending upon its configuration.

Official reports from the crash scene also suggest that the search and rescue mission currently underway is significant, including two rescue helicopters, a Russian Navy frigate and several civilian vessels.

The fatal crash of the Aero L-39 trainer took place in the southwestern Dmitrievskaya settlement, Krasnodar Region of Russia. Unspecified local authorities reported the death of the pilot.

The Sukhoi Su-27 is a highly versatile and capable multi-role, twin-engine, single and two seat combat aircraft built in many versions and used by Russia and a number of export air forces and navies. The Chinese Shenyang J-11 is based heavily on the Su-27 design template. The Su-27 first flew in 1977 and entered service with Russia’s armed forces in 1985. It is in service with Russia, Ethiopia, Angola, Ukraine and Indonesia. The aircraft has been used extensively in combat and has a proven record including service in the Syrian conflict since 2015.

The Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross is a ubiquitous and highly successful, economical single-engine, two-seat jet trainer and multirole aircraft. In recent years, some versions have been configured for the light attack role. The aircraft is also popular with private owners and private companies charged with the adversary aircraft simulation mission. It is operated through Asia, Russia and the west as one of the most prolific tactical aircraft currently flying.