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An incredible Russian adventure - inspire yourself for a fighter ride. Fly MiG-29, MiG-31 in Russia

Based on a real customer story we try to show you what you are likely to experience during your day at Sokol while preparing and flying a MIG fighter. We hope our visual materials and customer impressions will inspire you to take our once in a lifetime jet ride.

My big day started early, since I didn’t sleep much the night before. I was excited. For an "aviation nut", the prospect of flying in a MIG-29 was going to be something special...

1. PILOT BRIEFING AND MEDICAL CHECK
It started with meeting with the test pilot, Andrey. Andrey set out the flight in detail, describing each manoeuvre and listing the technical terms we’d use. He said he’d ask me before and after each manoeuvre if I was okay; if I replied Okay, we’d go on; if I didn't answer, or said No he would terminate the flight at that point. The procedure for communication if the intercom failed was also spelt out: I was to shake the control stick left to right for two seconds, stop, and then shake it left to right for another two seconds. 

Andrey also explained the emergency procedure for the ejector seats. If a major emergency developed, he would discard the cockpit canopy; then I, being in the rear seat, would eject first and he would follow. 

Afterwards a doctor gave me a medical fitness check and I was told I was fit to take my flight. At that point I signed a document, taking responsibility for the risks involved. 

The next step was the G-suit: Weird! I undressed and put on some kind of frog-coloured pyjamas, and two nice ladies helped me on with a rather strange-looking tight suit. In case of high G-loads, it’s supposed to squeeze the body to prevent the blood from flowing downwards .Then my helmet was adjusted and the communication system checked. One of the staff taught me how to take the oxygen mask on and off. I was ready to go! 

Pilot Briefing and Medical Check

G-suit, and Other Pilot Equipment

Pilot briefing, fly MIG fighter
G-suit, fly MIG fighter
Technical terms explanation (mach, g-loads, sound barrier); aerobatics introduction; flight route shown on the map.
Blood pressure and general fitness medical check
Put on a special g-suit and pilot boots, learn how to use oxygen mask. View pilot equipment

2. G-SUIT AND PRE-FLIGHT PLANE INSPECTION
Inside the cockpit the seats were extremely comfortable and all the instruments were very easy to read once Andrey had taken the time to explain them. The base mechanic strapped me in, checked everything and the large hatch sealed us in. 

Andrey started the right engine, then the left, and you could feel the power like a capped volcano waiting to erupt. The indicator lights glowed brightly on the panel. This lump of metal and plastic was awake! It seemed to be vibrating with a life of its own. Of course, it was Andrey bringing the MiG to life. 

Pre-flight Plane Inspection

MIG-29 Take-off

MIG-29 preflight inspection
MIG-29 take-off
Pre-flight jet inspection, plane systems and controls explained MiG-29 take-off

3. AEROBATICS AND EDGE OF SPACE FLIGHT, LANDING
The sensation of flying was incredible. Then it happened: Andrey took a sharp left and then a hard right turn, and we were heading quickly up to 50,000 feet and supersonic speeds. The G-force meter continued to climb, and the hand of the altimeter seemed to circle again and again. I looked down and there it was: the Mach meter showing 1.5. Andrey pointed out that 2.5 times the speed of sound feels much the same at 1.5, so why not do some stunts while we were insupersonic. "Yes Sir!" I replied, and off we went. A double roll, another roll in four stages, an opportunity to try my hand at it, an upside down, and then the climb, going vertical, stopping, falling straight toward the ground, turning tip down and back to vertical. WHOO-AAHHH! Again! Again! The G-forces were out of sight. The pressurized G-suit was getting as much of a workout as my body, as I felt each time the G force increased and the pressure in the suit responded. 

The landscape was amazing. I could see the boundary between the sky and space, I mean, a layer of white (clouds, thousands of feet below us), a blue band on the horizon and the sky getting gradually darker. I could even see the curvature of the Earth! 

Talk about a dream come true! There are just not enough words to express how it felt. But let me lay a few on you anyway: fantastic, amazing, extraordinary, inconceivable, incredible, unbelievable, excellent, fabulous, great, marvelous, super, terrific, tremendous, wonderful, grand, awesome... Yet none of them, nor any combination, really does it. 

Then it was time to land. The touch-down was as smooth as silk, but what else, with a pilot who can perform tail-slides with Andrey’s finesse? During descent, I was allowed to hold the stick and test the pedals for a few minutes. Yes, for a moment I actually controlled the aircraft! 

Aerobatics and Edge of Space Flight

MiG landing

Flight to the edge of space on MIG fighter
MIG fighter landing
Supersonic flight on MiG fighter, pull high g-loads, experience advance aerobatics, flight to the stratosphere, see the edge of space. View aerobatic manoeuvres in detail Jet landing, photos with pilot, receipt of the official certificate

We came to a stop at the MiG-29 bay. A sense of victory floods your being as you pull yourself out of the cockpit. I felt as if I’d been in the movie, Top Gun. What a ride! Back on the ramp with an ear-to-ear smile that'll take days to unfreeze. A handshake from Andrey as he stands in the front cockpit seat. 

When I returned to the hotel, I still couldn’t really believe on what had just happened. I was quite drained after the flight, but I also had the unique sensation of a dream that had finally come true. I’d made it!

It’s time now for some rest, enjoy the city of Nizhny Novgorod. View video
 
       
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