MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. The arrival of Su-30SM and Su-35 fighter jets for Russia’s Aerospace Force allowed pilots to fly beyond-critical angles of attack, which boosted maneuvering capabilities, Russian Knights Aerobatic Group Commander Sergei Shcheglov told TASS on Monday on occasion of the group’s 30th anniversary celebrated on April 5.
"What was considered as a critical mode for an aircraft when it could not be controlled is now quite a controllable regime. Earlier, a tailspin was something beyond something permissible whereas today it is quite a correct maneuver. The planes are very good, offer vast capabilities and indeed, our aircraft are among the best in the world," the commander said.
Su-30SM and Su-35 fighters have preserved the aerodynamics of their Su-27 predecessor but have acquired more powerful thrusters and advanced avionics, he said. "This is a completely different generation of aircraft. They carry a more accurate navigation system and offer expanded combat employment capabilities," the commander of the Russian Knights aerobatic group said.
Compared to the Su-27, the new planes are more maneuverable and easier to handle, he said. "Now an aircraft has become a more pilot-friendly: it makes it possible to keep piloting and not to get distracted so as not to go beyond critical parameters, such as an angle of attack and loads. Even when aerodynamic control tools are not sufficient, an aircraft will activate a controlled thrust vector. This makes the new aircraft differ from the Su-27," the commander said.
The Russian Knights aerobatic group practiced a set of new stunts when the pilots started to fly Su-30SM fighters. They showed them during their performance in Malaysia using the ‘Maneuver’ regime. It allows controlling the aircraft with the speed cut to zero and accomplishing aerobatic maneuvers at beyond-critical angels of attack, he said.
For the first time since the Soviet period, Su-30 and Su-35 fighters have become comfortable for pilots, in particular, they have received heater-equipped seats, Shcheglov said.
"In the Soviet Union, attention was paid to aircraft capabilities while no one thought about comfortable conditions in the pilots’ cockpit. For example, fighter aircraft were on combat duty in the Extreme North while no one took care of seat heaters: pilots had to somehow use the air conditioners for heating. And now the cockpit has both seat heaters and a very comfortable air conditioner: you turn it down for the cold regime and turn it up for the heat," the commander said.
Besides, the Su-35 is outfitted with autonomous equipment that helps turn on air conditioning and power aboard with the engines switched off, he said. "This is very important for preparing the aircraft on the ground and in the absence of ground equipment, for example, when preparing the plane for another takeoff at an intermediate landing airfield," the head of the Russian Knights aerobatic team said.
Aces from Kubinka
The Russian Knights are the world’s sole aerobatic team demonstrating complex stuns flying heavy Su-30SM and Su-35 fighters and previously Su-27 jets. The aerobatic group was set up on April 5, 1991 on the basis of the 1st aviation squadron of the Aircraft Demonstration Center at the Kubinka airfield.
Su-35 jets arrived for the aerobatic group for the first time in November 2019. In July 2020, the group completed its rearmament for Su-35 fighters after four new planes redeployed from the aircraft manufacturer’s premises to the air group’s base in Kubinka outside Moscow. In 2016, Su-30SM fighters arrived for the Russian Knights aerobatic group.