Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian MiG Flights

 

This book is a collection of "there I was" stories highlighting the experiences of Canadian Forces pilots who have had the opportunity of a lifetime to fly in the combat aircraft operated by former adversaries.  Technical descriptions of key Soviet-built fighter jets such as the MiG-15, MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-29, Sukhoi Su-22 and Su-27 are included for general reference.  The Canadian Fighter pilots mentioned in the story have generously provided their observations and comments on their specific experiences of flight in aircraft such as the MiG-29 (NATO codenamed Fulcrum), Sukhoi Su-22 (codenamed Fitter) and Su-27 (codenamed Flanker), both in Canada and overseas.  The stories as told first hand by the pilots who contributed them should provide interesting reading for aviation enthusiasts of all ages.

An Annex listing aircraft known to have been brought to the West by defecting pilots since 1949 is also included.  The Annex briefly describes pilots and aircraft and the circumstances that brought the various defectors to the west, including the MiG-15 flown to South Korea by Lieutenant No Kum-Sok and the MiG-25 flown to Japan by Lieutenant Viktor Belenko.  Brief details of Soviet-built aircraft later flown in NATO opposition force flight test programs are also included.

Canadian MiG Flights, author's article for CAPA: http://www.capa-acca.com/news/canadian_mig_flight.htm.

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MiGs

As a Canadian Army Intelligence officer I served with NORAD in Colorado Springs, and have put a few handbooks together on where many historic aircraft may still be found. I had been permitted to sit in the cockpit of a MiG-29 Fulcrum at Nellis AFB, Nevada, and found another at Tyndall AFB, Florida. While doing so, I wondered how many Canadians had flown in the MiGs and Sukhois brought west by visiting airmen or defecting pilots during and after the Cold War - only a handful as I learned after digging into the story. That is why I chose to write about Canadian Forces pilots who had flown MiGs and Sukhois, for both our Intelligence Branch Journal and Airforce Magazine a few years ago.
Very little exists on the subject, as the experiences of the pilots who had the privilege of flying former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact aircraft are only just being told. I found their stories to be fascinating, and hope that by sharing them with you, in the words of the pilots that had the experience, you will find it interesting as well.
I have always found the personal stories told in the words of those who had actually been there far more interesting than something reported second-hand. My father served in the RCAF and CF, retiring as a Warrant Officer at CFB Chatham in 1973. For his 70th birthday, he built his own Challenger Ultralite and learned to fly, accumulating several hundred hours of flight before he decided to sell the aircraft last year at the age of 85 because the flying time was interfering with his skiing time. His time in this life faded and he passed on in 2011, but he had lived well, and his experiences serving in the RCAF and CAF were what many of his most memorable stories were mostly about.
What drew me to the MiG flight story is the apparently abundant situational awareness and use of common sense these aviators consistently exhibited in the face of difficult situations. They appear to have learned, either by training or instinct, to observe their environment, orient themselves to face the situation, decide what to do, and then act on it – what we in the Army call the “OODA“ loop, with consistently positive results.
In the first-person account told by Major Wade, you see a number of examples where the OODA loop is called into play. Major Wade’s assessment of the situation of the visiting MiGs flying in from Alaska clearly finding themselves off course and the action he took to ensure the flight safety of fellow pilots were clear and obvious examples. Or it would be, if more people knew such practical and intelligent decisions were taking place as a matter of routine throughout the Canadian Forces now just as much as they did in my father’s day.
Those of us who had the good fortune to have served in the Canadian Forces with such high calibre people were very proud to have worn the uniform. For my colleagues and fellow aviation buffs, both retired and still serving, I hope you are writing your memoirs, for as I have found in writing military history, if we don’t tell our story, no one else will.

 (Vic Johnson Photo)

 (Vic Johnson Photo)

Top view of a Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum escorted by one of a pair of McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornets from 433 ETAC (note the 791 tail number and the Porcupine on the tail.) This escort was from Windsor, Ontario, to CFB Bagotville, Quebec. 441 “Silver Fox” Squadron escorted the Russians on another flight.
The MiG-29 Fulcrum in the photo is a single-seat version (Number 315). After transiting thorugh Alaska, the MiG’s first public appearance in North America took place during the Abbotsford International Air Show in British Columbia in August of 1989. 

 (Vic Johnson Photo)

 (Vic Johnson Photo)

 (Vic Johnson Photo)

McDonnell Douglas CF-188 Hornet flown by Lieutenant-Colonel Ray Levasseur, CO of 433 Escadrille tactique de combat (ETAC), escorting a MiG-29 Fulcrum (Serial No. 315), flown by Roman Taskaev, Soviet Air Force, in Canadian skies on 30 June 1990.

MiGs on display in Canada

 (Author Photo)

MiG-15/Lim-3, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

 (Jim Sedgewick Photo)

MiG-21, Comox Air Force Museum, CFB Comox, British Columbia.

 (Author Photo)

MiG-21, National Museum of the Royal Canadian Air Force, CFB Trenton, Ontario.

 (RCAF Photo)

MiG-23, Musée de la Défense Aérienne/Air Defence Museum, CFB Bagotville, Quebec.