So what's this all about?

Sky Extreme ebook - author with MiG-31 at background.

Experts have warned.

War is coming to European borders as severe fights sweep East of Ukraine. Everyone knows that victory in a battle on much more than a super weapon. It’s the people using the weapons who achieve victory. This was proven by Ukrainian defenders of Donetsk airport who heroically restrained mad attacks for 242 days, even when the aggressor used the newest Russian weapon.

So, who are they? The soldiers of fallen Soviet Union?

The author of “Sky Extreme” served in fighter Air Force of Soviet Union for over 20 years and flew on supersonic interceptors Tu-128 and MiG-31.

The reader will experience an intimate journey of the destinies of a rare people profession—fighter pilots—and extreme situations that happened to the author and his friends. This riveting book will convey the mystery of emergencies at fighter aviation of USSR, which they tried to hide from the world.

Readers will escape into the adventure of the participant’s role in these emergencies, helping them make faster decisions to find the right solution in emergency situations.


In my 843-317-6546 I descibed causes and technical details based on my personal experience in operating Tu-128 and MiG-31 supersonic interceptors (18 years as military navigator, 1,500 flight hours, 13 missile launches).
This is an example story, one of many from my book.


Example Story - Dead Can't Defend Himself

Lieutenant Colonel Grigoriy Kulik was respected by the Omsk regiment’s high officers and inferiors for his high professionalism, honesty, and justice. He wasn’t only excellent in flying and dealing with training targets like a sniper. As a deputy squadron commander in charge of policy, he was constantly taking care of the service and living conditions of those who were under his command. He was a brilliant organizer of different activities, as in the regiment, so in the squadron.

During the flights scheduled for June 6 1985, Lieutenant Colonel G. Kulik, together with navigator Major V. Korolev, had to perform checks on the aircraft control equipment after maintenance.

In compliance with the flight manual, the aerodynamic balancing of the plane had to be checked in flight – counterpoising of the plane in different flight modes. In spite of the pilot’s actions at an altitude of 5000 m, the plane sharply turned to the left and started to descend. The flight speed began to increase quickly.

Lieutenant Colonel G. Kulik had a great deal of flying time in that types of planes. He knew the structure of the plane perfectly well. He skillfully operated Tu-128 systems and equipment. He had in the “military pilot-sniper” class. He had found himself in difficult situations many times. However, the plane’s control equipment hadn’t failed him before. After checking the sequence of his actions in cold blood, he made sure that there had been no mistake in operation of the plane’s control equipment on his part.

However, the out-of-control plane kept increasing speed and was approaching the ground headlong. The aircraft’s navigator noticed that the flight speed was getting closer to the top speed, and there was no tendency to correct the emergency. He suggested the aircraft commander to catapult.

G. Kulik couldn’t afford to leave an operable (from his point of view) plane. So, he continued his desperate attempts to level off the falling aircraft. Another reason he couldn’t abandon the plane was that he clearly saw a town along the flight track. His last thoughts were – the plane must not crash upon the town. Using his wealth of experience and making extra efforts, he finally managed to change the flight path and directed the plane aside from the town.

The flight speed exceeded the maximum allowable limit. That meant that, in a matter of minutes, a velocity pressure(10) of tremendous force would destroy the aircraft. There was no sense in staying on the plane. Major Korolev once again suggested the aircraft commander to catapult. Without getting his consent and finding himself in a critical situation, he independently made the decision to catapult and used the survival equipment at transonic speed.

The catapult installations activated in the second and the first cabin as they were supposed to. Their parachute systems snapped into action as well. The badly injured navigator landed safely and stayed at the hospital for a long time. However, the pilot’s life closed upon catapulting.

At the indicated speed of 1020 km/h, catapulting was carried out at the speed of 1100 km/h. At the time of catapulting, the solar-control filter on the aviator’s protective helmet didn’t fall completely but only by half. At such a tremendous speed, the solar-control filter played the role of a wing. Later, the experts established that the rupture of about 3500 kg was affecting the neck vertebrae of the aircraft commander at that moment according to estimations. There was no chance for G. Kulik to stay alive. A week later, he was going to celebrate his 50th anniversary.…

For the valor demonstrated in the performance of his military duty, the authorities of the regiment made a decision to report to the higher headquarters about offering a governmental reward to Lieutenant Colonel G. Kulik posthumously. However, senior officers at the higher headquarters were of a different opinion.

A state commission was established after the catastrophe to investigate the causes of that event. As a result of the case study, the commission came to the conclusion that the catastrophe was caused by the pilot’s mistake, who turned off the power supply of hydraulic amplifiers of rolling axes and course channels (during testing of the control system) and forgot to turn them back on. That could cause the out-of-control behavior of the plane. That is why the recommendation for a governmental award didn’t work out.

The cause of the catastrophe, suggested by the most experienced pilots of the Omsk regiment, was diametrically different. Knowing in detail the peculiarities of control system operation of the Tu-128 aircraft, Lieutenant Colonel Valeriy Hamzyuk, the deputy regiment commander for flying training didn’t agree with the commission’s conclusions. During his flight in the first flying shift after the catastrophe, he carried out the same actions that G. Kulik did in strict compliance with the flight manual and there was no failure of the plane’s control system. The flight ended well. By that flight, Lieutenant Colonel V. Hamzyuk confirmed that G. Kulik didn’t perform any erroneous actions during his flight. Only one thing could have caused the catastrophe – it was a failure of the control hydraulic system of the plane. There was no fault of the dead pilot.

The noble action of Lieutenant Colonel V. Hamzyuk was appreciated by the senior officers in their own way. The objective control group analyzed the actions of V. Hamzyuk during the flight. An overly efficient Chief Warrant Officer-2 was found, who reported to the “right person” that the pilot had ignored the conclusions of the State commission and performed the actions that the commission recognized to be erroneous and leading to the catastrophe during the flight. However, the thing was that Lieutenant Colonel V. Hamzyuk finished his flight successfully! By that flight, he demonstrated the incompetency of the members of the State commission. Saving the reputation of the commission, the 14th Army commander reprimanded V. Hamzyuk for “hooliganism in the air” and removed him from flights for a month to keep anyone from contesting the commission’s conclusions.

Such were the norms of life during USSR times.

Injustice was obvious, but it was impossible to change anything back then.

Viktor Korolev recovered and continued his flying work.

Grigoriy Kulik was best remembered by his brothers in arms for his honor, sacrificing his own life in order to save many lives of civilians.


About the Author

Oleksii Chaika was born in 1953 at Zaporizhia (Ukraine). He finished Stavropol Higher Military Aviation School with specialty “aeronavigation” and qualification “military navigator-engineer”. He flew supersonic long-range interceptors Tu-128 and MiG-31 for 18 years.
Oleksii was dreaming to become a writer. Sky Extreme is his first book where he describes about little-known facts from life of USSR air defense pursuit aviation pilots.