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Posted: 8/28/2004 6:58:49 PM EST
Something brought this topic up in The Neutral Observer's mind this week. A number of Soviet/WP pilots defected to the West with their aircraft during the Cold War. One of the most famous examples of this was the pilot that flew his MiG-25 to Japan. The US returned the airplane to the Soviets...in crates, after ripping it to peices and examining it in detail.

The Cold War is over, but the stories are still interesting. Does anyone on the board have any defection stories they read about somewhere or heard about?
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:23:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/28/2004 7:32:58 PM EST by MiG-21]
Capt. Alexander Zuyev. Flew a MiG-29 to Turkey in 1989. A good book about it called "Fulcrum". One of the funny things in it was that the airport he landed at was shut down for the off season and had only an old caretaker on it. Zuyev hopped down and said "I am American", the only English he knew. He also flew with an AK round through his shoulder after shooting it out with a ramp guard. The reason he got that far was by baking a drug laced cake that put the alert pilots to sleep.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:27:38 PM EST
One of my my former bosses debriefed Viktor Belenko.

Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:34:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By omar:
One of my my former bosses debriefed Viktor Belenko.




Interesting. It's The Neutral Observer's understanding that there is a book out on Lt. Belenko's defection also. The Neutral Observer hasn't read it, but needs to pick it up.

The Neutral Observer is curious about that case, particularly the fuel state of the fighter (and how it got that way) when it landed in Japan. The Neutral Observer is also curious about how Lt. Belenko came to his decision to defect.

Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:35:03 PM EST
There were also non-Soviet pilot who defected. N.Korean with a MiG-15 in the '50s and I believe some Cubans as well.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:42:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By MiG-21:
There were also non-Soviet pilot who defected. N.Korean with a MiG-15 in the '50s and I believe some Cubans as well.



Soviets, N. Koreans, Czechs, Cubans, Poles, Rumanians, Chinese, and plenty of Arabs. Those are ones The Neutral Observer knows of.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:51:55 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 4:27:31 AM EST by omar]

The Neutral Observer is curious about that case, particularly the fuel state of the fighter (and how it got that way) when it landed in Japan. The Neutral Observer is also curious about how Lt. Belenko came to his decision to defect.


His marriage was on the skids and he had enough of the system.

I had an opportunity to visit the Japanese airfield he landed at in 1983 and speak with the controllers who were working when it happened. I believe the overcast was around 1200 feet. he orbited the field once and landed on empty. It all happened very fast and they had no warning.

Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:56:24 PM EST
your third person shit cracks me up. i have this internet mental image of you being an englishman with one of those uppity accents.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:56:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By omar:

The Neutral Observer is curious about that case, particularly the fuel state of the fighter (and how it got that way) when it landed in Japan. The Neutral Observer is also curious about how Lt. Belenko came to his decision to defect.


His marriage was on the skids and he enough of the system.

I had an opportunity to visit the Japanese airfield he landed at in 1983 and speak with the controllers who were working when it happened. I believe the overcast was around 1200 feet. he orbited the field once and landed on empty. It all happened very fast and they had no warning.




The Soviets had precautions in place to prevent defection (in some cases, at least), and the MiG-25 never had much range to begin with. How did he make it all the way to Japan without ending up in the ocean?
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:58:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By Sierra_Hombre:
your third person shit cracks me up. i have this internet mental image of you being an englishman with one of those uppity accents.



Not too far off on that one.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 7:59:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By The_Neutral_Observer:

Originally Posted By Sierra_Hombre:
your third person shit cracks me up. i have this internet mental image of you being an englishman with one of those uppity accents.



Not too far off on that one.



man, i'm good.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 8:05:19 PM EST
during the korean war, some guy defected with a mig-15. there was a 50,000 reward for a mig at the time. the pilot claimed he didn't know of the bounty but he got the money anyway, plus a 50,000 bonus.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 8:06:56 PM EST
Belenko was a good pilot. He also was based near Japan. He ran out of fuel as he touched down in Japan. Zuyev put all his cronies to sleep and took off. The funny part is the Soviets got their stuff back but in boxes. The pilots were the more valuable part of the transaction. Lots of good intel from them.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 8:12:50 PM EST

The Soviets had precautions in place to prevent defection (in some cases, at least), and the MiG-25 never had much range to begin with. How did he make it all the way to Japan without ending up in the ocean?


Japan isn't that far. The Rooshins still occupy the Kuril Islands and Sakhaline Peninsula and this is a source of considerable irritation to the Japanese.

Here's a pic of an AN-26 and DC-3 from Cubana Airlines sitting on the flight line at Key West, FL. There was an AN-2 Colt there, too, but some guy bought it for around 8K when the USG auctioned it.

Link Posted: 8/28/2004 8:13:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By ARDOC:
The pilots were the more valuable part of the transaction. Lots of good intel from them.



That's certainly the truth.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 8:16:19 PM EST
Ever wonder why Soviet trainers had a range under 100 miles?
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 9:15:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/28/2004 9:20:37 PM EST by KA3B]
In the afternoon of September 6, 1976, with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining, a MiG-25, one of Soviet Russia's most prized and secret weapons, broke through the clouds above Hakodate, Japan, narrowly avoided a departing Japanese airliner, and dove down to the city's commercial airport where, in front of hundreds of amazed Japanese motorists, it landed—screeching, skidding, blowing a tire, plowing 800 feet off the runway, and finally stopping a few feet from a large antenna. Viktor Belenko had arrived in the West. Unlike the defections of athletes, artists, and diplomats who knew the truth about the United States, Belenko knew little other than the lies of Soviet propaganda. As a jet fighter pilot he was one of the elite of the Soviet military; with his future secure he had the best which that society could offer. But the lies, hypocrisy, and corruption inherent in that system made living there intolerable.



209.197.94.171/people/belenko.htm




Q: What made you question?

Belenko: Because I am very practical, technically oriented, person. I love to be in wilderness alone with Swiss army knife and matches rather than have a huge surplus and a huge crowd. When you're around very sophisticated equipment you have this honest trait-do it right and enjoy, do it wrong and die. You cannot use ideology to survive, or be like American lawyers who can talk themselves out of any situation. So I questioned the Soviet system by using my technological knowledge. I said okay U.S. is so bad how come they send man on the moon and bring him back? (Russians could send men on the moon in only one way.) If U.S. is so bad how come they're building best fighters in the world? If U.S. is fallen apart how come they have more Nobel Prize winners than progressive communist society? At same time I could not ask anyone those questions. If I had, at that time (in late 1960s), I would have ended up in mental institution. So I made my conclusion that U. S. is not that bad. At same time I did not have a clear picture of American society. And when I came to U.S. I behaved like someone from outer space. I put myself in very funny situations. Americans were laughing at me. I behaved worse than Mork in "Mork and Mindy".

Q: Like what did you do, for example?

Belenko: First of all American super-market, my first visit was under CIA supervision, and I thought it was set-up; I did not believe super-market was real one. I thought well I was unusual guest; they probably kicked everyone out. It's such a nice, big place with incredible amount of produce, and no long lines! You're accustomed to long lines in Russia. But later, when I discovered super-market was real one, I had real fun exploring new products. I would buy, everyday, a new thing and try to figure out its function. In Russia at that time (and even today) it's hard to find canned food, good one. But everyday I would buy new cans with different food. Once I bought a can which said "dinner." I cooked it with potatoes, onions, and garlic-it was delicious. Next morning my friends ask me, "Viktor, did you buy a cat?" It was a can of chicken-based cat food. But it was delicious! It was better than canned food for people in Russia today. And I did test it. Last year I brought four people from Russia for commercial project, and I set them up. I bought nibble sized human food. I installed a pâté, and it was cat food. I put it on crackers. And they did consume it, and they liked it. So the taste has not changed. By the way, for those who are not familiar with American cat food. It's very safe; it's delicious, and sometimes it's better than human food, because of the Humane Society.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 9:36:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/28/2004 9:36:21 PM EST by Combat_Jack]
That interview is funny as hell! He would be a hell of a man too meet!
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 9:53:47 PM EST

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Ever wonder why Soviet trainers had a range under 100 miles?



The Soviets also supposedly didn't allow thier pilots to have enough fuel to make the border under most circumstances, and never allowed WP pilots enough fuel to do so.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 9:56:17 PM EST

Originally Posted By The_Neutral_Observer:

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Ever wonder why Soviet trainers had a range under 100 miles?



The Soviets also supposedly didn't allow thier pilots to have enough fuel to make the border under most circumstances, and never allowed WP pilots enough fuel to do so.



A couple of East Germans made it across, according to legend. Still, some more were killed trying.
Link Posted: 8/28/2004 10:17:21 PM EST
It never changes... great nations have to try to keep people out, shitty ones have to keep people from leaving.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 1:22:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By SNorman:
It never changes... great nations have to try to keep people out, shitty ones have to keep people from leaving.



If somebody wanted to hijack this thread they could bring up the US Civil War right at this moment.........................
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 2:50:09 AM EST
The Belenko book is called MIG PILOT and came out in the 80s. I remember reading it as a kid and writing a book report. Fulcrum is has much more detail and is written better.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:10:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By The_Neutral_Observer:

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Ever wonder why Soviet trainers had a range under 100 miles?



The Soviets also supposedly didn't allow thier pilots to have enough fuel to make the border under most circumstances, and never allowed WP pilots enough fuel to do so.



A couple of East Germans made it across, according to legend. Still, some more were killed trying.



The Neutral Observer had the opportunity this week to talk with two WP pilots who defected. They are two very interesting men. They had to siphon small amounts of fuel from the fuel trucks/aircraft/etc and store it in hidden cans for months before they had enough to get across the border, because the Soviets seldom gave their pilots enough fuel to safely make it to the West.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 1:17:45 PM EST
A few months ago, I was taking care of an elderly female patient. Her husband was in the room, wearing a flight jacket. The name embroidered on it was Brig Gen Tom Collins. He was the American test pilot chosen to fly the MIG 15 flown to South Korea. He was a contemporary of Chuck Yeager. He said Yeager was pissed off that he didn't get the assignment. He told me how he and a translator sat with the Korean pilot and re-labeled all the instruments in the cockpit so he would know what he was looking at. He also played a role in acquiring a Soviet interceptor from one of the Baltic states. It had never been flown and was still in crates on a railroad car. With cooperation of a Soviet General, the entire unassembled aircraft was transported to the US, put together, studied, disassembled, and shipped back to its place of origin. He said he knew all was well when he received a card from the Soviet General that said, "The train arrived on time." He said he flew more than 100 aircraft, including the SR-71 as a test pilot. Two documentaries on the History Channel tell theses stories, he said. He appeared in the one about the MIG. He said he wasn't comfortable being on-camera speaking about the other incident, as parts of it are still classified. It was an honor to meet this man and spend some time with him. I thanked him for all that he did. As far as I am concerned, he and many others like him saved the world. What a stud.
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