“MiG-23 Pilot Not Ready To Eject When Ejection Was Initiated” NTSB Preliminary Report Says.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the preliminary report on the investigation of the August 13 MiG-23UB crash at the Thunder Over Michigan airshow. As we reported, two pilots ejected from a privately owned two-seat MiG-23UB Flogger, registration N23UB/1038107, and landed in Belleville Lake, while the jet crashed near the Waverly on the Lake Apartments in Belleville.
The MiG-23UB, the only private Flogger in the world, was owned by former U.S. Navy pilot Dan Flier who runs a popular Instagram page providing updates on the N23UB as well as other Floggers in the process of being restored. The stricken aircraft had been one of the highlights of the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo at Lakeland, Florida, in April, and, more recently, the EAA’s AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Photos and videos circulating on social media immediately after the crash showed the MiG-23UB on a left turn at low altitude before the two crew members ejected because of an unknown problem. The preliminary report now sheds some more light on what happened, and it appears that the ejection was initiated by the back seater while the pilot was still troubleshooting engine problems.
The pilot reported that the flight departed from runway 23 at YIP, followed by a right turn to a “banana pass” (a low-level knife edge pass) along runway 23. Following the pass, he started banking the airplane and noticed that the engine afterburner did not ignite, and the airspeed began to decrease. He brought the swing wings into the fully forward position (16° sweep) to increase lift and began troubleshooting the problem. He was actively troubleshooting when the rear seat observer stated that they…
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