Russian Su-30 Jet Crashes Off Syria Coast, Both Pilots Dead

A Russian Su-30SM fighter jet crashed off the Syria coast, killing two pilots on board, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed. 

The plane crashed over the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday morning, shortly after it took off from the Hmeymim airbase in Syria, the ministry added.  Pilots "fought to take the aircraft under control till the last minute," the Russian Defense ministry said. Both pilots died as the result of the incident.

"A Russian Su-30SM fighter plane crashed over the Mediterranean Sea at around 9:45 a.m. Moscow time [06:45 GMT] when gaining height after taking off from the Hmeymim airfield. Both pilots, which were fighting to save the plane until the last moment, died," the statement read.

The crash may have been caused by a bird hitting the engine, the ministry said, citing preliminary data. The aircraft was not shot down.

The last similar incident occurred in March, when a Russian An-26 military transport aircraft crashed during landing at Hmeymim airfield, killing the 33 passengers and six crew members on board.

As a reminder, Russian military aircraft have been stationed in Syria as part of a deal between Moscow and Damascus. In 2017, Russian and Syrian authorities agreed to prolong their presence in the country after President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of a significant number of troops from Syria. Khmeimim Airbase near Latakia and the naval site in the port city of Tartus have been handed over to Russia for 49 years with an option of automatic extension.


thisandthat attah-boy-Luther Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

Yeah, right...

Birds are precisely one of the reasons for twin engines, and why some countries choose them over single engined, despite the higher costs; that's how serious a danger they are.

Also, the reason these (and the Su57 even more so, and unlike the f15/18), have the engines wide apart is precisely for increased survibability (less chance both engines are hit at once, or one engine blowing up the other one, if hit/fails).

That said, if an hit causes a catrastophic failure (explosion) of the engine, instead of just shutting the engine down, it's easy debris rupture hydro lines or damage eletronics, rendering the plane unstable/unmanouvrable.

Also, though the first thing that would happen is the pilot ordering the copilot to eject, it's not that uncommon this refuses (and there's no way for the pilot to force him out), or that pilots try till the last moment to save/regain control of the plane, resulting in their death.

In reply to by attah-boy-Luther

Maghreb wildbad Thu, 05/03/2018 - 10:16 Permalink

Apparently the Levant is full of birds transiting from all over Eurasia. They brought down an Israeli jet one time as well. Some of the bigger migratory birds can do serious damage to an air craft traveling at hundreds of miles an hours.

This of course is an example of how Mother Nature seems to be far more powerful than that might of the military industrial complex. A 4kg bird crippling a modern fighter jet. Some might call it an act of God to keep all the megalomaniacs with their precision war machines humble.……

In reply to by wildbad

Milton Keynes Capt Tripps Thu, 05/03/2018 - 11:21 Permalink

usually flight rules and intimate knowledge of the operating manual.


1) Altitude/Airspeed/Energy.  At a certain altitude, you always have a best glide speed and glide angle.

2) In single engine ops, you usually have a minimum manuevering speed and recommended speed to restart the engines.

3) You usually watch your sink rate and altitude and calculate time remaining. There is usually a hard floor where you pull the ejection seat.


So if you are at say 29,000 feet and an engine quits, usually, you declare an emergency, turn towards base, 

then push over to best single engine manuevering speed,  and head home while waiting to get to the altitude you can restart at.


Say you are at 10,000 feet and both engines quit, well, you declare MAYDAY, turn towards a divert field and start trying to restart one or both engines. Meanwhile you watch that sink rate and the hard floor altitude. if you can glide somewhere, do it, otherwise pull to minimum sink and try and get the engines lit.


The ejection seat has a minimum safe operating altitude, so watch that and pull the handles before you pass through that.







In reply to by Capt Tripps

privateparts501 kralizec Thu, 05/03/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

Your theory would only be correct if the jet had a zero/zero ejection system installed which it may not have. Some ejection systems require a minimum altitude and minimum speed to work properly.

From the pictures it appears that they were near land and possibly a civilian population. Instead of ejecting and hoping that the jet wouldn't crash into a populated area, they instead tried to maneuver over water where they wouldn't kill civilians.

I was in the Navy and talked to a lot of pilots. I hated most of them but there was respect for their dedication to their duty and professionalism while in the cockpit.

In reply to by kralizec

thisandthat privateparts501 Thu, 05/03/2018 - 15:54 Permalink

Of course it has; what do you think? Zvezda seats are widely recognized for ages as (at least) one of the most reliable in the world.

I remember a French magazine, about Rafale development, that they had like a 98% safe ejection ratio, whereas french ones had just 30-something % (you can successfully eject and still suffer major injuries)...

As for their performance, just watch the videos from the Mig-29 Le Bourget crash, decades ago...

In reply to by privateparts501

Couchtycoon kralizec Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:22 Permalink

NO that was a brand new airplane 4+ gen commissioned in 1/2018. Russians are responsible for their Aircraft It's not like the US where you can just bail with few repercussions. It could have been some kind of malicious electronic interference, but far more likely just some bugs coming out of of a new aircraft. This is why every time a new commercial plane comes out there are always years of delays and entire system redesigns in some cases. See MRJ

In reply to by kralizec

EddieLomax Truther Thu, 05/03/2018 - 07:05 Permalink

I think you'll find Israel was nearby too, yet another coincidence...


Seriously though, just random bad luck, like that British squaddie who died at the end of a active combat tour in Iraq where despite days of fighting no one was killed - he was killed by a falling gate post...

A shame they couldn't eject but I guess they were too low.  Bird strikes are still lethal I see, maybe they can add some moving filters for protection at low levels though.

In reply to by Truther

oldone EddieLomax Thu, 05/03/2018 - 07:26 Permalink

they choose not to eject, in a struggle to re-gain control... that plane allow emergency eject at some 35-30m high, I remember some russians at an air show manage to eject at that high - 25 - 30m, literally 2 seconds before the plane hit the ground - they try to perform an maneuver at low alt, something go wrong, engines loose power and the plane start falling - but right before the plane hit the ground they both ejected and survived...

found the vid - here:

In reply to by EddieLomax

Killtruck BennyBoy Thu, 05/03/2018 - 06:22 Permalink

Shoot down an SU-30 with two Russian pilots, gain nothing, AND risk World War III? Right. Some of you people need more sunlight.

More than likely they wanted to save the aircraft because Mother Russia has budget cuts and not saving a plane might be looked upon unfavorably. Just because the US values pilots more than aircraft doesn't mean other countries do. 


In reply to by BennyBoy