Negative G is why Russian Su-30 crew didn’t eject after the ‘dive’

PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.96 Bulgarian Levs) — After the Su-34, a second Russian fighter “dived” into a civilian residential building, raising many questions. A Su-30 Flanker E crashed into a residential building in Irkutsk, Siberia on October 23rd. Both pilots died, and the damage to the people living in the area is enormous.

Russian fighters into air defense range of Alaska and Canada - NORAD
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 270 combat aircraft have been lost by the Russian Federation [according to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine] in the war with Ukraine, which began on February 24 with the invasion of Russian troops into its western neighbor. However, the crashed fighter was not part of the hostilities, as it was conducting a test flight. The last possible step before the mass-produced aircraft enters service with the Russian Air and Space Forces.

The first one we mentioned, the Su-34 Fullback, also crashed to the ground after a training flight. It happened in Yeisk in southern Russia on October 17th after one of the two engines caught fire. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced that the cause was a “fuel leak”.

At the moment, however, Moscow does not have an exact answer to what caused the dive of the Su-30 in Siberia. Speculative claims prevail, but it is better to wait for the appointed investigation into the incident by the investigative committee of the Ministry of Defense. Although, in recent years it is difficult to believe a Russian claim regarding the loss of military equipment.

One of the possible reasons for the dive of the Su-30 into the apartment building was a control error. I.e. pilot error is more likely than poor fighter quality. A control error would explain the crew’s subsequent inability to eject from the aircraft.

Negative G is why Russia's Su-30 crew didn't eject after the 'dive'
Photo credit: Sputnik

Mr. Vijainder Thakur, who is a former Air Force Officer and Squadron Commander of the Indian Air Force reflects on the possibilities. According to him, immediately after the control error, the combat aircraft began a sharp “dive” down. The abrupt, and important to note, change in altitude and direction unexpected by the pilots resulted in the “incapacitated negative G”, which in turn resulted in the failure of the Su-30 crew to eject.

A negative G is a downward force. When this happens the blood goes very fast and accumulates in the pilot’s head. This is followed by swelling of the face as a result of puncturing of the blood vessels on the face and in the head. Chest pressure rises, the pilot is in danger of bursting blood vessels, and vision is almost lost due to the lowering of the lower eyelids over the eyes. There is a term for this physical condition of the pilot called ‘redout’. I.e. the pilot sees the light that shines through the skin layer of the eyelids.

We can find confirmation of such claims in a similar incident in 2009, when the same Su-30 fighter model, but of the Indian Air Force, crashed in Rajasthan. A control error was caused by a pilot error that unintentionally interrupted the Fly by Wire system.

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