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The Warsaw Voice » Society » September 16, 2009
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Air Show Plane Crash
September 16, 2009   
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A Su-27 plane crashed on Aug. 30 during an annual air show in Radom, killing two Belarusian pilots. The two-engine fighter went down a few minutes after takeoff, having performed a series of acrobatic stunts above spectators gathered for the show, 100 meters from buildings, between villages surrounding the Radom airfield. Recordings of the pilots' conversations with the control tower, retrieved from the plane's black box, show that they received an order to eject but could not or would not carry it out-perhaps fearing the plane would kill people on the ground.

The causes of the accident are being investigated by a special Polish-Belarusian commission. Preliminary findings show that the possibilities include sudden loss of altitude due to engine failure (possibly from a flock of birds getting into the engine) and a pilot error that may have resulted from the pilots performing exceedingly risky stunts.

An update from the Belarusian Ministry of Defense published by the Belarusian embassy in Warsaw says that both pilots had about 20 years' flight experience and over 2,000 hours experience flying that particular aircraft model.

The Su-27 was meant to be one of the main attractions at this year's air show. It was the first time Belarusians had appeared at the event.

The Su-27's crash was not the first accident at the Radom air show. Two Polish pilots from the Żelazny acrobatic group were killed in 2007 when their planes collided 30 meters above ground at a speed of 300 kph. Pilot error was ruled to have been the cause.
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