Disasters — 12 October 2011

We included this one precisely because, disaster that it was in monetary terms, not one person was injured, let alone killed.

Why waste space on this?

Because it puts the lie to something those of us who were raised on anti-Soviet propaganda simply assumed to be true — that the Soviet system, and their culture, placed no value on the individual life.

RAW video:

So why is it that anybody who knows anything about the aerospace industry is aware that the Russians, bar none, make the best, the safest, most consistently life-saving ejection seats in the world, and have for decades? In fact, they’ve spent billions upon billions of rubles researching and building devices whose sole purpose is to save the individual life. Not even the Brits, with their fabled Martin-Baker seats, or the must-vaunted US ACES II and NACES series of bang seats, can match what the Russians make.

In this video from the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, a pair of MiG-29s collide at a closing speed of probably 600-700 mph. The pilot of either jet had less than a second to react, pull the handle and blast himself free like a human cannonball, and with only a few hundred feet above the ground for the parachute to open.

And what do we see? Within seconds of hitting the ground — standing up! — our intrepid aviator Boris calmly lights up a smoke with his flaming aircraft in ruins on the ground behind him.The only thing that could have made this cooler would have been if he’d lit his cigarette off a shard of burning airplane.

And no, we don’t know why the Brits call an airshow a “tattoo.”

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