Crazy Ivans … or, what Russian Su-35 pilots will do for a buck

This is one of those stories that’s so crazy it is probably true.

Here’s how it goes: A Russian movie company hires two Sukhoi pilots to film a couple of stunts. The pilots agree to take off without a canopy.

Apparently following a plot-twist in the film, the back-seat pilot ejects from the aircraft while the front-seater keeps flying.

(As a friend of mine notes: “Why use dummies when you can use real Russian pilots? Those guys are amazing.” )

The front-seater later claims he flew beyond Mach 2.0 … with an open canopy! And then he says: “While on this speed I even managed to pull out my fingers inglove for an inch or two outside – it became heated very fast becauseof immense friction force plane undergoes with the air.”

Oh, and this was all done with Sukhoi’s tail number 801, which is nothing less than the SU-35UB prototype — one of the most advanced jets Sukhoi ever built!!! (See SU-35UB promo video below.)


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.


67 Responses to Crazy Ivans … or, what Russian Su-35 pilots will do for a buck

  1. Nikolai Ivanovich Lobochevsky 24 July, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    I am glad you posted this, but I call photoshop on that top image.

  2. Ivan Charvat 24 July, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    The Sukhoi-35 in the second-pilot ejection does not have part of the refueling boom cover missing.
    The jet on the ground has a lot of that cover missing.

    It is likely therefore that the alleged “ejection” plane is not the same one as in the rest of the story. It is these sorts of neglected details that cops notice, to catch out deceptions…

  3. l0b0t 24 July, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    Uhh, the above comment from Ivan makes little sense. One may as well say that the Su-35 on the ground has a boarding ladder attached so it is not the same plane as the one in the ejection photo.

  4. Stephen Trimble 24 July, 2009 at 5:51 pm #


  5. Royce 24 July, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    Mach 2 with an open canopy? Doesn’t that sound a little like a tall tale?

  6. Stephen Trimble 24 July, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    Well, yes, that part. But the bar is very, very low here.

  7. Phaid 24 July, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    The aircraft in the ejection photo and the aircraft rolling on the ground in the last photo are clearly not the same.

    Not only is the refueling boom partly exposed on the ground pic, but the paint scheme does not exactly match between the two A/C. Notice for example the lower front edge of the port vertical stabilizer – the area of dark blue is obviously different between the two. Also, the ejection aircraft does not have the orange warning labels nor the blue Sukhoi logo below the canopy.

    One of the photos in the article shows people looking over the Su-35, including someone probably painting on the scorch marks behind the canopy, while the caption reads “The plane is being prepared for the no-canopy flight.”

    The airplane in the ejection picture is probably a scale model painted to resemble Bort 801. While they obviously did fly the real Bort 801 without a canopy, they almost certainly simply removed the rear seat beforehand. It’s still a pretty wild thing to do with an expensive development airframe, but I guess when you’re that cash starved anything could happen I guess.

  8. Lightndattic 24 July, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    Notice the tops of the vertical tails in the ejection photo. They are not the squared off tops of 801, but rather a line Su-27UB. Look at the horizontal stabs. That much deflection would impart a large pitch motion, which wouldn’t be good for the action shots. You’d want your subject nice and stable in the viewfinder. See the drogue parachutes at the end of the ejection seat booms? If this were an ejection in forward flight, they would be streaming straight back to stabilize the seat. Because this is pretty obviously a ground ejection, they are pitched down.

    I don’t doubt they flew Bort 801 topless, but the ejection photo is at most a ground ejection with the landing gear chopped out.

  9. Stephen Trimble 24 July, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    You guys are good!

  10. 7K7 24 July, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    I’ll second the comment about a ground ejection on the basis of the extreme downward deflection of the tailplane (let alone the lack of rearward displacement of the ejectee relative to his former cockpit station) :-)

  11. quango72 26 July, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    You’ve got some intelligent readers Stephen!

    Here is a story to prove the lie “beyond mach 2″ without a canopy.
    A mid-air refueling goes wrong for a Hornet driver:

  12. pomoek 27 July, 2009 at 7:41 pm #

    I also thought that thr mach 2 story was far fetched. And the story that the pilot put his fingers in the airstream is absolutely bogus. They would inmediatly break off. An ejection at that high speed would certainly mean that the pilot would receive mayor injuries, he might even die. For the rest: Lightndattic said it all. (pardon my English I’m Dutch)

  13. sjtoy 27 July, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    All good. Now who’s going to tell Gizmodo that they’ve been had?

  14. Tim 27 July, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    Here is the story of a guy who ejected from an SR-71 at Mach 3

    And the Hornet story doesn’t really say its impossible to fly a plane with no canopy. The guy in the hornet stayed hunched inside because he was cold. He was flying slow because he was low on fuel, he very clearly wanted to go faster.

  15. Zaagr 28 July, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    “Crazy Ivans … or, what Russian Su-35 pilots will do for a buck” – The most stupid title for this video i’ve ever seen.

  16. ima 28 July, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    The aircraft in the ejection photo is actually staying on ground, and the ejection wasn’t even for movie – it was a test of K-36DM ejection seat. I’ve seen the original somewhere.

    Story of other photos is probably similar: videos of flight tests were retouched and used for movie.

  17. ima 28 July, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    Googling brought this:

    different angle, but same event

  18. Brian C. 28 July, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    The photo of the inflight ejection is faked. I’ve been creating Photoshop images for years. The missing refueling port has been painted out, the flames blasting down on the aircraft do not match the proper flow for any ejection, let alone at mach speeds. Even if you could get your hand above the canopy edge to ‘feel’ any temp., at that speed without a canopy, he’d have to hold the stick with both hands. Without the canopy aerodynamic forces would have produced a wind shear affect that would be trying to suck both men out of the aircraft. Also the ejection seat is moving straight up. At those speeds it should be at a diagonal and at mach speeds it would have ripped the pilot’s helmet right off, most likely even taking his head with it.

  19. Brian C. 28 July, 2009 at 3:58 pm #


    Thanks for the Link. What an incredible story. That was truly a miracle. The crazy ivans stuff was all faked.

  20. NA 28 July, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    Talked to a guy I work with. F-18 pilot/trainer/test & evaluation background.

    Test requires in air (ie flying) use of ejection seat to see if it works properly. Importantly its safer for the aircraft because the ejected seat won’t land on the expensive test plane. Typically done with a crash test dummy strapped to the seat (think Buster).

    Flight without canopy because they’re expensive. Still has to test ejection system’s capability to punch through a canopy but again use a crash test dummy for mass and loading.

  21. jjbluebell 28 July, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    1. Jan 1998 Lt “Jak” london survived canopy explosion in Sea Harrier F/A.2 at 40000ft over Gulf of Aden. Flew for 20 mins/70 nm back to safe landing on HMS Invincible.
    2. BAe TP Keith Hartley flew Tornado GR Mk1 on special trial at Warton in rear seat without canopy to assess buffet level at high speed following rear-seater ejection problems.
    3. Graham Tomlinson, now BAES CTP on F-35B Program landed Harrier TMk2 successfully after front-seater ejected (and freed control restriction that led to ejection decision).
    4. Yes its Photoshop.

  22. BoQ 28 July, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    Why is my personal crap detector going off?????

  23. Slingblade 29 July, 2009 at 4:08 am #

    I agree that it is a photo shop job. The claim of going mach 2 is total garbage too. Anyone that has flown high performance aircraft knows that in the event of canopy loss the first thing that you do is to slow down (usually to a minimum drag speed). This accomplishes several things: a) it minimizes drag on the aircraft, b) it lowers wind noise, c) it reduces the aerodynamic stresses on the aircraft since now there are many exposed surfaces creating drag that were never meant to, and finally it helps the pilot because yes it is cold too. That aircraft has two big engines but I seriously doubt that they would push that amount of drag up to mach 1 yet alone mach 2, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be the one that tried.

  24. Aviapics 30 July, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    Nobody is commenting on the position of the ailerons?
    Looks very weird for a plane doing a ejection at high speed with another plane chasing for video…
    But if you look to Su-35 pictures on the ground, they look like in parking position… so… yes, it’s photoshop!
    If you also look to ejection pictures, the flame is never straight but curved by the air flow at high speed.
    Definitely photoshoped.

  25. Bruno 30 July, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    Hey guys,

    Look where that PSed ejection picture comes from: (it’s the second picture once everything loads)

    Now we just need someone that speaks russian to translate it for us.

  26. Don 30 July, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    Guys, in the video two men took off with the aircraft, and two men landed with the same aircraft.

    The still shot is clearly image edited for the film production. Seen in real time, and expertly edited, the overall action sequence most likely looks real.

  27. Mark 3 August, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    SHOPPED! That’s it. Interesting story, but just a story. It didn’t happen.

  28. Coza 4 August, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Did you read the article?

    [quote]See SU-35UB promo video below[/quote]

    It’s not a video of the actual story happening, just a video to show you the plane they were “using”

  29. photoshop 5 August, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    Here’s the original photo. The plane is on the ground…

  30. Jim 5 August, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    After some espionage of my own, I can reveal that these pictures have something to do with the Russian film ‘Mirror Wars’, which, as it stars Malcolm McDowell and the mighty Rutger Hauer, must be awesome.

    From the imdb site, one review says that ‘…all movie budget was spent for action scenes, plane crashings (very effective – without CG!)’ so maybe they really did crash a plane.

    Link: – check the photo gallery for yet another version of the ejection pic, this time less obviously photoshopped.

    youtube trailer:


    So as it is from a film, who cares which bit is real. But I think it was flown without a canopy.

    Bit more info here:

  31. Chong Bornhorst 8 February, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    This is an interesting article, I think you’ve obtained a good outlook on things!

  32. Jarvis Tieman 13 February, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Hardhats can just be a hat, or quite often an indicator that the head under is slightly challenging headed also. Professional items concerning the health and safety issues.

  33. jesus 19 April, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    alguien sabe como diablos se llama la pelicula??

  34. German Inoa 23 April, 2010 at 3:12 am #

    I am so new to all this online, the more I read the more I realize there’s so much more for me to learn, thanks for the awesome post I will be back! Crazy Ivans … or, what Russian Su-35 pilots will do for a buck – The DEW Line was a wonderful read.

  35. WriterLove 26 April, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I really love films I couldn’t really live without…

  36. cabal alz 12 June, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Really nice post here – I don’t know why you don’t just get the most out of these tools whilst they are free.

  37. cabal alz 18 June, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    Great information that is much appreciated. Thank you for providing such interesting content in my quest to lose the flab.

  38. Wm Storton 26 June, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    “I can’t help but say that looks as if you completely got the bona fide heart and soul of the position for the moment. While numerous seem to have left out the most-valuable concept of the whole thing, that which is stated prefatorial is unadulterated and on the money. I am not articulating that I agree along every one of the items; yet, I admit that you did imparted me grounds to think about some of the major premises that I recalled that I applied as established notions in that affects. Substantially stated, and it is now for my brain to ponder a some more on some of your major ideas. All At Once I would state you’ve did a job well done..”

  39. Melodi Broccolo 26 June, 2010 at 6:31 am #

    “It seems that you completely captivated the genuine essence of the situation circumferent. While numerous appear to have left out the key thought of everything, when it was expressed previous is luculent plus dead on. Clearly I don”"t enunciating that I agree along every one of the details; even so, I must say that you managed to have disposed me cause to ponder many of the tips that I thought that I held as unfluctuating notions in that affects. told, and now for someone like myself to consider a little more along more of some of outstanding ideas. All together I would state I must compliment you for you have done an excellant job.”

  40. Oscar Gershkovich 26 June, 2010 at 6:32 am #

    “I can’t help but say that seems as though you’ve caught the wholehearted core of the position at this time. While many seem to have obscured the key thought of most of it, that which is put forward higher up is complete and right on the nose. Clearly I don”"t pronouncing that I harmonize on every one of the points; still, I admit that you have payed me reason to reconsider many of the concepts that I imagined that I held up as dead set beliefs in that respects. Strongly expressed, and it is now for me to think a some more on more of the main concepts. In summary, I have to think that you have clearly stated what needed to be said.”

  41. Dating is a Long Test of Compatibility I wish there was no general rules and we just get to court, but it is a ritual, there are things that happen that we are pleased to stimulate, generate interest, and so confused Are we perfect If we just threw ourselves together, the chances of ….

  42. shaiya gold 28 June, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    very good article,thans for your sharing

  43. pozycjonowanie 28 June, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    Nice site and great text.

  44. Hector Lindblom 1 July, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Karan Thode

  45. eve isk 3 July, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Well, the post is actually the freshest on this laudable topic. I concur with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your future updates.

  46. wow gold 22 July, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    That’s great.very helpful,thanks a lot

  47. illegal Steroids 23 July, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    very nice post liked it. keep it up :)

  48. top Anabolic Steroids 23 July, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    keep updatin us with lot of these shares

  49. Nolan Guerrini 23 July, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    This article is a part of universe. I am fond of universe. Ever since I was a kid. Nice post .

  50. Shannon Karman 23 July, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    After reading your article, I thought your thoughts were very simple but as I kept reading on, I do see you have a point. Keep on writing, I will keep on stopping over to read your new content.

  51. Stewart Choi 24 July, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Electronics are the greatest things in the world. Be sure to patent any product idea or invention you come up with. So that noone copies any of your ideas.

  52. Avril Cron 10 August, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    I am very pleased at reading the above article. Please give us more in the coming weeks. I will be anticipating similar posts with keen interest. Avril Cron

  53. Chris Conclusion 13 August, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    that aireplane image is amazing, its quite shock me,
    thank you for information.

  54. ipad 16 August, 2010 at 12:02 am #

    Most information sites frequently copy other information sites or sites of newspaper publishers and magazines. Subscribe to this website right here I like that there are original content that you could hardly come across elsewhere. Thankfully, there are nonetheless these kinds of websites, make sure you carry on! I can no longer see the popular media. It really is there a lot rubbish created, I bear it no a lot more quickly. A genuinely pleasant blog site, thank you.

  55. sensepil 2 September, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    The very simplest way to get lazer hair removal locally is without a doubt word of mouth and rather than by some MD that’s receiving a piece of the pie. I used to see a great MD to have ipl treatments. I had spotty hairy places and had been thru all of those other hair removal treatments. I purchased a new sensepil and have never been more pleased. At long last I am hair free during the summer season. This will be an awesome year for me.

  56. Pick Up Artists 7 September, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Eh a real pickupartist could use any line or any tactic, but this works well too – as long as the “inner state” is there.

  57. Tonya Kerkvliet 30 September, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    Let me tell ya’; Jose Bautista is the best hitter in Pro Baseball because HRs.telling ya likewise Felix aint the best hurler.

  58. allex radio21 21 October, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    Funny, I was discussing this factor with my older sister the other day, now I’ll have 1 more argument in my hand when it’ll appear to confrontation when once again….

  59. Dick Carwin 11 November, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    I think this course is one of the available out there, it sure worked on me,even though you do have to put the effort in,but as i’ve said we are all is different and we all have our ups and downs.Gladly i keep going up ,Good tom

  60. Listen. Credit scores are VERY overrated when it comes to renting. Normally they only make a difference if you are looking at a place you probably cant afford to begin with. In my life I have never heard of anyone I know getting rejected from an apartment. And i know some people with AWFUL credit. Just look around and someone will let you in no problem.

  61. worlds brightest flashlights 6 December, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    Rocket Scientists would by no means begin development on a brand new booster rocket and not using a detailed set of design specifications. Yet most of us go blindly out into the world without an inkling of an concept about funds and without any plan at all.

  62. right angle drill 6 December, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Therefore in case you are on-line and you want to continue to play web enthusiast to play inside the election of the ban could disappear it’s unlucky you are feeling that you just had been flawed to show a bit of extra, on the other hand that does not indicate you’ve to take a seat quietly.

  63. Governor of Poker 6 December, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    thats hilarious, i like the bit “I managed to put my hand out for 2 seconds but it got really hot” lol

  64. poker tournamentrules 28 December, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    Some awsome poker promotions can be enjoyed by betfair rakeback player including a $40,000 raked hands frenzy and the chance to win one of 85 iPads in a fantastic freeroll taking place in January. a big freeroll is given out

  65. 徵信社 7 April, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    this post will possible be deleted! . it’s obvious that pathetic liberal tree huggers are bring us down the river. Simple answer: stand up and be counted. Is it a tune too familiar from our tv?!!!

Leave a Reply