Russian air force suspends Su-25 flights

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The Russian air force has suspended all operations by Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft, following the fatal crash of an Su-25 near Bryansk, in western Russia on 28 June, says Russian air force assistant commander-in-chief Col Alexander Drobyshevsky.

“Commander-in-chief Gen Vladimir Mikhailov decided to suspend Su-25 flights, until the crash in the Bryansk region has been investigated,” Drobyshevsky says.

The Su-25 pilot, Lt Col Andrei Vakhovsky, a deputy regiment commanding officer, with 2,000 flight hours, reported that he felt unwell and stopped responding to ground controllers immediately before the accident, Drobyshevsky says.

His wingman told him to eject, but he failed to respond and his aircraft crashed into the forest, killing the pilot.

The aircraft was one of four on a routine flight from the Buturlinovka airfield in the Voronezh region.

The Russian air force routinely grounds all aircraft of a type following a crash until an explanation for the accident is found.

A report in the Russian daily newspaper Vremya Novostei has speculated that pilot hypoxia due to cabin depressurisation is the most likely cause of the accident. According to the paper, the Su-25 has a history of depressurisation incidents, and their crews, who spend most of the time flying at low level, do not always wear oxygen masks all of the time.

Meanwhile, two crew members survived an ejection after a Sukhoi Su-24 naval strike aircraft crashed on the same day at the Ostrov airbase in the Pskov region, when the forward landing gear collapsed on take-off. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair.