July 27, 2002 in Lviv and the surrounding area had nice summer weather. About ten thousand people in that day went to the Airshow in honor of the 60th anniversary of the 14th aviation corps, Ukrainian air force, held at the airport in Sknyliv.
The spectators saw with delight aircraft and applause greeted the pilots-aces. About one hour local time rose in the air of the su-27 under the control of Vladimir Toponar and Yury Yegorov.
Pilots began implementation of a demonstration program, but after about four minutes, something went wrong. Su-27 has fallen to a very low altitude, hit a tree, hit the wing on the runway, touched standing the Il-76 and crashed into a crowd of spectators. In the tanks there was still a lot of fuel that caused an explosion and huge fire.
It all happened in a matter of moments. Those who stood in the distance, I did not even realize what happened. But for the 77 people these moments were the last in life. Among the dead were 28 children. The number of victims in the hundreds.
Who is to blame?
Sknylovska disaster remains the deadliest incidents for the duration of the air show. From that moment on such events in Ukraine were imposed a categorical ban.
Over the past 15 years in Ukraine there was much that the scale of grief and horror was eclipsed by the catastrophe near Lviv. But people who have lost loved ones, those who lost their health, that does not help.
A decade and A half of debate — and who, in fact, guilty of what happened?
The main culprits court-appointed pilots of the su-27 who survived the crash and is practically not affected. At a time when the war machine began its deadly dance in the crowd, they managed to eject.
Pilots hated the fact that they are not dead, unlike those who came to see their skill, in the eyes of many, too, became a crime.
The official conclusion of the Commission of defense was the main cause of the accident is “deviation from the flight crew tasks and errors in piloting the su-27”.
Fall zone. A loud crash victims on the ground
Also indicate the shortcomings of the organizers — too close the zone will fly to the location of the audience, the lack of monitoring of the implementation of the programme of flights.
The record of negotiations of pilots shows that at some point they lost orientation in space and did not see where the viewers. However, neither the pilots nor the flight Director did not stop the program.
The participants of the show were to conduct training flights, to fix the landmarks of the area. But because of the fuel saving training sessions were cancelled.
The main “scapegoat” was the commander of the su-27 Vladimir Toponar. At the trial, which ended in 2015, he received 14 years of imprisonment. Not on hand he played the rather strange testimony given at the trial — for example the fact that in the area of flight operations …a UFO appeared. Co-pilot Yuri Yegorov, which justified less, was given 8 years and the freedom he left after two and a half years. Unlike the Toponar, who in prison spent 11 years.
“To the last hoped that the fighter is still possible to raise”
In 2013, in an interview with “Facts” Vladimir Toponar was told about the causes of the incident: “what happened, the fault of the organizers. Planes should not fly over the audience. During the show I had to perform several elements of aerobatics, they were given a few minutes. On the “half-roll” I noticed that the thrust of both engines decreased the rate fell. But the problem remained unclear! Meanwhile on earth surely were ordered to continue the flight. During the execution of the last shape — oblique loop with the turn — the aircraft became uncontrollable. The court said that the pilot made a mistake inexperience. Yes, I have 27 years of avustaja, more than two thousand hours of flying, I was in the group “Ukrainian falcons”. Such elements are performed dozens of times. At a time when the su-27 wing struck the ground, I realized that a few seconds will die. However, until recently, hoping that the fighter still can be lifted back into the sky, and exerted all efforts”.
Indeed, the qualification of Vladimir Toponar was not in doubt — only a part of the aerobatic team “Ukrainian falcons” it is the time of the tragedy flew for six years.
Multi-purpose fighter su-27. Infographics
Generals were dismissed, and acquitted
About the problems with the engine thrust said some experts. In 2016, the Colonel Gennady Zhukov, part of a group of investigators stated that the air system of the SU-27 hit the water and ruined the devices gave the pilots incorrect information. “The last figure they started at the speed of 430 — they saw that the tester was recorded, the Commission saw it. And in fact, their speed was 360, and maybe less” — cited 2016 words Zhukova Ukrainian portal TSN.
But the official version of the catastrophe of 2002 still remains the “human factor”.
In addition to the pilots for the tragedy in Sknyliv was convicted three soldiers –the Deputy commander of the 14th corps Anatoly Tretyakov and Deputy head of the mission Yury Yatsyuk received 6 years of imprisonment, the chief of security service of flights of the 14th air corps Anatoly Lukinykh — 4 years probation.
Air force commander Viktor Strelnikov was dismissed. He and the four generals were also prosecuted, but acquitted.
Can you survive in a disaster?
The victims are still suing for compensation
Vacant Vladimir Toponar is still paying of a modest military pension 150 000 hryvnias of a penalty imposed by the court. And victims in a disaster pester the courts, trying to achieve from the Ukrainian authorities for compensation. That were paid, many is not enough even for passing the primary treatment, while dozens of victims needed long-term rehabilitation. The European court is now more than 30 claims from the Ukrainians, the victims of the Sknyliv. However, these cases comes with a scratch — ECHR gives priority to political cases and LGBT issues, to the victims of the Holocaust, judges have simply not reached.
The level of the pilots of the Ukrainian air force over the past 15 years have dropped significantly. Today it is only enough to bomb unarmed in the Donbass. However, there, as soon as the militia began to give the aircraft back, the activity of the air force was curtailed.
By the way, according to Ukrainian media, the son of Vladimir Toponar is the so-called “ATO zone” helicopter pilot.