Anatoly's Arrival by
Tournament International, Boscombe Down, Saturday 13 June 1992:
A scorching hot day during the first heatwave of that summer,
the air is also thick with anticipation for the first visit to
the UK of Anatoly Kvotchur and his Test Pilot's Institute Su27
Flanker. Already running late by mid-afternoon, Tornado F3s of
11 Squadron had flown to intercept the Su27 and its accompanying
Tu134, to allow access through UK airspace.
|Just as the first
murmurings of "It's not coming" are starting to echo around Boscombe's vast
acres, so the Tornados re-appear ahead of the two Russian aircraft. Both are obviously on
approach to land, so lenses are tweaked and shutters cocked for that first glimpse of
tyres making contact with the runway. But, surely they can't really be landing
side-by-side - there can't be room on the runway. Hey, the Flanker's forgotten to put his
gear down - he's gonna crash!
|As the Crusty
settles on the runway, Anatoly drifts the Flanker alongside at no more than ten feet, just
missing taking out the runway marker boards in the process. At least fifty thousand people
hold their breath; the other fifty thousand can't see him, as he is so low. Right the
length of the runway he goes, until finally pulling the mighty Sukhoi into the vertical
and commencing the first British display of his now famous remarkable routine. Always a
character, Anatoly certainly stole the show that day!