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 3 Авиобаза Graf Ignatievo (Bulgaria) 2006

March 21, 22 and 23, 2006 the author spent at the 3rd fighter air base of the Bulgarian Air Force in Graf Ignatievo to see the MiG-21s based there in action. There could be seen more activities than expected.

Seven MiG-21s were lined up at the flight line prior flying service.


Several dozen times the aircraft were prepared for flying.


Take-off for the weather flight. Despite growing integration into NATO traditions from the history live on.


Take-offs ...


... were closely followed by landings and vice versa.


For the first time after more than 15 years the author had the chance to experience live night flying.


Operational MiG-21s are stored in shelters, ...


... but the retired aircraft stand in the open. Their number increased much since the last visit. In the meantime probably all still existing 21s were concentrated there. To maintain operability of the active fleet they are cannibalized.


In the maintenance hall MiG-21s are overhauled, ...


... while the MiG-29s are prepared for life cycle extension.

The author wishes to thank all members of Bulgarian Air Force who made the visit possible, especially Colonel Tzonev, Colonel Radev, Major Stoyanov and Lieutenant Metaksov.