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 3 Авиобаза Graf Ignatievo (Bulgaria) 2009

On April 28 and 29, 2009 after a longer break the author was given the chance to visit 3rd fighter air base of Bulgarian Air Force at Graf Ignatievo. Visit took place on the occasion of the training of fighter aviation for Army Day parade on May 6.

Celebrating the 45th anniversary of MiG-21's service with Bulgarian Air Force this MiG-21bis was mounted on a pole in front of the staff building at "Graf" - in traditional grey of socialist times.


For participation in parade training four Su-25 flew in from Bezmer.


Close support aircraft were accompanied by an An-26 carrying equipment and personnel.


Each three MiG-29 and ...


... Su-25 took off twice a day for formation flying training.


Among both the Sukhois ...


... and the MiGs was a twinseater.


A MiG-29 took off for a check flight.


After the end of the training for the parade the MiG-29s went on flying in twighlight ...


... and at night.


Only in the afternoon of the second day a MiG-21UM ...


... and two MiG-21bis took of for two flights each.


Though the MiG-21 flights were to train young pilots who are allowed to fly in good weather only, ...


... they took place in limited weather conditions after a short sunny period around noon was missed.


Despite the drop tank the MiG-21bis stayed in the air only for about 35 minutes.


The one and only: 114 is the only Bulgarian MiG-21 with this very special camouflage.


During the second wave the MiG-21bis carried R-60 training missiles.


Lucky shot while waiting for flight back home: An-30 takes off from Sofia airport.

The author wishes to thank all members of Bulgarian Air Force who made the visit possible, especially Brigade General Radev and First Lieutenant Topurova.