It’s not clear whether the aircraft sustained battle damage to its starboard wing or the leak was caused by something else. The video does not even show if the pilot was forced to eject (most probably he had to abandon the Mig-21 considered that a huge fire is clearly visible at the end of the footage leaving little room to any other option).
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.
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I’m not sure if the aircraft is actually on fire. If you watch the last few seconds of the video frame-by-frame, the fire erupts, goes out, and then reappears further back in the fuel stream. It looks like the engine is igniting the fuel behind the aircraft. Kind of reminds me F-111 doing a dump-and-burn. In any case, even if the fire did not take down the MiG, it couldn’t lose fuel at that rate for very long.
It appears you are right. The ignition of the fuel is taking place some distance behind the mig. Do you think the video was edited to make it appear the aircraft was in trouble and they could claim it as a “shoot down?” Very interesting.
I’m not sure if it was edited to create any impression, but I can assure you that if the MiG was actually shot down and its wreckage fell into rebel territory, they would have shown the aftermath.