Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Has Crashed in Ukraine. Unconfirmed Reports Say Ukrainian And American Pilot Killed.

Unconfirmed reports say an American pilot was also aboard the Ukrainian Flanker.

On Oct. 16, a Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 flying a training mission crashed near Ulaniv (between the settlements of Berdichev and Khmilnyk) in Ukraine, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced.

According to Meduza, a Riga-based online newspaper and news aggregator in Russian language, a Ukrainian and an American pilot were killed in the accident.

However, the U.S. Air Force in Europe has not yet confirmed the fate of the U.S. pilot.

Here’s what the USAFE website says:

We are aware of a Ukrainian Su-27UB fighter aircraft that crashed in the Khmelnytskyi region during Clear Sky 2018 today. The incident is currently under investigation and do not have any other information to provide at this time.  We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.


We have seen reports claiming a U.S. casualty and can confirm a U.S. service member was involved in this incident. It is currently under investigation and we will continue to provide more information as it becomes available.

According to AFM Editor Thomas Newdick, the aircraft involved in the incident is an upgraded Su-27UB1M “70 Blue”.

Several U.S. military are currently deployed to Starokostiantyniv, an airbase to the west of Kiev, to take part in Clear Sky 2018, a multinational exercise that will see the participation of 950 military from 9 countries, with assets distributed across several bases, both in Ukraine and Poland. Among them, the airmen from the 194th Fighting Squadron of the 144th Fighter Wing, California ANG, from California Air National Guard Base Fresno, California, who have deployed to Ukraine along with their F-15C.

Two-seat aircraft are often used for familiarization sorties and exchange backseat flights during exercises, so the eventual presence of a U.S. pilot aboard the Ukrainian aircraft would be quite normal.

Image credit: Chris Lofting/Wiki


About David Cenciotti
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.