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Russian Knights

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Russian Knights is the name of the Russian aerobatic air team. They first flew on April 5, 1991.

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In Sept. of 1991 the team made their foreign debut in the United Kingdom. Since 1991 the Russian Knights have become regular participants at major air shows and flying events all over the world. The team has even had two appearances at air shows in the United States.

Pilots report that the Russian Knights Su-27 is a fighter aircraft with extreme performance characteristics. They appreciate that they can test the limits of its performance envelope and still be in complete control of the aircraft. The sophisticated controls of the aircraft make it ideally suited to perform the aerobatics that the Russian Knights are known for.

A typical Russian Knights practice session involves setting the aircraft brakes and running the engines at maximum power. Any variations from normal operations are looked for at this time. Once the aircraft is thoroughly checked out, its time to taxi to the active runway.

With the aircraft aligned with the runway center line, power is applied and the brakes released. Acceleration begins with the feeling of modest pressure in your seat, rather than a shove. However, the jet accelerates quickly. Once some air gets flowing over the flight controls, they become very effective. Rotation speed is quickly reached and a slight back pressure on the stick will have the plane off the ground in a hurry. It is time to quickly retract the landing gear and flaps. Once the aircraft is flying clean, it will quickly pick up speed.

The thrill of strapping on the Russian Knights premier fighter aircraft is intense. The controls are light, yet firm and responsive. Of course, the idea of the session is to practice aerobatics. All sorts of rolls, loops, inverted flight, and more intricate maneuvers are easily accomplished and quickly executed in this sophisticated flying machine. Its aerobatic potential is only limited by the abilities of its pilot.

The Russian Knights aircraft excels in low speed, high alpha maneuvers, an air show favorite. When a stall is induced, the jet will slowly and gently drop its nose. Recoveries are a simple matter of keeping the wings level and picking up enough speed so the controls are again operable. Although the engines spool-up very quickly for turbojets, one must still remain cognizant of their lack of instant response. This is very important while flying formation maneuvers.

Landing a heavy piece or iron like the Russian Knights fighter can be challenging. If you back off of the throttles too soon, a very high rate of sink will be the result. Because of the jet lag of the engines, a pilot wants to keep approach speed up until the aircraft reaches about twenty feet over the runway. Power can then be reduced smoothly and the aircraft easily flared. The spoilers and brakes are very effective in bringing the aircraft down from speed very quickly. In fact, if a nose high position is held upon landing, the entire body of the aircraft will act as a giant speed brake.

On Aug. 16, 2009 while rehearsing for an upcoming air show, two of the Russian Knights aircraft collided killing the team leader.

The Russian Knights are based at the Kubinka Air Base.

RC Russian Knights from NitroPlanes.

Pictured above and immediately below is the rc Russian Knights on sale by NitroPlanes. It has a wingspan of 31" and a length of 43". Included are a pair of brushless ducted fan assemblies, radio, servos, speed controller, battery and charger. All up weight is 28 oz.

We are told that the rc Russian Knights sold by NitroPlanes is stable and easy to fly for a pilot with a little aileron experience. It has good ground handling and taking it off or landing it is simple. It is capable of looping, rolling, and flying inverted. With the included battery, it should fly for over ten minutes. It can be assembled in around one hour.

The second picture below is of the rc Russian Knights built from a kit for sale by AK Models. It is pulled by a .90 two cycle engine swinging a propeller up front. Wingspan is 54" and length 65". All up weight is about 8 1/4 lbs.

The bottom picture is of Steve Bolle and his rc Russian Knights airplane. We received the following email from Steve:

"I thought that I would give you some details about the aircraft. I built the rc Russian Knights aircraft from my own plans and foam core wings. It is fitted with an OS 46 FX, Spring Air retracts and all moving tail plane. The SU-27 is my all time favourite airplane, closely followed by the full size Westwind 1124 I flew some time ago. - Regards Steve Bolle"

We would like to thank Steve for providing the information about his rc model airplane.

NitroPlanes rc Russian Knights airplane.

A rc Russian Knights jet from Ak Models.

Steve Bolle and his rc Russian Knights.

AK Models has a rc Russian Knights kit for sale. It has a wingspan of 56" and is made from balsa and plywood.

Art Tech makes a rc Russian Knights jet with a 31" wingspan that can be found for sale as a ARF or RTF (ready to fly) by numerous retailers. If this model interests you, it may pay to shop around.

There is a plan for a foamy rc Russian Knights jet at the Parkjets website. It has a 24" wingspan and is pusher powered.

There is a giant scale Russian Knights jet available for sale from Jet Tech with a 70" wingspan. It uses a pair of turbines for power.

Aviation Design has a Russian Knights airplane giant scale kit for sale. It is turbine powered and has a wingspan of 72".

You can find a ARF Russian Knights scale model jet for sale by Ultrafly. Wingspan is 26", with a 36" fuselage. It needs a 400 size pusher prop motor for power.

Ikarus has a rc Russian Knights profile scale model. It is a pusher designed for a 400 size motor with a wingspan of 30" and a 41" long fuselage.

If you know of a good rc Russian Knights airplane, please email us.