FighterSweep Fans, we can’t speak for you, but on our end–when given the opportunity–Sundays often provide the perfect time to get outside and go take a leisurely loop around the flagpole. Nothing pressing, other than wanting to get airborne and go enjoy some quality time in the airspace.
Judging from the flying you’ll see in the video above, it would appear as though the Bulgarian Air Force–the Военновъздушни сили, or BBC–was of a similar mind when it sent a pair of Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 “Fishbed” fighters aloft to delight a group of aerial photographers. Just to sweeten the deal, they threw in a pair of MiG-29 Fulcrums as well.
The Bulgarian Air Force is one of the oldest air forces in the world. It traces its lineage all the way back to the late 1890s, when two lieutenants in the Bulgarian Army took flight in a French balloon.
So inspired by the experience, they returned home and convinced the Bulgarian Army’s leadership the force needed airships in its arsenal. Though their crusade took a few years, on 20 April 1906, the Bulgarian Army created its own aviation arm, to be equipped with balloons.
In recent times, the Bulgarian Air Force has been taking part in several NATO exercises–as well as real contingency operations, all of them in Europe. The force is comprised of Russian built equipment: Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft, a handful of MiG-21s, as well as a dozen or so MiG-29s. The oldest aircraft in the fleet, the Fishbeds, are timing out, and the Bulgarian government is looking to replace them with something more relevant.
As is the case for our own Air Force, the Bulgarians are struggling with modernization. Timing and budget woes have prevented them from moving ahead in replacing their aging fleet, so the Russian-built equipment may have to stay serviceable even longer than the government would like.
All of that aside, please take a few minutes and check this out. For those of you with 4K resolution on your computers or televisions, this clip was filmed in that format. The level of detail is stunning, and reflects just the kind of easy-going, relaxing flying best suited for a weekend.
(Featured photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons)