Hmmm, a harmless lookin bunch of middle aged ol' russians right? in fact, they look so nerdy and innocent that you'd think nothing was amiss except for that menacing Sukhoi right behind them. Well, looks can be deceptive, for these men are capable of mayhem in the sky. Not likely? read on then..
They are part of the Russian Knights, the second best air show team in the world. These guys fly Su-27 flankers similar to the one shown above, and their antics in the sky are matched only on the ground by my antics on the bike :D kiddin.. my bike cant do any of the wild stuff below...I could probably rig her up to shoot flares like this dude here, but i don't think I'll be able to go upside down.. might end up scratching my AGV :P These 'ere guys don't pay no attention to stuff like regulations. They aren't all that welcome at European air shows for the same reason. They have no qualms flying over the spectators. They've been cited for that more than once.
Shooting flares off is their standard air show trick. These flares are actually magnesium sticks that are used in self defence against an attack by heat seeking missiles. These are even hotter than the engine due to Mg's high flash point, and the sensor on the missile is lured their way. It's fitted in a dispenser between the twin tails of the aircraft. And its used to awesome effect.
And why are they second best? Heh, they probably are the best, but then i have a soft corner for the Strizhi Team.. they fly Fulcrums, have a better colour scheme, a cooler name.. i could go on..:) Will post them here soon enough.