MiG-29 crash brings to fore issue of Bulgarian pilots’ lack of flying hours

The cause of the June 9 crash of a Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 fighter jet in the Black Sea remains unknown, but has led to several comments about the low number of pilots’ flying hours.

This is far from the first time that the issue has been raised.

One prominent example was in October 2015, when the then-head of the Bulgarian Air Force, Major-General Roumen Radev, resigned from that post – only to be talked out of it the same day by Boiko Borissov, the then-Prime Minister.

It emerged that Radev had told Borissov of the numerous problems facing the Air Force, which he felt made it impossible to do his job.

As The Sofia Globe reported at the time, these problems included the number of operable fighter jets for combat duty, air policing and flight training being woefully inadequate, a shrinking number of trained pilots who, in turn, were flying dangerously little, increasing the risk of serious accidents. Opportunities to train young pilots were decreasing.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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