In the morning 28 May 1987 city at Maalme Airport, near Helsinki, Matias Rust prepared his Cessna-172R monoplane for departure, where he had flown from Hamburg the day before. In flight documents, the end point of the route was listed as Stockholm.
В 13.10After receiving permission, Mathias took off and headed for the planned route. After 20 flight minutes, Rust reported to the dispatcher that he was on board with order and traditionally said goodbye. After that, turning off the on-board radio station, he turned the plane sharply toward the Gulf of Finland and began to descend to the height of 80-100. This planned maneuver was to ensure reliable exit of the aircraft from the surveillance radar zone and hide the true flight route. At this altitude, Mathias headed to the settlement point of the Gulf of Finland near the Helsinki-Moscow air route. Having deployed the aircraft in the direction of the first landmark on the coast of the Soviet Union (Kohtla-Järve slate mill with its smoke, which can be seen for 100 kilometers) and checking the radio compass readings with the calculated ones, Matias went to the “combat course”. The weather on this leg of the flight was favorable: overcast - layered cumulus, 4-5 points; wind - northwest, 5-10 meters per second; visibility - at least 15-20 kilometers. So began the first phase of the flight of the violator of the state border.
В 14.10 over the territorial waters of the Soviet Union, an on-duty radar company (P-15 radar) near the Estonian village of Loksa, an unidentified light motor aircraft was found that was approaching the coastline. According to the instructions, the air object was assigned the next number and the sign “violator of the flight regime”, since at that time applications for flights in this area were small aviation did not have. The course of the aircraft almost coincided with the direction of the busy Helsinki-Moscow airway, where several aircraft were in the upper echelons of the airspace.
The calculation of the command post of the 14 Division of the Air Defense Forces has begun to refine and analyze the air situation. It was decided: until the situation was completely clarified, the information “upward” should not be issued. Over the territory of Estonia at that moment were at least 10 light aircraft of various departmental affiliation. None of them was equipped with a state identification system. At the command posts of the units and the duty units of the 14 Division, gain changes were called.
Already at this stage, the consequences of dismembering the unified command and control system of the Air Defense Forces of the country began to appear. Previously, a prerequisite for the functioning of the air defense system was the presence of direct and reliable channels of communication with civilian air traffic controllers. Information on targets for higher command posts was issued almost from the first notch. Now, instead of direct communication channels, there was a network of switches, which literally “ate” precious time. The “holy principle of frontier” was also violated: the immediate release of information on the target before the situation was clarified.
This is evidence that over the five years of the 14-th defense (KP - Tallinn) as part of the PribO military district, the necessary knowledge and skills of calculating in extreme conditions, which have been practiced for years of continuous study and training, have been lost. And at the moment (28.5.1987), the level of preparation of the calculations did not correspond to the conditions of the prevailing air situation. This sad fact later gave rise to a chain reaction of serious mistakes at other levels of management.
For 19 minutes, the calculation was unsuccessfully trying to figure out the prevailing air situation, and in the meantime Rust’s plane was approaching Lake Peipsi. AT 14.27 the commander of the 656 th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Tapa), assessing the situation, with his decision he lifted into the air a pair of MiG-23 fighter jets with the task of one of them to block the border, the other to visually identify the violator of the flight mode. And here it took time to coordinate with the air traffic controllers fighter admission to the search area, since the actions of the air defense forces on duty were carried out in the area of the airway.
В 14.28 finally it turns out that there are no civil aircraft of small aircraft in this area. AT 14.29 the operational duty officer of the command post 14 of the air defense decided to assign the offender a “combat number” 8255, to issue information “up” and to declare readiness No. 1.
So at the command post of the 6 Army of Air Defense, information appeared about the 8255 target. The commander of the 6-th Air Defense OA General Hermann Kromin translated into readiness number 1 all the connections and parts of the 54-th to the air defense. The commanders of the three anti-aircraft missile battalions of the 204 zrbr (n. Kerstovo), who were on the flight route of Rust, reported that target is monitored and ready to launch.
Meanwhile, due to the sudden disappearance of the marks from the plane from the control panel of the Maalme airport, the dispatcher tried to contact Mathias Rust. After several unsuccessful attempts, the plane was declared to be in distress and rescuers were sent to the intended area of the fall. The search continued for several hours. Later, Mathias will be charged about $ 100 thousand for "services rendered".
On 14.30 on the Cessna-172R flight route, the weather deteriorated dramatically. The wind increased, the lower edge of overcast clouds dropped to 70-100 meters, visibility dropped to 600-700 meters, in some places it started to drizzle. Matthias decided to leave with a decline under the lower edge of the clouds and change the course to the area of the reserve landmark: railway junction Art. Bottom. In this direction, visibility was better.
During this maneuver, in 14.30 (just a minute after receiving the first target data) at the command post of the 6 Army Air Defense target was lost. However, the track in the automated system continued to exist. In accordance with the performance characteristics, the system supports the route, its number and all movement parameters for almost two minutes. And if at least one target report arrives in this time interval, target tracking is not interrupted. This is the result of many years of work of designers, military scientists and testers of ACS. It was originally intended to avoid accidental loss of the tracks of air objects.
The loss of radar contact with Rust's aircraft occurred at the junction of the boundaries of responsibility of the two air defense units - 14-d air defense and 54-th to air defense, where the coordination of command posts calculations plays an important, if not decisive role. AT 14.31 the target reappeared on the radar screens of one of the radar companies, but already in 20 km west of the former route of the 8255 target at an extremely low altitude. This hampered her steady observation. They decided not to give out information on it, in order not to interfere with a complex and already difficult situation. Moreover, the target went out of the radar company detection zone and was the responsibility of the neighboring compound.
Ten minutes earlier, on 14.21, in the Peipsi Lake area, a mark with the direction of movement appeared on the screens of the radar on duty: Gdov-Malaya Vishera. In 14.24, information on this goal began to issue "up". With 14.25, the mark became unstable, and in 14.28 the tracking of the aircraft was discontinued. In 14.31, the same subdivision reveals a target with the same parameters, but is issued "upstairs", as it should be, with a different number.
And all this devilry is combined in time and space. Even to a prepared person, looking at a plan diagram - the result of a detailed multi-day analysis - it is difficult to understand what happened then 18 years ago. (article 2005 of the year)in heaven and on earth.
Situational plan-diagram of the flight of the light aircraft "Cessna-172R" 28 May 1987 (a source)
And the following happened. AT 14.31 As a result of a brief situation analysis, it is decided that the goal of 8255 changed course to 60 °. By inputting a complex proofreading computer, the calculation made the “automaton” believe it. Divisions received new target designation, but the target 8255 was not found. From that moment, as it turned out during the investigation, the system instead of the target 8255 was accompanied by a long-lived meteorological object (or their dense group).
This requires some explanation. In the middle of the 1970s, when powerful high-potential locators began to arrive at the armament of the anti-aircraft defense, already in the course of their ground tests, marks with movement parameters commensurate with the characteristics of light-engined airplanes began to be detected. They are jokingly dubbed "echo angels". This phenomenon has caused serious difficulties in the automated processing of information. Even if the operator doesn’t distinguish them well, how can we teach the automaton to work without errors? There was no time for laughter.
In the course of serious research and mass experiments, it was found that specific meteorological objects can observe radar due to the high radiating potential. These are vortex formations that are formed from vertical ascending air flows, especially with a noticeable difference in temperature at the boundary of the earth and water surfaces. This phenomenon is very characteristic for the spring period in middle latitudes and during the movement of a powerful warm front. The physics of the energy sources of such vortices (with their long existence in the atmosphere) has not yet been fully studied. In addition, the seasonal migration of dense flocks of birds creates a very similar effect.
The radar operators needed assistance in recognizing objects of this class. Detailed methods and instructions have been developed for the control bodies of the Air Defense Forces.
The newly followed 8255 target had a height of 1200 m, an average speed of 85 km / h. Significant changes in the parameters of the target within just one minute did not alert the calculation and were left without proper attention. It is obvious that in this episode the operators clearly did not have enough qualifications. It was, rather, not their fault, but the trouble of the system. After all, the calculations allowed for combat duty, pass the corresponding tests and exams. It means that someone has not properly learned them in due time. Perhaps, the consequences of the loss of professional personnel during the reform of the country's Air Defense Forces in 1978 are also seen here.
В 14.36 MiG-23 fighter pilot, Senior Lieutenant Puchnin (Tapa airfield) found Matthias Rust's plane and reported: "I see a Yak-12 sports plane with a dark stripe on board in the ruptures of the clouds." Visual contact was short-lived due to dense cloud cover. More to detect the plane Mathias failed. During the investigation, Rust was asked: "Did you see the fighter?" Matthias replied: "Yes, I saw and even greeted him, but he (the fighter) did not give me any signals, but my radio station was turned off." The report of the pilot MiG-23 was adopted, but was ignored. It was considered that the discovered plane belonged to one of the local flying clubs, where at that time scheduled flights were carried out.
В 15.00 By the decision of the commander of the 6 Army of air defense from the Gromovo airfield, a fighter pair on duty was raised into the air with the task of determining the type and nationality of the 8255 target. On the flight route, the weather did not please the target. The warm front moved southeast. Cloudiness is solid, in some places it rains, the lower edge of the clouds is 200-400 meters, the upper edge is 2500-3000 meters. The search was carried out within 30 minutes. It was forbidden for fighters to descend into the clouds, it was too dangerous. Reports began to arrive from the anti-aircraft missile battalions that the new target designation of the 8255 target was not detected. AT 15.31 the army commander decided to 8255's goal is a dense flock of birds. This was reported to the TsKP Air Defense Forces.
However, the existing methods and instructions contained the necessary information about which species of birds could fly in fog and clouds at what time of day, and under what circumstances a dense flock could change the direction of flight. If you follow these recommendations, then Rust's plane could not be identified with a flock of birds.
К 15.00 Matthias approached the railway junction station. Bottom. The weather has improved by this time. Above the intersection of the railways, Mathias changed course again and now did not change it until Moscow itself.
В 15.05 Rust's airplane was already within the boundaries of the responsibility of the air defense connection of the Moscow Air Defense District - the 2 Air Defense Corps (Rzhev). His route passed through the aerobatic zones of the air force aviation regiment, where planned flights took place. The air was at the same time before the 12 fighter. In 15.00, in accordance with the schedule, the code of the state identification system has changed. Since this process (technically just a toggle switch) is performed by the crews in the air and calculations on the ground, this procedure takes some time. As a rule, no more than one or two minutes.
In this case (with the Air Force fighters) the process dragged on for an inexcusably long time. From the higher command post they demanded to immediately deal with the situation, as five of the twelve fighters began to be accompanied by a system without an identification signal “I am my plane”. The system in this case makes recommendations on changing the current numbers to "combat" and prepares data for targeting to anti-aircraft missile divisions and aviation guidance points. The calculation of the command post of the air defense junction tried to contact the flight director iap to give a command to the enthusiastic young pilots to change the code. Due to the lack of direct communication channels, this was done only in 16 minutes.
At this time, in the Moscow District of the Air Defense Forces, the commanders and personnel were awaiting a routine check of the duty personnel with the participation of control targets. The essence of such a test is as follows. According to a previously developed and agreed plan on one of the airplanes that is in the air, the state identification system is switched off by command. The inspection manager announces this target to the control. She is assigned a "combat" number and all the necessary actions of the duty forces are carried out with analysis and scoring based on materials of objective control.
In order not to make additional confusion in the air situation, the operational duty officer of the command post of the command gave the command of the calculation of the unit’s automation system: “Assign the sign“ I am my plane. ”To the officer’s objection that such instructions contradict the instructions, he is excluded from carrying combat duty. Ultimately, the young lieutenant performs the command. Mathias's plane is also assigned the sign "I am my plane." So in 15.10 Rust, unwittingly, temporarily received legal registration in the airspace of the USSR.
К 16.00, in the area of the town of Ostashkov, Matthias’s plane entered the detection zone of the next flight of the PTB unit and lost its temporary registration. Information on the aircraft was again issued without the sign "I am my plane." Again, a long clarification of the situation and again the assignment of the required sign and the further legalization of the flight.
Matthias at that time was in 40 kilometers west of the city of Torzhok, where a plane crash occurred the day before. Two aircraft collided in the air - the Tu-22 and MiG-25. At the scene of the fall of the fragments of the machines, several rescue teams and accident investigation specialists were working. People and cargo were delivered to the crash site by helicopters of the aviation unit in the area of Torzhok. One of the helicopters was in the air as a coherent repeater. В 16.30 Mathias plane identified with the rotorcraft. Therefore, no concern Rust on this leg of the flight no one has caused.
The air situation in the detection zone of the next unit, where Matthias entered, was also tense. Here they fought with the notorious long-lived meteorological objects. They have been observed on the screens of the radar indicators already for 40 minutes (and several objects at a time). All objects moved southeast. Here Rust again came under "amnesty" - was removed from the escort as a meteorological object. It was already at the exit from the detection zone units.
Nevertheless, at the command post, the course difference between this route and the airborne objects that were previously dropped from tracking was noticed. AT 16.48 By the decision of the commander of the 2 Air Defense Corps, two duty fighters from the Rzhev airfield were raised with the task of searching for small aircraft or other aircraft southeast of Staritsa. It was believed that wariness during the routine inspection will not be superfluous. Search results did not give.
В 17.40 Matthias' plane hit the radar of the Moscow aerodrome. This seriously threatened the safety of air traffic in the Moscow aviation zone. In terms of the plane did not appear, flew with violations of the rules of flight in the zone, there was no connection with the crew. Until the situation was clarified, the administration of Sheremetyevo Airport stopped receiving and sending passenger liners. For some reason, the mass media attributed this fact to some mystery, up to the preliminary agreement between Sheremetyevo and Rust.
When coordinating a joint action plan with the command of the Moscow Air Defense District, it was decided that the civil aviation administration itself would cope with the violator of the flight regime. But when they found that the intruder was already in the Moscow city area, where flights were generally prohibited, it was too late to say anything or to do so.
В 18.30 Matthias' plane appeared over the Khodynka field and continued to fly to the city center. Having decided that it was impossible to land on Ivanovskaya Square of the Kremlin, Matias made three unsuccessful attempts to land on Red Square. The dimensions of the latter allowed to do this, but there were a lot of people on the pavement. And, as Mattias himself said during the investigation, “although I signaled by turning on the landing lights and shaking my wings, the tourists in the square did not understand me.”
After that, Rust made a risky decision - to land on the Moskvoretsky bridge. Turning over the hotel Russia, Matias began to decline over Bolshaya Ordynka Street, turning on the landing lights. Traffic police of the traffic police in order to avoid an accident on the bridge turned on the red light of the traffic light. Landing on the bridge Matias performed skillfully, given that he had snipers get into the area between the adjacent transverse stretch marks of a trolleybus network. It happened in 18.55. He rode to the Pokrovsky Cathedral and turned off the engine, Matthias stepped out of the plane in a new red jumpsuit, put the pads under the chassis and began to distribute autographs.
It is impossible not to shed light on two more myths that emerged at that time. Someone from the amateur researchers, putting a ruler to the map, wondered: why did the route 850 kilometers long with the average speed of the 220 plane km / hour did Matthias travel 5 hours 50 minutes in 1 hours? Therefore, he should have landed on 30 an hour XNUMX minutes earlier. A version appeared immediately that Rust was landing somewhere, and maybe not even one. Someone recalled that they had seen him at Helsinki Airport before taking off in jeans and a green shirt, and he was getting out of his plane in Moscow in red overalls. Consequently, changed clothes during landing.
In fact, everything was much simpler and more prosaic. The distance that Mathias covered at his Сessna-172R was 1220 kilometers, the average flight speed, given the variable altitude profile, 210 km / h. At the output we have - 5 hours 50 minutes. It is in strict accordance with the materials of objective control. By the way, after the landing of the fuel in the tanks of the aircraft Rust remained for another two hours of flight. So Matthias did not care about fuel economy.
With a red jumpsuit even easier. While preparing the plane for the flight to Helsinki, neat Matthias was afraid to soil the new overalls specially acquired for this flight. Rust put on top of his jeans and shirt, which he took off before departure. He flew the flight in a new beautiful jumpsuit. After all, he (in his opinion) flew to Moscow as a messenger of peace.
During the flight of Rust, various random events took place and were superimposed on them in the most bizarre way. Any of them could lead to the termination of the flight or change its goals. Only one example - a dangerous thunderhead at the beginning of Rust’s flight could radically change everything. However, this did not happen - the flight, conceived by Matthias, was completed successfully.
Among the reasons for the flight of Mathias Rust at the time was dominated by two versions. The first was that the flight was planned by the West to help Mikhail Gorbachev carry out personnel reform in the highest echelons of the USSR Armed Forces and remove from power the conservative leadership of the army led by Marshal Sokolov. The second version qualified the flight of Rust as reconnaissance. Both versions are too elegant to be true. The second immediately disappeared during the investigation.
What else was revealed during the investigation? The serious imperfection of the legal basis for the actions of the duty forces of the Air Defense Forces of the country became obvious. In fact, the DCs have become hostages of serious miscalculations by politicians and senior officials of the Ministry of Defense. There were insurmountable contradictions between the tasks assigned to the Air Defense Forces and the limited rights of the command personnel in the use of forces and means. In addition, there were no criteria for evaluating the actions of their troops in extreme situations. In many ways, the troubles are rooted in the ill-conceived and unprofessional reorganization of the Air Defense Forces in 1978. It can be stated with complete reason - if there were no 1978, then there would be no 28 events in May 1987.
After the flight of Rust, the guilty were found almost immediately. Three marshals of the Soviet Union and about three hundred generals and officers were removed from their posts. Two of them are convicted. The army did not know such personnel pogroms with 1937. People came to the leadership of the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces, an order of magnitude (or even two) inferior in their professional, business and moral qualities to the marshals and generals. According to many experts, the degradation of the USSR Armed Forces began precisely after the passage of Rust. This was largely due to the qualities of the new appointees.