|Injuries (non-fatal) 543 (on ground)|
Date 27 July 2002
Operator Ukrainian Air Force
|Aircraft type Sukhoi Su-27|
Summary Pilot error
Fatalities 77 (on ground)
|Site Sknyliv Airfieldnear Lviv, Ukraine|
Crew 2 – Volodymyr Toponar and co-pilot Yuriy Yegorov (ejected to safety)
Similar Ramstein air show disaster, 2015 Shoreham Airshow crash, 2011 Reno Air Races crash
The Deadliest air show in the history of aviation |Sknyliv air show disaster
The Sknyliv air show disaster occurred on 27 July 2002, when a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 piloted by Volodymyr Toponar and co-piloted by Yuriy Yegorov crashed during an aerobatics presentation at Sknyliv airfield near Lviv, Ukraine. The accident killed 77 people and injured 543, 100 of whom were hospitalised. It is the deadliest air show accident in history.
- The Deadliest air show in the history of aviation Sknyliv air show disaster
More than 10,000 spectators attended the Saturday air show, staged to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Ukrainian Air Force's 14th Air Corps. At 12:52pm, the Su-27 aircraft – flown by two experienced pilots – entered a rolling maneuver with a downward trajectory at low altitude; having rolled upright once more the aircraft was still descending rapidly and the left wing dropped shortly before the aircraft hit the ground, at which point the crew initiated ejection. The aircraft flattened out initially, skidding over the ground towards stationary aircraft, striking a glancing blow against the nose of an Il-76 transport aircraft before beginning to explode and cartwheel into the crowd of spectators. Both pilots survived with minor injuries.
77 spectators were killed, including 28 children (though initial reports by the Emergency Situations Ministry put the number of dead at 83, including 23 children). Another 100 were hospitalized for head injuries, burns, and bone fractures. Other injuries were less severe and did not require hospitalization: a total of 543 people were injured during the incident.
Following the disaster, the pilots stated that the flight map they had received differed from the actual layout. On the flight data recorder, one pilot asks, "And where are our spectators?" Others have suggested that the pilots were slow to react to automated warnings issued by the flight computer.
Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma publicly blamed the military for the disaster and dismissed the head of the air force, Volodymyr Strelnykov. The defense minister Volodymyr Shkidchenko sent in his resignation, but it was rejected by Kuchma.
On 24 June 2005, a military court sentenced pilot Volodymyr Toponar and co-pilot Yuriy Yegorov to 14 and 8 years in prison, respectively. The court found the two pilots and three other military officials guilty of failing to follow orders, negligence and violating flight rules. Two of the three officials were sentenced to up to six years in prison, and the last official received up to four years. In addition, Toponar was ordered to pay 7.2 million hryvnia ($1.42 million; €1.18 million) in compensation to the families, and Yegorov another 2.5 million hryvnia. The crew's main flight trainer was acquitted for lack of evidence. Yegorov was released in 2008 after President Yushchenko issued a decree reducing his sentence to three and a half years.
While the pilots were assigned the majority of the blame, which included accusations of attempting maneuvers with which they were not experienced, Toponar had requested an additional training flight at the airfield where the display was to be performed; this request was denied.
After the verdict was announced, Toponar said he planned to appeal, insisting the crash was due to technical problems and a faulty flight plan.