MiGFlug, the famous company that offers jet rides, has canceled scheduled flights in Russia and removed all Russian-based flights from its platform.
“We cut all Russian flights as a result of the war in Ukraine,” Philipp Schaer, one of the company’s founders along with Flavio Kaufmann, told The Aviation Geek Club.
“We not only offered jet flights in Russia for 18 years, it’s also where our business started,” he said.
The idea of fighter jet travel originated with the end of the Cold War and the downsizing of the military services and air force due to strained public finances in the former Eastern bloc – former communist states from central and eastern Europe.
At that time, many former Warsaw Pact military aircraft appeared in the West or on the market for sale. One of the reasons was the lack of state control in the Eastern Bloc countries in the years after 1991 – or 1989, respectively.
This led to a lack of control and chaos.
Considering the huge amount of military equipment these countries possessed, including nuclear weapons, this was a very dangerous situation. Corruption and lack of scruples were rampant, things just “disappeared”.
A former Swiss pilot who made his fortune buying Aero L-39 Albatros jets and selling them in the west, mainly in the United States, told MiGFlug: “In some countries, those who held these positions were simply trying to earn something thanks to the dwindling stock of military equipment. In Ukraine, for example, you could give them a boxcar full of potatoes, they would give you an L-39 in exchange.
The idea for MiGFlug originated when Schaer and Kaufmann were traveling through Eastern Europe during their college years. One epic night in a Moscow bar, they met a Russian military pilot and convinced him to take them on a flight in a fighter jet. Although the question was intended as a joke, one of the following days the pilot smuggled them into a Russian Air Force training base and took them on an Aero L- 39 Albatross.
As unbelievable as it may seem, this is how the company was born. MiGFlug [the name of the company was obtained by merging the words MiG (for the legendary Soviet fighter jets) and Flug (that means flight in German)] was founded in 2004 in Zurich, Switzerland.
After that unforgettable first flight, Schaer and Kaufmann navigated the Russian military administration complex to make the experience accessible to other aviation enthusiasts.
Surprisingly, jets have been made available for civilian fighter flights by Russian state operators. The jets made available included modern 4th generation fighter aircraft, such as the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker, Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum and MiG-31 Foxhound. In fact, because of the huge financial crisis in 1997, Russians tried to earn hard currency with everything they had and these amazing Russian fighter jets were suddenly made available to American tourists for flights in a fighter plane.
The flights took place from Zhukovsky Air Base, where the MAKS air show takes place. Other supersonic jets available for flight at this time included the MiG-23 Flogger and the MiG-25 Foxbat. Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, flights were still available today, although Zhukovsky was closed to civilian supersonic jet flights in 2006. Additional flights were available from Sokol Air Base in Nizhny Novgorod. MiGFlug was also the first company to offer MiG-29 supersonic flights there as well as Edge of Space flights.
And as demand for flights grew, MiGFlug has grown and now offers fighter jet flights around the world (CLICK HERE for an overview of fighter jet flights currently available).
But now all Jet Rides in Russia are canceled.
“It is coming to an end because of this tragic and unnecessary war,” the company said on its Facebook page. “All profits generated from flights to Russia over the past two years will be used to support Ukraine. We are currently looking for the most effective way to help. If you have a suggestion, feel free to share it in the comments!’
Photo credit: MiGFlug