The MiG-35 crew leader was Russian Aircraft Corporation’s (RAC) project test pilot Mikhail Belyaev. Russia is at Aero India 2009 in force and has brought along it’s MiG-35 for flight displays. The aircraft is one of the contenders for the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender floated by the Indian government.
Retired Air Marshal Harish Masand of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew the MiG-35 demonstrator at Aero India 2009 on Wednesday. The former IAF officer, who last flew a fighter aircraft six years back, was the first commanding officer of the first MiG-29 squadron of the IAF and has flown over 3,000 missions. The 62-year-old Air Marshal was visibly thrilled at having flown the aircraft. “It is extremely comfortable. There’s nothing like it. In the older MiG-29s, G-force is something that is very apparent. The pilot can feel the pressure. But in the MiG-35 it was very comfortable. There was no discomfort at all,” he said. The MiG-35 is the latest version of the MiG-29. The IAF has been flying MiG fighter aircraft for the last 45 years, with types including the MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27 and MiG-29. Air Marshal Masand also pointed out that if the IAF did choose to buy the MiG-35, it would be an excellent choice as IAF pilots are already familiar with MiG aircraft.