MiG Graveyard - Hungary, May 2019

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B W T

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48665712003_d1a722937a_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #17 Late-Night Recon Mission

Somewhere in rural Hungary, we just came back from a late-night recon mission. The previous explorations during this road trip have shown us how important it is to always be well-prepared. On our five-day adventure, we have infiltrated some extremely risky sites. In the past, several urbexers got caught at those places and even got punished as a consequence. We, however, have been spared. But this wasn't only because of pure luck. We always try to be prepared as good as in any way possible. And that's why we were scouting in the middle of the night to find out what the situation was at the abandoned place we wanted to infiltrate the next morning. Eventually, we found our tents. After a short night, we started our mission with the first rays of sunlight.

48666217007_4c8209d58d_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #06 Warplanes

The road we were walking to the place was actually a former auxiliary runway of an army air field. If you take a look around you will still find some old bunkers. But by now, nature has retaken the major parts of the deserted premises. After some walking, we finally arrived at our destination: Well-placed jet fighters. What a sight! It was around five in the morning, sun was still really low but we were happy to finally explore those former deadly engines of war at daylight. And to be honest: Those planes were much bigger than we thought they would be!

48665718888_4184e9f6b8_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #01 Squadron

More than 30 fighter aircrafts we were counting on this field. Nearly all of them were MiG-21 jets. A few of them were even in a converted version with two seats. Those were used for training. On top of that, there were also some Suchoi Su-22 fighter bombers. All of them were discarded, dumped and made unable to fly.

48666212922_da8e08b272_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #14 Trainee

Even though we would have loved to capture those eerie machines from all the different angles, we needed to be really vigilant for the whole time. Because the neighbor could have seen us at any moment. Strictly speaking, it wasn't even the neighbor since all the military equipment is on his property.

48666215452_8d1979473d_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #09 Pilot

Nevertheless, it was a unique experience for us to explore this aircraft cemetery. How often do you have the chance to see such military equipment up close? Of course, we were taking the chance to inspect every single detail of those jets. As we found out that it's even possible to get inside the cockpits, we immediately had to try it out. For someone with no clue the cockpit of the MiG-21 is leaving a confusing impression. The number of switches, instruments and displays is simply overwhelming. Actually, quite a lot of them are only used for technical controls and aren't even relevant for the pilot. The widgets which are important for the flight can be found on the control panel in front of the pilot.

48666060981_43309fff11_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #02

The MiG-21 is one of the most manufactured airplanes of all time. The interceptor was developed by the USSR around 1959 and introduced by the air forces of more than 50 countries. So, it was the most important airplane of the Eastern bloc states' armies. Due to the high performance of the engine, a low fuel consumption, good electronics and the broad range of weapons the MiG-21 is a true multirole combat aircraft. The Hungarian Air Force had over 250 of them in operations. Although, this warplane is a real success story, there was quite an amount of accidents with it. The former Hungarian People's Army have suffered more than 70 losses where numerous pilots died.

48666214907_29222c1e77_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #12 MiG-21

That long spear in the front of each craft was used to measure the airplane’s speed. Since it's a supersonic aircraft, every regular instrument would give false information at a speed of 1 Mach. That's why this measuring device is located as far outside of the fuselage as possible.

48666060431_f473cd193a_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #03 Dumped

The aircraft cemetery is located directly next to one of the country's few air force bases. The small landing strip we were taking by foot in the beginning was part of this base until some time ago. After the fall of the Soviet Union Hungary became part of the NATO around the turn of the century. Then it was about to transform the military forces of the country. Many outdated fighter aircrafts were decommissioned as a consequence. Some of them were sold to museums or collectors but a large number was simply dumped.

48666056411_6f9f94691f_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #10

Since these jets were still fully operational though, their engines were filled with some kind of concrete. That's why those great machines are slowly sinking into the mud and will never be able to conquer the sky again. Scavengers are taking advantage of that and are dismantling the aircrafts bit by bit. By now, those deconstructions have become clearly visible to some extent.

48665715948_437ed36e8f_b.jpg MiG Graveyard #08

With the fall of communism, the era of those legendary warplanes was over. In the past, we have already heard of several other dumped MiGs which gained a lot of attention in the urbex community. But mostly, those are only single jets. Here we had the chance to see more than 30 of them at the same time. That's why this was one of the locations we were looking forward the most during this road trip. We were able to accomplish this mission without any problems. Now, we were glad to see another vehicle graveyard next which should also stir our blood! You can see this MiG graveyard and the next abandoned place in this documentary on YouTube:


 

Silverlight

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The “spear” is called a pitot tube. (Pronounced ‘pee-tow) as you say, it measures air pressure and, combined with a static vent elsewhere on the airframe, gives indicated air speed.
 
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