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Tu-16 crash/USS Essex

Orionblamblam

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A Youtube video showing a Tu-16 doing close flybys of the carrier Essex. By the end of it, the Tu-16 apparently ends up in the water as smoking wreckage, but the narration is in Russian, so I'm unclear on what happened (thought I did make out the word "catastrophic"). Any of our Russian-speaking members care to give a summary?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3bijF2--os&feature=related
 

archipeppe

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But anyway what are those pods under the wings of the Tupolev?
Electronic pods or missiles or....what else?
 

XP67_Moonbat

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What I wanna know is what were the circumstances behind this incident and were there any survivors for Essex to recover? I'm assuming not. I'm thinking this incident took place sometime in the 1950s judging by the deck guns on the sponsons. Fascinating.

Moonbat
 

flateric

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Recon Tu-16R of squadron leader Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Pliev, on 25 May 1968.
Searching for Essex in Norway sea. Pair of Tu-16Rs from Severomorsk.
Tu-16R piloted by Pliev overflew the USS Essex on the Norwegian sea at such low level (15-20 m) that the wingtip hit the water on turn manoeuvre and the plane cartwheeled killing all aboard.
Essex rushed to smoke trail visible on the water, and rescue choppers were rised in the air (they are barely visible on footage among smoke trails), but rescue team has found no one [alive], as documentary says.
Second Tu-16R, serving as retranslator during leader low-level flight, lost the signal from a leader and descended to trying to understand the situation.
US forwarded footage to USSR via diplomatic channels, but it's still classified here, so Wings Of Russia studio documentary team took it from US National Archives.
Pliev was an ace of low-level flights, that were a part of force demonstration efforts, reportedly ordered by C-In-C Amel'ko. May be, he was trying to get better photos. Efforts to blame US Navy fighters failed after footage has appeared, but still there were a rumours that Pliev went into manoeuvre trying to "...avoid collision with RC-controled drone from Essex."

The story is still curtained.

Another absurd death of a Cold War.
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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Gregory,

You beat me to the punch, buddy! I just did some digging and I turned up this article:

http://sovietrussia.co.uk/cold-war-blazing-skies/


Moonbat
 

Orionblamblam

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flateric said:
... wingtip hit the water on turn manoeuvre and the plane cartwheeled killing all aboard.
Ooops.

Essex rushed to smoke trail visible on the water, and rescue choppers were rised in the air...
Even though the US and USSR were adversaries, it's good to hear that rescue ops were started ASAP. Unless there's an actual shooting war, I'd hope that this would always be the case.

(they are barely visible on footage among smoke trails), but rescue team has found no one [alive], as documentary says.
Not surprising. High speed + sudden stop = bad day. Similar - sorta - thing here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n6uO-zlT94

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zuLP-QYiy0&feature=PlayList&p=793CA9CB5499A761&index=38

But then you get cases where a plane hits the water and *survives*:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2H5GBS5Gf4

Efforts to blame US Navy fighters failed after footage has appeared, but still there were a rumours that Pliev went into manoeuvre trying to "...avoid collision with RC-controled drone from Essex."
Are they still blaming a US submarine for the Kursk?
 

Richard DellErba

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Kudos to whoever posted this TU-16/Essex crash.


I have the Russian translation as you requested and it goes as follows:

"On every flight there is a cameraman, and on that day they weren't stingy with the flim.

Afterwards, the Americans gave us a copy of the the film.

In the USSR it was put into a secret archive and has not been released to this day.

We found this unique material in the National Archive in Washington and you will have the opportunity to see it for the first time since 1968.

At this time we deliberately decided to stop the film (where) Pliyeev's plane is level with the flight deck.

A 35 meter long flying machine is flying at a speed of 500 kilometers per hour, 15 meters above the sea.

After flying over the ship again, Pliyeev's makes a turn. The cameraman turns off the camera and the accident happens quickly (and) judging from this film the camera man is in shock and forgets to point the lens correctly so in these frames we only see the sailors who are looking at something.

We remember the Essex located the place where the plane went down and sent helicopters there to help. On closer view they could see the smoke, but weren't able to locate anyone alive.

A second plane circles sadly. It had lost connection with Pliyeev's plane and wanted to understand what had happened to it." End of Translation.


Some personal notes about this incident:

I was aboard the Essex as a yeoman in the Captain's Office. On this day, a very nice day in the Norwegian Sea, a co-worker and I were sunning on the catwalk right outside the the Captain's Office located on the starboard side by the superstructure.

We witnessed Crazy Ivan Pliyeev's plane making this mock attack on the Essex.
These flight were nothing new but they increased in intensity and proximity the closer we got to Russia's equivalent to our Gulf of Mexico.

We watched in amazement as the plane flew level and along side the flight deck and then flew out about a mile off our port bow and when he went to turn to make another pass, his long left wing hit the water and the plane crashed into the sea.

The next day, pictures of the pilot's remains and film cannisters of the crash came thru the Captain's Office and we were able to view the photos but not the film of the actual crash.

I don't remember exactly, but I think we assembled and processed all of this documentation for delivery to a Soviet warship (a sleek cruiser as I recall) that or the next day along with the bodies we had recovered.

I can tell you flatly, a plane hitting the water at 300 mph/500 kph really does a number on an aircrew, as the picture of an airman's leg stump in his combat boot will attest to.

There was no joy in any of this and the transfer of the remains and documentation to the Soviet ship was a solemn affair on both sides.


Regarding the film the Russians discovered in Washington archives, I don't believe it was the version we sent to them on May 26/27, 1968.

We want to give them proof positve we had no hand in the crash and would not have sent them a video leaving out the most important part: the actual crash.

You'll notice in the YouTube video it was interrupted just before the crash.

I'm no video expert but it seems the crash was edited/spliced out (note those squiggly lines) for the censored version placed in the archives, but I'm reasonably certain the film the Soviets received at the time (1968) showed the crash in all it's gory.


I'll make another reply soon and give my take on this incident and why I believed it happened in the context of the Cold War and battles being fought below the waves in 1968. Four (yes 4) submarines were lost in the first 5 months of 1968, including the USS Scorpion which was lost/sunk just 2 days before the TU-16 crash off the Essex.
 

Nick

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I believe this is the crash referred to in Phoenix Squadron by Rowland White.

Every take-off and landing on a carrier is filmed and low-level flybys like this are recorded so that the crew can watch them for fun and the ships officers can send complaints to the pilots commanders!
 

flateric

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Orionblamblam said:
Are they still blaming a US submarine for the Kursk?
there are always will be idiots at both side of the ocean
 
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