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Lubins Fly MiGs Over Moscow

Reprinted with permission from the authors:
Two Letters from David and Shannon Lubin, Sept. 2001:
Before Flying
A letter sent to family and friends prior to departure to Moscow.
After Flying A letter sent to Greg (Sales Director at IA) after returning home.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

David Lubin, ready to fly a MiG over Moscow
David Ready to Fly

Greg prepares for flight in the L-39
At the hotel

Shannon at Zhukovsky
David and MiG
David and MiG
David and Vladimir
MiG-25 take off
Shannon and IvanBriefing before the flight
Pre-flight briefing

Suiting Up
Suiting Up

Pre-flight medical check
Pre-flight medical check

Pre-flight training

David & Vladimir
David & Vladimir

David & Vladimir
David & Ildus


After L-39 flight
After L-39 flight

Before Flying

"Yesterday is gone forever; Tomorrow is yet to be; Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the Present."

Life is short and we only get one shot at it. As a child, I was always fascinated with speed and jet planes. As an engineering student, I designed turbo jet engines. As an adult, I dreamed of the day that I could break the sound barrier, pull 6+ G’s, and fly to the edge of the atmosphere. Today, I have the opportunity to make that dream come true.

Tomorrow morning, I will be fulfilling that dream. I am flying to Moscow, Russia to embark upon an incredible adventure into space. I will fly in two Russian military jets including a MiG-25 and an L-39 in which I will perform maneuvers such as loops, rolls, split S’s, and dives and attain speeds up to 1,600 MPH or over 2 ½ times the speed of sound! I will climb to an altitude of 85,000 feet, where above me is a black sky filled with stars and below me will be blue sky with the curvature of the Earth in view! At that very moment, I will the highest human on the planet!

Unfortunate circumstances yielded disaster last week that will change the world forever. My heart goes out to every victim, every family, and every rescuer involved. However, we must not lose sight of our desires and dreams. Many have told me that I am crazy for going overseas and nuts for flying in a military jet over Russian air space. I will not let a terrorist take my lifelong dream away from me. If we live in fear, if we neglect to carry on and live out our dreams, he wins.

I am an American. I am very proud of that, and no one will take that away from me. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark; Professionals built the Titanic.

Wish me luck, as I embark on my ‘adventure of a lifetime.’ I have included all of you on an email ‘distribution address list’ where you will receive digital photos of my adventure while in Russia. I return on September 27, 2001 and will update all of you at that time.

After Flying
Greg, now that we are home, we wanted to personally thank you and your staff for the trip of a lifetime. Our trip to Russia was both tremendous and enlightening. The 4-star Swiss Diamond Hotel was very exquisite and offered amenities that were second-to-none. Our tours of Moscow opened our eyes to this beautiful city of architecture, cathedrals, museums, shops, ballet, and pride.

With respect to the staff, we could not have picked a better group of people if we could have designed them! Of course, I am referring to the representatives Galina, Nick, Victor, and Marina, and the pilots Ildus, Vladimir, and Alexandre. Not only were they very professional and a great asset to your company, but they were also great human beings that opened our hearts and minds about Russians as people. Although we come from the opposite sides of the world, it is truly only our language that makes us different. People like Galina, Nick and Victor added to the experience in that we looked forward to their company. They made our experience in a country so different than ours a great encounter.

The flight experience, from the dress-up, briefing, and ejection training to the take-off, flight, and landing, was an adventure that will stay with me forever. It was more than I ever imagined! At the top-secret Zhukovsky Air Force Base, my wife Shannon apprehensively watched on the ground with her new friends Galina, Nick, and the ground crew, as I began to live out my lifelong dream.

It began with the high-speed, high-altitude interceptor MiG-25 Foxbat-C flight with Vladimir Loginovski. Vladimir, a Hero of Russia Award recipient for his 3,000 hours of fighter piloting in over 30 aircraft, had me soaring at Mach 2.4 (1,600 mph) up to an 81,000-foot ceiling, where the sky was black above and the Earth was curved below. The power of the 50,000 pounds of thrust by these two afterburning turbojets combined was breathtaking as we passed through the sound barrier in what seemed like seconds!

The adventure continued with fighter and test pilot Alexandre Pavlov. With over 4,000 flights, Alex took me on an aerobatic flight in the L-39 Albatross, where we pulled 6-G’s through dives, climbs, loops, and rolls. During flight, I proudly took the controls and performed maneuvers following Alex’s instruction. My only regret: not putting the in-flight video camera in the L-39 versus the MiG-25! On day two, I experienced the fluent maneuvers of Ildus Kiramov, a retired Air Force Colonel and Honored Test Pilot. This Hero of Russia, whose 31 years of flight experience emanated through the smooth L-39 flight, flew me at 12,000 feet through split-S’s, powerful 6-G turns, Immelmans, and zero-G tail slides.

We concluded with a champagne lunch celebration with Galina, Nick, Victor, and the pilots at the base. At the apex of the MiG-25 flight, Vladimir and myself were the highest persons in the world. Even though physically, I am now back on the ground, I will mentally always be at 81,000 feet, the highest in the world! Personally, there is no price tag you can put on a priceless experience that will last a lifetime. It is no wonder why your company is called “Incredible Adventures!” Thank you.

Sincerely, David and Shannon

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