On June 7th, 2012 “Celestial Hussars” would have marked their 38th anniversary.
From the history of the 234th Air Force Regiment: “In late 60-es it was evident that it was getting increasingly difficult for the 234th Air Force Regiment to keep its status of a unit specializing on aerobatic flights. More sophisticated aircraft posed a new challenge for pilots who now had to demonstrate a higher level of training, physical and mental abilities. As a result, on June 7th, 1974, according to the order of the Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Air Force a new aerobatic squadron # 4 which gathered best-trained pilots was formed in the structure of the 234th Air Force Regiment.
The pilots of the 4th Squadron flew MiG-21 and MiG-23. They performed more than 800 demonstration flights within a decade. Reorganization of the Air Force in late 80-es – early 90-es led to reduction of the number of squadrons within the Regiment’s structure. The 4th aerobatic squadron received number 3.
According to the new structure the 3rd squadron had the functions of demonstrating characteristics of the USSR Air Force frontline offensive aircraft to foreign guests…”
As a matter of fact, the 3rd squadron became the first officially recognized Soviet aerobatic team flying fighter jets.
On April 12th, 1991 the 3rd squadron had its debut air show on Kubinka Air Force base: they flew Su-25 aircraft with the new original livery. The group was named “Celestial Hussars”.
Original Su-25 “Celestial Hussars” Livery
“Celestial Hussars” pilots, left to right: O.Dolzhnikov, A.Gornov, I.Kravtsov, A.Smirnov, I.Tabunov, G.Avramenko, Y.Zavolokin