The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense on Thursday confirmed the death of a MiG-29 fighter pilot of the Bulgarian military aviation, which fell into the Black Sea on Tuesday night. The catastrophe occurred during military maneuvers.
The rescue operation of the 47-year-old major Georgi Terziev lasted over 36 hours. The plane wreckage and its black box are still searched for, the data of which will help explain the causes of the crash.
The Ministry of Defense informed that Maj. Terziew was an experienced first-class pilot, instructor and chief of staff of the squadron at the Graf Ignatiewo military airport near Plovdiv.
Many of Terziev’s colleagues in interviews for Bulgarian media said that the poor condition of the military aviation is the reason why Bulgarian airmen fly over three times less than their colleagues from other NATO states.
One of the last machines that Bulgaria received from the USSR in 1989
The Ministry of Defense said that the wanted machine is one of the last that Bulgaria received from the USSR in 1989, the planes are to be used until 2029-30. According to the ministry, Bulgaria has 15 MiG-29 fighters, five or six of which are airworthy. Renovation and servicing of fighters is provided by the Russian company RKS-MIG.
In 2018, Bulgaria signed a contract with the US to purchase eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft worth $ 1.2 billion, but their delivery will start in 2022-2023.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / VASSIL DONEV