Sukhoi 22 and Tumanski R29 engine

Now this was a thing that I could just not resist. Someone laid down a gauntlet for me. If I were able to reduce the weight of an SU-22 (about 17 tonnes) to that which would enable it to be airlifted by Chinook (10 tonnes or less) I could keep anything that I wished. The only stipulations being that I left it looking like a jet and safe to airlift. They had approached the owners of an SU-22 in the UK only to be told how long it would take and that it was impossible without shipping all their tooling over and getting a specialist guy from Russia or the Czech Republic. The trouble was they wanted it doing and doing now.

So I said urm, yes ill do it........... DOH!!!

I started by de-paneling and surveying the airframe to determine its condition, completeness, and how it was assembled. The aircraft turned out to be 100% complete. I did try go get permission to run it prior to dismantling itbut to no avail. So I looked at what components would best reduce the weight, decided what needed to be removed roughly roughly and made my mind up what to do. Next came the draining of the fuel and oil, the next was the task to depressurize the oleos and find any other systems that were still pressurized such as the fire suppression system, accumulators, flying control and general services hydraulic systems etc and deal with them. The next task was the seat, this I was not sure about so I bought a K36 seat manual from the Ukraine, made some safety pins and lifted it out.
It turned out to be disarmed any way. I then decided to set about pulling the engine. The majority of Russian single engine aircraft are similar in construction and require the removal of the tail before the engine slides out on rollers. This was similar to the Hunter with which I am familiar, but the engine in this is four times the size and is primarily stainless steel and refractory alloys and so I guessed it to weigh about 3.5 tonnes. The fuselage split line required a special tool for the bolts so I made my own with an old socket with a HUGE bi hex nut welded into it.
The engine needed supporting at the rear with the crane while I slid it out. I then tresstled it to be able to lift it a both ends and removed it. There is very little room to work in Russian fighters, with the Mig 21s there is so little room that the harness and controls are routed along the outside of the fuselage and covered with large conduit. To cut a long story short I got it done pretty much without hassle and got a beautiful engine out of it (and the TS-21 GTS featured on
this site). Once stripped a little further and re-assembled minus the seat, radar, avionics, powered flight control units, oxygen bottles, ballast etc etc, we weighed it with a crane and the weight turned out to be 9.2 tonnes HA HA and HA!!! We sent the gen to Odiham who calculated the c of g and dutifully arrived with a Chinook and slinging crew. After some shuftying on their part they slung it, and departed with it. It was unbelievably impressive to watch a Chinook hovering at 15 feet and steady as a rock with guys clambering all over the Sukhoi to sling it.

The professionalism was amazing to watch, it was a cacophony of noise, dust and vibration that was simply awesome and yet the chinook was controlled to inch perfection and the guys knew exactly what
to do and where to be, and all went seamlessly.

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