Famous Test Pilot Anatoly Nikolaevich Kvochur – 1952-2024

Once described as “a pilot by the grace of God”, world renowned Soviet, later Russian, test pilot Anatoly Nikolaevich Kvochur died at the age of 71 following a long illness on April 16, 2024.

A Hero of the Russian Federation, Kvochur was noted for his fast jet displays across the world during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s in a host of Russian types, including the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker as the leader of the two-ship Lyotchiki-Ispyttahtel, better known as the Test Pilots Team, from the Gromov Flying Research Institute based at Zhukovsky near Moscow.

A 1978 graduate of the Fedotov Test Pilot School at Zhukovsky, Kvochur went on to test and evaluate more than 90 types across his career, set countless long endurance records, carry out research programmes in aerial refuelling, weaponry, cockpit design, super-manoeuvrability and aviation medicine, among others, he was bestowed the award of Honoured Test Pilot of the USSR in 1990. Without doubt, Kvochur is best remembered for his spectacular low-level ejection from a MiG-29 Fulcrum following a birdstrike while displaying the then latest Russian fighter to the world at the Paris Air Show on June 8, 1989. Managing to steer the stricken jet away from the crowd, Kvochur ejected just 2.5 seconds before the jet hit the ground.

Flying fast jets until the age of 65, he logged some 4,800 hours of which more than 3,000 were during test flights. Dying just a day before his 72nd birthday, Anatoly Nikolaevich Kvochur was buried in the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery at Zukosvsky on April 17, 2024.

“A pilot by the grace of god” - Anatoly Kvochur speaks to the press at the 2007 MAKS airshow in Russia
“A pilot by the grace of God” - Anatoly Kvochur speaks to the press at the 2007 MAKS airshow in Russia Vitaly V Kuzmin