The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau in the Soviet Union. Production started in 1969 and reached large numbers with over 5,000 aircraft built, making it the most produced variable-sweep wing aircraft in history. Today the MiG-23 remains in limited service with some export customers.
Pilot Will “Psycho” Ward offers a walkaround tour of his MiG-23ML Flogger, plus footage of an engine run and control checks. The aircraft is based in Lakeland, FL, and is being returned to flight!
Now, we can also benefit from his knowledge about the swing-wing MiG-23ML Flogger in an excellent walk-around video of the fighter that explains its many unique features and characteristics in detail.
With 60 different types in his logbook, including the Korean War-era MiG-15 and the supersonic MiG-21, as well as the American-made F-104 Starfighter and A-26 Invader, Ward is a true aficionado of Cold War combat aircraft.
In the roughly half-hour walk-around video of the MiG-23ML—courtesy of our friends over at the always awesome Airshowstuff.com—which includes running up the engine and demonstrating its variable-geometry wings, he imparts expertise down to the minutiae of the different pitot tubes and access doors.
In the process of taking the viewer around the ex-Czechoslovakian Air Force MiG-23ML Flogger-G at Lakeland, Florida, Ward also busts a few myths about the jet, which has, it must be said, not the best reputation in the West.
This is the product of a general misunderstanding of how Soviet-era jets were designed and expected to be used, but also the less-than-stellar combat performance of (mainly earlier models of) Flogger in combat in the Middle East, in particular.
Then there are the hair-raising tales of the MiG-23s flown under conditions of great secrecy in the United States by the “Red Eagles” of the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron, which you can read about here and here.