According to the Polish Defense Ministry
The MiG-29 fighter jet was from the 22nd Tactical Air Force Base. The crash did not leave any casualties on the ground, but the pilot died despite managing to eject from the aircraft. Emergency services that arrived at the scene pronounced the pilot dead shortly adter the crash
The fighter pilot who died in the crash had more than 800 flight hours, including over 500 flight hours on the MiG-29.
Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has expressed his condolences to the family, adding that the circumstances of the crash would now be subjected to the scrutiny of the proper authorities.
The Soviet-manufactured MiG-29 Fulcrum combat aircraft has been in the service of the Polish Air Force since the late 1980s when Poland acquired 12 planes from the Soviet Union.
Following the fall of Communism in 1989, Poland acquired a further batch of MiG-29s from the Czech Republic and then from Germany, the latter being donated for EUR 1 per unit. The fighters have subsequently been modernized to ensure compliance with NATO standards.
At the present stage, Poland’s armed forces has about 30 units of the plane, which continue to operate alongside the US-manufactured F-16s multirole combat aircraft acquired in 2006.
Friday’s accident is not the first of its kind for Poland’s Air Force. Last year another MiG-29 crashed in a densely wooded area, with the pilot suffering minor injuries despite failing to eject from the aircraft. The exact cause of the accident has not yet been officially announced.
Poland is currently looking into a possible replacement for the aging aircraft.
In late 2017, it was announced that Poland’s Military Inspectorate was analyzing the market in order to determine the possible course of action, with both 4.5th and 5th generation fighters being considered for the role.