PETROZAVODSK, April 23 (RAPSI) – A former Russian Air Force general was given a four-year suspended sentence and fined 5 million rubles ($160,000) by a court-martial on Wednesday for causing the crash of a Sukhoi Su-27UB fighter jet last year in Russia’s Karelia region.
The court-martial Judge Vladislav Pisaryov found Maj. Gen. Kanamat Botashev guilty of breaking flight rules by flying aerobatics in the jet without proper training and authorization.
"The court declares Botashev guilty, and sentences him to four years suspended with a further four years probation," Judge Pisaryov said, also ordering him to pay legal costs of 25,000 rubles ($800).
Botashev took control of the aircraft during a training flight on June 28, 2012, and tried to perform a "bell" or tail-slide aerobatic maneuver. He mishandled the jet, causing the aircraft to spin out of control and to crash in a forest.
Both he and the other pilot ejected safely. No-one on the ground was hurt.
Prosecutors had sought a a five-year prison sentence for Botashev and over 100 million rubles ($3.2 million) in damages.
Neither Botashev or the prosecution said if they would appeal the sentence. He had appealed to the court earlier in the trial not to impose a custodial sentence, citing his guilty plea, good conduct record and immediate resignation from the air force after the accident.
The Su-27 is a Russian-made multirole single-seat fighter aircraft, well known for its high maneuverability and ability to perform aerobatics unrivalled by most other jets. The Su-27UB is a two-seat version used for conversion training.