The Beeb reminds us: this week is the quarter-century anniversary of the incredible misadventure of then-West-German teenager Mathias Rust. In a humble Cessna 172, he crossed more than 750 km of (supposedly!) tightly controlled and defended Soviet airspace. All to land in the heart of Moscow!
The Beeb’s story is a revelation to your humble correspondent, a lifelong stooge of Russia’s spell.
This is the first I’ve known Soviet air defense noticed Rust, let alone intercepted him. I’ve always believed he flew unnoticed literally “below the radar”. That’s a valuable nugget– it changes the entire nature of the incident, from my perspective.
Also, this is the first I’ve known he didn’t land in Red Square. My first visit to Moscow, access to the Square was tightly controlled so the Square often was empty. Given my flight-sim experience, the Square seems to provide ample space to land a Cessna mark 17- or 18-. These observations reinforced my belief Rust had landed in the Square. But, apparently, no. The Beeb says Rust landed on a bridge! From that bridge, the Beeb reports, Rust taxied into nearby Red Square!
The Beeb alleges, briefly after returning home from about a year’s incarceration in Sov prison, Rust was convicted of assault and battery, and again was incarcerated. This incident, plus landing on a bridge, reinforce my expectation Rust may have been not so much courageous as is widely-held, but, rather, moreso Seriously In Need Of Help (this, your humble correspondent is entitled to write).
The bridge (over the Moscow River) must be that at the head of Greater Ordinka Street (55.748889N, 37.624395E). From the head of that bridge, looking north, here is a photo, September 2010, of St. Basil’s in the Square.