It could just be an urban legend, Ukrainian government propaganda, possibly both. But, if it is true, it is something that has not been seen since the last century: the “Ghost of Kiev” would be a legitimate aviation ace.
New aces, pilots with at least five enemies down, have not been registered since the 1980s, with the last aces in history formed in the Middle East. The Israeli Etyan Stibbe shot down five Syrian fighter jets in one day, in an operation on July 9, 1982. And, in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Iranians Jalil Zandi, Shahram Rostami and Mohammed Rayyan accumulated 8, 6 and 8 enemies. downed – unless I’m wrong, they are the last aces of history.
The story about the only ace of the 21st century circulated through Ukrainian social media and, from there, to the world. A Ukrainian pilot would have accomplished the feat of shooting down, aboard a MiG-29, six Russian fighter jets .
So far, there is no information confirming the existence of the pilot. The fact that the military forces of Ukraine announced the downing of seven Russian aircraft last Thursday (24) served to spark a wave of publications about the character on the internet.
Victory in the simulator
In one of them, with 1,472 likes and 271 retweets, the author even details the fighters shot down by the “Ghost of Kiev”: two SU-35s, two SU-25s, one SU-27 and one MiG-29.
The images reached Ukraine’s armed forces, which broadcast on Thursday (25) a country’s MiG-29 being shot down by a Russian fighter jet.
It’s fake news. The snippet first uploaded to YouTube under the name “Ghost of Kiev Kill” is completely false. In the description box, the uploader explains that the footage was taken using a digital combat simulator .
“This footage is from DCS [Digital Combat Simulator, flight simulation game by Eagle Dynamics],” says the YouTuber by the name of “Comrade Corb.” “But even so it is done in respect of the ‘Ghost of Kiev’. If he is real, may God be with him; if it is false, I pray for more [people] like him.”
Without admitting or denying the existence of the Phantom of Kiev, the Ukrainian government continues to take a peek at the situation:
In a Facebook post this morning, the Ministry of Defense said: “Dozens of experienced military pilots from captain to general who were previously discharged from the military reserve are returning to the Air Force. Who knows, maybe one of them is that aerial avenger on the Mig-29 that is so often seen by Kiev! Everything will be Ukraine!
Would the “Ghost of Kiev” be the first wings of the 21st century?
Since World War I, when the term emerged, ace of aviation designates a pilot who has shot down at least 5 enemy aircraft.
An extremely difficult feat to accomplish and quantify, as certification criteria vary from country to country — in World War II, for example, 50% of RAF (British Air Force) victories did not statistically match the losses recorded by the German army. in the Battle of Britain.
The preponderance of asymmetrical combat from the 1990s onwards, and the evolution of the defenses of more modern fighters, are generally seen as reasons why no aces have been recorded in three decades.
The official number of Russian fighter jets shot down, according to the Ukrainians, is seven. The fighting is spread across the country. It is extremely unlikely that a “Ghost of Kiev” could have done everything almost alone.
Image: Vladimir Vorobyov/Shutterstock (Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29)