A Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23UB Flogger fighter crashed during the Thunder Over Michigan air show in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
On August 13, 2023, the privately owned fighter, registration N23UB, was conducting a flight demonstration above Willow Run Airport (YIP/KYIP) to mark the end of the 25th edition of Thunder Over Michigan. During the flight demonstration, for reasons yet to be determined, both occupants on board the MiG-23UB executed an ejection at a low altitude. The aircraft continued its course before crashing into vehicles parked near a residential building.
The pilots were recovered from Belleville Lake and were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries. No other injuries on the ground were reported.
Following the crash, the remainder of the Thunder Over Michigan air show was canceled. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to initiate an investigation into the crash.
Footage captured by bystanders shows the aircraft with the engine still running when both pilots ejected, suggesting that the ejection was not precipitated by an engine failure.
This is not the first incident to involve the privately owned MiG-23UB. On July 28, 2023, the same aircraft lost a piece of its canopy during a demonstration flight at the Oshkosh air show. At the time, the aircraft managed to land safely.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 is a Soviet-era supersonic fighter jet developed as an interceptor and ground-attack aircraft, depending on the variant. Introduced into active service in 1970, the MiG-23 holds the distinction of being the most produced variable-sweep wing aircraft in history, with more than 5,000 aircraft built. The MiG-23UB is a two-seat training version of the MiG-23.
There are currently five MiG-23 registered in the FAA registry, including N23UB.