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'The Cobra'

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  • 'The Cobra'

    Not too sure if this is in the correct forum.

    Great photo Alan

    Can someone confirm, or rather expand on what Alan has written, mainly this bit.

    "BACKWARDS !! That is air rushing into engines, wrong way round (through exhaust nozzles rather than intakes !) This, I am told, at least up to now, is not possible in western type of engines (I stand to be corrected). Interesting, this is not where the engines need most power, instead, that is during the vertical tail slide and recovery from it !"

    this thread is not ment as a critisim, rather a hunt for information on this marvellous manouver.
    My photos on

  • #2
    Thrust Vectoring and the 'Cobra':

    The "Pugachev's Cobra" maneuvre:

    ->The Cobra maneuver consists of a rapid pitch-up from the horizontal to vertical including a sudden loss of airspeed. For a few moments the aircraft is almost standing still in the air or even falling down backwards. Tail and Canard surfaces allow the pilot to move the fighter forward into a normal flying attitude in only a few seconds. This maneuver is supposed to be used during dogfights to clear the back when the aircraft is chased by enemy fighters. The maneuvre is named after a Sukhoi test pilot who was the first to perform it. Only a handfull of aircraft are able to fly this figure: all types of the Sukhoi Su-27 family, the MiG-29 and thrust-vectored aircraft.

    This image illustrates the maneuvre:

    Thrust Vectoring:

    ->Definition: Thrust vectoring is the ability of an aircraft or other vehicle to direct the thrust from its main engines in a direction other than parallel to the vehicle's longitudinal axis.
    The aircraft in the post above is not an ordinary MiG-29 but the prototype OVT version which is equipped with thrust-vectoring engines and fly-by-wire technology. The special engines make the fighter unbelievably agile and allow the aircraft to perform spectacular maneuvers especially at low airspeeds.

    The comment on the photo might be a bit misleading, the air is not going all through the engine in the wrong direction. The engines keep on running and getting air from the intakes also while falling down backwards. In order to avoid an engine stall the aircraft has additional intakes on the upper side of the fuselage.

    Sequence photos of a maneuvre using thrust-vectoring with the MIG-29OVT (right to left):

    Sukhoi used the thrust-vector engine technology already years ago on the Su-30MKI and Su-37. I suggest to watch the video below showing one of these types in action and you will get an impression what can be done with these machines.

    The Su-30MKI in action (watch the 'loop' at ~1min):
    Last edited by philip; 2006-08-08, 11:04.


    • #3
      Is it not true however that most jet engines are unable to cope with the disturbed intake airflow during the Cobra maneouvre and would flame out?


      • #4
        Awesome manouvre. Interesting thread. Thanks for your reply Philip.
        Inactive from May 1 2009.


        • #5
          thanks philip!
          My photos on


          • #6
            Interesting read, Philip!!

            ... and STUNNING maneouvre. I saw it on TV a few days ago ... BREATHTAKING!!

            My photos on Flickr