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One pilot has died in a Russian trainer jet crash in southern Russia
One pilot has died in a Russian trainer jet crash in southern Russia, an Air Force spokesman said Thursday. Earlier reports said the L-39 trainer, belonging to an Air Force academy, crashed during a flight and that both pilots ejected successfully near the town of Novokubansk in the Krasnodar Territory, about 1,000 miles south of Moscow. "The plane crashed at 12:17 Moscow time (8:17 a.m. GMT) during a routine training flight," Alexander Drobyshevsky said. "A flight instructor died in the crash." He added that a cadet, who ejected from the plane and was picked up by a rescue team 27 minutes after the crash, is in satisfactory condition. Designed in then-Soviet bloc member Czechoslovakia in the 1970s, the L-39 Albatross is still used to train Russian pilots, as the delivery of modern trainers almost stopped in post-Soviet Russia. Russian Air Force commander, General of the Army Vladimir Mikhailov, has ordered that all flights of the L-39 be cancelled until an investigation into the crash is complete. In mid-June, Russian Air Force officials said they were looking to purchase 250 new Yak-130 aircraft to train pilots. The Yak-130 single-seat aerobatic airplane can be used as a light strike aircraft or as a trainer for fourth and fifth generation fighters. With a production line launched in May 2003, the plane is also being marketed for export. On July 26, a Yak-130 crashed in the Ryazan Region, about 150 miles southeast of Moscow, after a failure in the flight control system. Both pilots were slightly injured while ejecting. But Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said that the Air Force will buy new Yak-130 planes despite the crash, with deliveries of Yak-130s to the Air Force to begin once the aircraft is commissioned in early 2008.
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