The Su-27 is expected to join the Museum’s Cold War Gallery this fall.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force announced the acquisition of a former Ukrainian Air Force Su-27UB Flanker C. This aircraft is particularly interesting as it was the first ever Su-27 to be owned by a civilian, after being recorded in the US civil aviation register in November 2009 as N132SU. The Museum says the aircraft will join the Cold War Gallery this fall.
This Flanker was reportedly previously in service with the 831st GvIAP in Mirgorod as “61 Blue” (c/n 96310408027, f/n 05-02). Then, in 2009, “61 Blue” and “66 Blue” were bought from the Ukrainian Air Force, demilitarized and transported to the United States inside an An-124, where they received the new registrations N132SU and N131SU, respectively.
— National Museum USAF (@AFmuseum) September 26, 2023
The aircraft were based at Rockford airport, Illinois, where they were operated for some years by Tactical Air Support. Both Flankers retained their Ukrainian splinter camouflage, only replacing Ukrainian insignia on the tail with the company’s logo and the “61 Blue” tactical code with a new “32 Blue”.
The aircraft were later sold again and continued to operate from Rockford, this time without any involvement in contractor work, until their airworthiness certificates expired in 2013. Both Flankers were then removed from the US register in 2018. What they were used for until the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force managed to acquire “32 Blue” is not clear. Someone believes the TacAir has continued to operate the SU-27; indeed, the Flanker was featured in the company logo (at least one of the versions of it).