“Americans have tolerance regarding other people’s opinion. In certain cultures, if you do not accept the mainstream, you would be booted out or might disappear. Here we have people, you know, who hug trees, and people who want to cut them down — and they live side by side!”
Viktor Ivanovich Belenko — Informal Interview (2000)
On 6 September 1976, Viktor Ivanovich Belenko successfully defected to the West, flying his MiG-25 “Foxbat” jet fighter to Hakodate, Japan. George H. W. Bush, the Director of Central Intelligence at the time, called the opportunity to examine the plane up close an “intelligence bonanza” for the West. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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Viktor Ivanovich Belenko (Russian: Виктор Иванович Беленко — Born 15 February 1947) is a former Soviet pilot who defected to the West while flying his MiG-25 ‘Foxbat’ jet fighter and landed in Hakodate, Japan.
This was the first time that Western experts were able to get a close look at the aircraft, and it revealed many secrets and surprises.
The U.S. Government debriefed him for five months after his defection, and employed him as a consultant for several years thereafter. Belenko had brought with him the pilot’s manual for the MiG-25 “Foxbat”, expecting to assist U.S. pilots in evaluating and testing the aircraft.
His defection caused significant damage to the Soviet Air Force. Belenko was granted asylum by U.S. President Gerald Ford, and a trust fund was set up for him, granting him a very comfortable living in later years. Belenko later became a U.S. aerospace engineer.
Viktor Belenko – The pilot who stole Soviet’s MiG-25 fighter jet
On September 6 1976, an aircraft appears out of the clouds near the Japanese city of Hakodate, on the northern island of Hokkaido.
It’s a twin-engine jet, but not the kind of short-haul airliner Hakodate is used to seeing.
This huge, grey hulk sports the red stars of the Soviet Union. No-one in the West has ever seen one before.
Viktor Belenko — Wikipedia
On This Day — Russian Defector Viktor Belenko Lands MiG-25 in Japan (September 6 1976)