December 3, 2018 (Google Translation) – Today, at the military airfield in the garrison of deck pilots of the Northern Fleet Severomorsk-3, the ceremony of assigning the honorary names of the pilots to the Su-33 aircraft. The solemn ceremony was timed to the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the formation of the naval fighter of the Red Banner Smolensk Aviation Regiment named twice Hero of the Soviet Union Boris Feoktistovich Safonov.
Admiral Nikolai Evmenov, commander of the Red Banner Northern Fleet, congratulated the sea pilots with a significant event. He noted that “the names of Timur Apakidze and Feoktis Matkovsky are the history and pride of Russian carrier-based aircraft”. The commander of the Northern Fleet stressed that “due to the sad coincidence of the circumstances of the life of these pilots they broke off at the controls of the aircraft, and today there is a unique opportunity to return to the sky to their names”.
Major-General Igor Kozhin, the head of the naval aviation of the Russian Navy, also took part in the ceremony of assigning pilots names to airplanes.
The aerodrome was also attended by veterans of naval aviation, relatives and friends of renowned pilots, their fellow soldiers, soldiers, and family members.
Feoktist Grigorievich Matkovsky – the first commander of the naval aviation regiment and the first pilot of the Navy aviation, who landed on the deck of the aircraft-carrying cruiser “Kiev”.
Timur Avtandilovich Apakidze is the first sea pilot who mastered the deck of the cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov” and did everything to save this unique ship for Russia. He was the first of the sea pilots to be awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation.
The Red Sea Banner Fighter Ship of Smolensk Aviation Regiment named after twice Hero of the Soviet Union Boris Feoktistovich Safonov – the first in the Soviet and then the Russian Armed Forces regiment, the pilots of which mastered flights from the decks of aircraft carriers. This is the only military unit in which, in the Russian period of history, six servicemen were awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation during the development of the aircraft carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov. The deck pilots of the regiment were among the first to receive a unique experience of fighting from the deck of an aircraft-carrying cruiser in the course of solving the tasks of combating international terrorism in Syria. At present, the carrier-based pilots of the Northern Fleet are the only ones in the world who have real experience in the use of carrier-based aviation in high-latitude areas beyond the Arctic Circle.