I watched a couple documentaries recently and found one where they were mentioning the training of American forces against Mi-24 that were captured and brought back to the US to test fly them. Shortly afterward General Chuck Yeager tweeted a quote from General Boyd saying
Because of Yeager, we now know more about the MiG-15 than the Russians do.
after he flew one in 1953 that was captured during the Korean War.
This piqued my curiosity because as far as I know Russian aircraft have:
- Different units for instruments (metric system with km/h, meters etc.)
- Different approach to instruments (as explained in this question)
- Obviously, everything written in Cyrillic with alerts in Russian
I checked the page on Constant Peg program in the US to train aggressors and them flying foreign aircraft (like MiG 17, 21 and 23) as well as other aircraft. While I understand that this specific program is still classified, there are other occurrences of aircraft flown by "non-Russian speakers" or at least non-Natives.
While it is totally possible that General Chuck Yeager is fluent in Russian, I have some doubts about flying an aircraft where everything is written in another language from the fuel dump to the auto-pilot settings, and be able to operate it easily (on top of that without a manual).
Now this led me to this question, how do you fly an aircraft without speaking the language and how do you read the instruments and their functions ?
I very much doubt that they just put sticky notes over all instrument panels with the label of instruments (but I could be wrong, who knows).