MiG-21U Mongul-B Airworthy Restoration to Begin in Australia

The forward fuselage of Adrian Deeth's freshly imported MiG-21UM in his hangar in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)
The forward fuselage of Adrian Deeth's freshly imported MiG-21UM in his hangar in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)
The forward fuselage of Adrian Deeth’s freshly imported MiG-21U in his hangar in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)

Edited from an article by Phil Buckley

In Perth, Western Australia, an unusual warbird type is beginning its journey back into flying condition. A MiG-21U Mongul-B twin seater fighter jet recently arrived from the USA for restoration in Australia. Her new owner, Adrian Deeth, is a keen aviation enthusiast, and had been looking for a suitable warbird type to acquire for some time. His search ended with the exotic and rarely seen MiG-21. Deeth found a US-based MiG-21U project in mid 2012, but it took two years to move the aircraft to Australia.

The forward fuselage and engine of Adrian Deeth's freshly imported MiG-21UM in his hangar in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)
The forward fuselage and engine of Adrian Deeth’s freshly imported MiG-21U in his hangar in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)

Deeth’s Mongul rolled off the production line in Russia during 1967 under an Egyptian Air Force contract as construction number 5068. The jet helped train Egyptian pilots for the single seater variant, but even so has very little flight time with barely 400hrs reportedly in its log book. The Egyptians retired 5068 in the late 1980s, and she made her way to the USA just a few years later. It passed through various owners, but had settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, flying on the warbird circuit by 1994. Registered as N423LZ, the MiG received a new Tumansky R-11F-300 jet engine in 1997, but only put eight more hours on the clock before her reported last flight in 1998.

The forward fuselage and engine of Adrian Deeth's freshly imported MiG-21UM hoisted from its shipping crate in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)
The forward fuselage and engine of Adrian Deeth’s freshly imported MiG-21UM hoisted from its shipping crate in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)

Deeth is having the aircraft restored in Perth. It will involve a thorough overhaul and include new avionics with an upgraded communication system. He is also thinking of repainting the aircraft with its original 1960s desert camouflage scheme to give it a more authentic appearance.

Once the 5068 is flying again in a few years time, Deeth hopes to offer high-G aerobatic flights in her, which will include a supersonic dash. This will of course depend upon some Australian regulatory approvals to allow the aircraft to operate in the military training zone over deep water roughly 40 miles west of Rottest island, just off the coast of Perth. The distance from land will ensure that any effects from the sonic booms will not reach populated areas.

The rear fuselage of Adrian Deeth's freshly imported MiG-21UM inside his hangar in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)
Adrian Deeth’s freshly imported MiG-21U inside his hangar in Perth, Australia. (photo via Phil Buckley)

Interestingly Adrian Deeth has another MiG-21 project in Europe which he is hoping to import at a later date. We will be sure to keep our readers updated on progress with both of these exciting warbird projects as they occur.

The forward cockpit of Adrian Deeth's MiG-21UM. (photo via Phil Buckley)
The forward cockpit of Adrian Deeth’s MiG-21U. (photo via Phil Buckley)

24 Comments

      • Thanks Julian, we’re glad to have very competent readers like yourself who can point out the mistakes. We have received the information from the owner, and honestly, we are not experts in soviet jets. спасибо

        • Im not really a expert too, just like the plane. FIshbed being the single seater.

          Nice article, im in England (the page was sent to me from someone in Oz who likes Migs too).

    • That is a matter of opinion of course, and open for debate, but by that logic the C-47 isn’t a warbird either since several military arms still use them around the world.

  1. It is not a MiG-21UM (Type 69) but a MiG-21U (Type 66-600) having no angle of attack sensor on the nose, no periscope on the rear canopy and slightly narrower dorsal fuel tank.

    Serial number 5068 does not exist. It was probably the tactical number of the aircraft used by the Egyptian AF. The real serial (construction) number can be found riveted on the inner surface of the main gear doors. Someone should check it.

  2. Hi guys….
    Im the owner of this Mig 21U. All of our FAA information states a SN of 5068. It is a type 66 as listed above. As I am working away from my aircraft I can not go and check it all out. But being that it was flown in the USA and registered with the FAA as N425LZ maybe just maybe that some information is misleading somewhere.
    But like I said I am more than happy to check it out next time I am with it.

    Cheers
    Adrian

    • Many, many thanks indeed for writing in Adrian… we’d love to hear more when you have the time, and wish you the very best of luck in getting the MiG back in the air again. It’s a really exciting project!

    • Dear Adrian,

      I am really sorry that I gave ’extra’ work for you! Sometimes the c/n is hard to read off due to paint, and misreadings may occur. I just wanted to help.

      Regarding type 66 the last two digits run from 16 to 20 in Moscow production for export use, and run from 01 to 18 in Tbilisi production for Soviet use.

      Best wishes,
      Andras

    • Hi Adrian,

      Could you please upload a scan of the first pages of the original logbook?
      I made a request at the FAA for some documents of your aircraft. When I received them, I will let you know.

      I hope the c/n can be checked soon 🙂
      And, please make a picture of the c/n plate.

      Rgd,
      Jeroen Nijmeijer
      Holland

  3. This MiG-21U is ex N4318W (FAA database)
    Mfd according to FAA database was 1966. CoA 18MAY1994. 13DEC2010 to N423LZ

    Could it have c/n 664318????
    This c/n has a mfd of late 1966/early 1967.

    Hopefully it’s c/n can be checked soon 🙂
    Maybe some of it’s old paintwork can reveals its former identity!

    All known Egypt AF MiG-21 dual aircraft have serials in the 56xx range.
    Or could it be an ex “USAF” MiG-21U (and former Egypt AF)????

    Rgd,
    Jeroen Nijmeijer
    Holland

    • An addition question;

      Which known MiG-21-duals went the the US before 18MAY1994?
      Maybe this helps us to trace the orgins of N4318W/N423LZ

      Rgd,
      Jeroen

      • I have found a document of US Customs on the Web regarding this aircraft dated 22MAY92. According to it the aircraft in question was built in the Soviet Union in 1966, disassembled, then exported to and reassembled in Egypt in 1967. It was used in the Egyptian AF until 1983 then stored in nonflying condition since then. It was imported unarmed for use in air shows and exhibitions in 1991.

        So, its origin is clear. But what about the serial number stated by the document as 5068? (Could it be a mistake of 5608, which was a real tactical number of a MiG-21U in the Egyptian AF??? Just an idea…)

        Sorry, I have already spoken too much…
        Rgd,
        András

        • Hi,

          Nice find!!!

          Tom Cooper reports in Arab MiGs on page 207, CN 664318 of this aircraft.

          I made a request at the FAA for some records of this aircraft.

          Maybe there is a picture of this plane in original colors when it just arrived in the US back in 1992 or a scan of the original logbook.

          Rgd,
          Jeroen

          • It’s great!

            I am now to open the first beer. 🙂

            Let’s see the original logbook and the numbers on the gear doors as well!

            However, if this aircraft is ex-5608 FAA might know the real c/n when registering it to N4318W.

            Rgd,
            András

  4. Dear Jeroen,

    Yes, you may right, it could have c/n 664318 which is a real c/n and fits well the manufacturing year. Only the last four digits of the c/n (called ‘factory number’ as well) are indicated on the aircraft. In this case it would be 4318.

    According to the Web the Egyptian AF sometimes used out-of-sequence tactical numbers on two-seater MiG-21s such as 0642 and 4640 instead of the usual 56xx series. Maybe to confuse us… 🙂 However, they were type 69s and not 66s.

    By the way, another type 66-600 c/n 664418 is flying in the US as N315RF with its original Hungarian AF side number 4418 which is the short construction (factory) number of the aircraft.

    BW,
    Meszaros Andras
    Hungary

  5. Hi,

    It seems the c/n of this MiG-21U-600 is 2319 (mfd 1966).

    Examining of the wings revealed that at least three panels, farings etc, carried stencilling of 2319.

    Rgd,
    Jeroen Nijmeijer
    Holland

    • Hi there,

      Thank you for your effort, Jeroen! Great job.

      However, if I understand well you have confirmed the c/n of the wings. Sometimes the c/n of the wings can differ from the c/n of the fuselage due to replacing them in the factory or in a repair station. Can c/n 2319 be found in a plate riveted on the main gear doors of the fuselage as well? If yes, the c/n of the aircraft is really 2319.

      Unfortunately nothing was 100% in the Soviet system. For example, in 1967 we had received in Hungary a 66-600 from the SU with logbook of 4419, but c/n of the wings was of 4420 (also delivered to Hungary) and even the c/n of the fuselage was 4517!

      You can imagine nobody was brave enough to ask anything regarding the Soviets in those years, and the aircraft served as 4419 all the time as the c/n was stated in the logbook as such. 664419 was stenciled (painted) in many places on the aircraft. Anybody can check its c/ns in the Szolnok museum where the machine has been preserved.

      Such an event occurred in Hungary with types MiG-15bis, MiG-21MF and even Mi-8 as well. If it occur in Hungary it could occur in any other countries in Soviet influence.

      As far as I could find it in the Internet c/n 2319 was an Algerian machine with a tactical number 279. If it is true the wings might be changed during an overhaul in a repair station, or the aircraft itself was sold to Egypt in one time. Can this c/n be found in Tom Cooper’s book Arab Migs?

      So, the evidence is the c/n of the fuselage.
      Sorry for the long speech, just to help.
      Regards, András

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