".. I was 19 and very political. I was interested in relations between East and West, particularly the Reykjavik meeting between Gorbachev and Reagan. I realised that the aircraft was the key to peace. I could use it to build an imaginary bridge between East and West. I didn't tell anybody about my plan because I was convinced my family or friends would stop me. I didn't think much about what would happen afterwards. My main focus was on my mission to get there and land. I believed that something would work out..."
" For Rust, the flight was going flawlessly. He had no problem identifying the landmarks he had chosen as waypoints, and he was confident that his goal was within reach. “I had a sense of peace,” he says. “Everything was calm and in order.” He passed the outermost belt of Moscow’s vaunted “Ring of Steel,” an elaborate network of anti-aircraft defenses that since the 1950s had been built up as a response to the threat of U.S. bombers. The rings of missile placements circled the city at distances of about 10, 25, and 45 nautical miles, but were not designed to fend off a single, slow-flying Cessna. At just after 6 p.m., Rust reached the outskirts of Moscow. The city’s airspace was restricted, with all overflights—both military and civilian—prohibited. At about this time, Soviet investigators would later tell Rust, radar controllers realized something was terribly wrong, but it was too late for them to act..." (Tom Lecompte - The notorious flight of Mathias Rust)
“At first, I thought maybe I should land inside the Kremlin wall, but then I realized that although there was plenty of space, I wasn’t sure what the KGB might do with me,” he remembers. “If I landed inside the wall, only a few people would see me, and they could just take me away and deny the whole thing. But if I landed in the square, plenty of people would see me, and the KGB couldn’t just arrest me and lie about it. So it was for my own security that I dropped that idea.”.
Rust flew a few cicuits around Red Square before putting down on a wide bridge.
Rust in his red flying overalls handed out autographs and chatted to passers-by in Red Square - before being arrested !
Der Kreml-Flug von Mathias Rust sorgte weltweit für Schlagzeilen - Mathias Rust's Kremlin flight resulted in headlines worldwide (screen grab from NDR Fernsehen Tageschau of 29 May 1987)
Rust returned to Hamburg the following summer having been pardoned by the Russians and released on 3 August 1988, a benevolent action hailed by the then West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Rust's aircraft had been flown back to Germany as early as October 1987 having been bought by a businessman for DM160,000. Cessna D-ECJB is currently on display at the Deutches Technik Museum in Berlin. (photo credit Skyhawk)
The best account of Rust's flight that I have read was written by Tom Lecompte and published on the Air & Space Smithsonian web site
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