Thunder Over Michigan plane crash: What we know about the jet, status of pilots

The plane that crashed during a Michigan air show, requiring its pilots to eject as it crashed into a Belleville apartment complex was identified as a MiG-23UB.

It was part of the Yankee Air Museum's Thunder over Michigan air show before something went wrong and it burst into flames around 4 p.m. Sunday. Both pilots that ejected from the plane did not suffer any sufficient injuries but were taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution, the airport authority said.

Several people who were at the show at Willow Run Airport Sunday caught the moment the plane crashed, sending a plume of black smoke into the sky. No one was injured at the apartment complex either, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The crash happened as part of the Afternoon Air Show, according to the event's schedule. 

MORE: Feds now investigating Michigan air show crash

It's unclear why the plane crashed. Officials continue to investigate the scene.

What is a MiG-23?

According to the FAA's registry, the plane that crashed was a MiG-23UB, a fixed wing single-engine. It's registered owner is out of Texas. 

The plane was manufactured in 1981.

Short for Mikoyan-Gurevich, the MiG-23UB is a Soviet-era jet and have been used in several conflicts, including in several missions over the Middle East.

The specific model has two seats and could be used to strike, for reconnaissance, or target designation. The jet variant's first flight was in 1970 and more than 1,000 were produced. 

Where did the crash happen?

The specific air show was happening at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti Charter Township.

Shortly after 4 p.m. during the demonstration, the plane caught fire and went down in Belleville. It crashed in a parking lot of the Waverly on the Lake apartments in Belleville. 

Was anyone hurt?

According to authorities, so far no one was injured by the crash. 

Both pilots in the jet ejected successfully and were recovered a short time later. They did not appear to have any injuries but were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

No debris has struck anyone either. The plane did strike unoccupied vehicles inside the apartment complex's parking lot.

What are officials saying?

Multiple agencies have put out statements about the crash, including Congresswoman Debbie Dingell whose district includes Belleville and Ypsilanti.

"I have been in touch with all appropriate authorities regarding the crash during the Thunder Over Michigan air show at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti. It appears at this time that both pilots are safe, and there has been no human injury. Completing comprehensive physical assessments to ensure everyone’s safety is top priority right now. People should continue to avoid the area. I am grateful that everyone appears to be safe."

Detroit Metro Airport also put out a statement saying the crash happened during a MiG-23 demonstration.

"Shortly after 4:00 p.m. Sunday, a MiG-23 demonstration plane performing at the Yankee Air Museum’s Thunder over Michigan air show crashed into the parking lot at the Waverly on the Lake Apartments in Belleville. The pilot and backseater successfully ejected from the aircraft before the crash. While it did not appear they sustained any significant injuries, first responders transported the pair to a nearby hospital as a precaution.

"The aircraft struck unoccupied vehicles in the apartment complex’s parking lot. No one at the apartment complex nor the air show was injured. The FAA is investigating the crash."

Van Buren Township recommended any residents at the Waverly Apartment Complex that were temporarily displaced by the crash to report to their clubhouse. The Red Cross was on scene to assist.