Citing design issues, on February 11 Russia’s Rosaviatsia aviation authority ordered Aeroflot to ground four of its 10 Superjet 100 airliners. Manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. said the issues related to a service bulletin about aircraft slats and landing gear. On February 15, Sukhoi announced that all four aircraft had been cleared to resume operations.
As the first Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 destined for Western launch customer Interjet of Mexico rolled out of its paint hangar in Venice, Italy, on February 11, industry observers digested a seemingly unprompted statement from Sukhoi Civil Aircraft’s Moscow headquarters summarizing design problems uncovered during the airplane’s 23 months of service history.
Despite realignment, increased government investment and the appearance of political resolve, the Russian airliner industry has achieved little success in expanding its civil production over the past four years. Although it has nearly doubled its delivery total, from 11 jetliners in 2009, to 10 in 2010, 18 in 2011 and 19 in 2012, the industry’s hopes to launch a challenge to the Western world’s manufacturing powers remain unfulfilled and distant.
A new full flight simulator for training on the Sukhoi SSJ100 arrived for installation at the SuperJet International (SJI) Training Center in Venice, Italy, early last month. SuperJet International said it expected installation of the L-3 Communications-made simulator to take 30 days, after which it will undergo an “extensive” phase of on-site testing. The company will then apply for final approval of the EASA STD (synthetic training device) evaluation team, allowing for the start of training, potentially this month.
Indonesian aviation authorities have found that human factors and a series of small technical problems involving air traffic control led to the crash of Sukhoi Superjet 100 S/N 95004 on May 9 near Jakarta, killing 45 people. Investigators concluded that the cockpit crew of the ill-fated demonstration flight, unaware of the mountainous area surrounding their flight path, disregarded an alert from the airplane’s terrain awareness and warning system (Taws).
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) delivered its 10th production Sukhoi Superjet 100 (S/N 95017) and the ninth to enter into service with Aeroflot, SCAC announced in late July. On completion of the technical acceptance procedure, SCAC and Aeroflot signed the Act of Delivery & Acceptance documents for the aircraft at Ulyanovsk, Russia, on July 28. Named after the famous Soviet pilot Vasily Borisov and registered with the tail number RA-89009, the airplane flew from Ulyanovsk to Aeroflot’s Moscow base on August 2 for the start of commercial operation.
Two months after suffering a fatal accident involving a demonstration airplane once used for air show appearances, Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) program partners Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) and SuperJet International (SJI) are hoping to dampen further speculation about the disaster, at least for this week. Helping it with this will be an Aeroflot SSJ in the static display, and a possible follow-on order from Mexico’s Interjet.
CAE executives have rushed to Farnborough from Barcelona, Spain, where the company last week inaugurated a new center for commercial aircraft pilots and cabin crew near the main operating base of Vueling Airlines, the new facility’s anchor customer. The Canada-based group also recently expanded its training network by opening a new facility in South Korea and acquiring Oxford Aviation Academy in the UK.
Russia’s aviation safety record has been, by all accounts, poor the past few years, with the number of fatal accidents per million flights nearly tripling in 2011 compared with 2010. A recent takeoff crash of a UTair ATR 72-200 from a Siberian airport killed 31 of 43 occupants.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) granted type approval in late January to Franco-Russian engine maker PowerJet for a more powerful version of the SaM146 turbofan. Designated the SaM146 1S18, the engine offers 16,100 pounds of takeoff thrust, compared with the 1S17’s 15,400 pounds, thereby increasing the Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 LR’s mtow and extending its range to 2,470 nm with a full passenger load.