We have followed eariler developments around the Sukhoi Superjet for some time now, and there are good news following the on-time roll-out last year and the delay announced earlier in 2008. Yes, the Sukhoi Superjet has flown for the first time, more than a month ago by now, actually.
Picture posted by EYKD on the Airliners.net forum.
It’s interesting to learn how many and what kind of stages of testing take place before the first flight. Sukhoi went through its first taxi and run tests of the new regional aircraft, where the run tests featured a gradual speed increase up to 162 kph, which is close the actual speed required for takeoff. Chief Test Pilot Alexander Yablontsev said the aircraft “is easy to control and very good in ergonomics.” The testing was performed at the Flight Test Center in Komsomolsk, where a series of ground tests of the main systems with running engines have been also conducted. Prior to the first flight, the aircraft also undergone shimmy tests, low and high speed taxi runs to test the landing gear stability and high-speed runs to check steering and brakes, with liftoff of the nose gear.
Falling 6 months behind Sukhoi’s original plan to fly the SuperJet at the end of 2007, the new airplane finally took to the skies on 20MAY2008, for about 40 minutes, performing 4 circuits around the airfield at various altitudes, reaching up to 1,200 m.
The first flight should boost interest and marketing image for the aircraft but there are still no news about any new confirmed Western customers.