Archive for the 'Sukhoi' Category

Sukhoi Superjet: First Flight

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.

Sukhoi SuperJet landing after first flight - C by KNAAPO

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.

Sukhoi SuperJet during test taxi runs - C by TIKHV

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.

by balint01

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Sukhoi Superjet Also Delayed

It seems like no new aircraft in the 21st century can be developed according to the first announced schedules. Following the almost 2 year delay of the Airbus A380 superjumbo which had wiring problems and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which is facing a still growing delay due to supply chain problems in the production of the composite airframe (originally it was planned to be delivered in about two months to its launch customer – but still has not ever taken off…) here are the latest news about the Russian Sukhoi Superjet being delayed…

Sukhoi Superjet Revealed - by Reuters

As we reported earlier, the Sukhoi Superjet was revealed on 26SEP2007, when they claimed the rolled out aircraft was basically ready to fly about two months later. Back then on the ceremony it was announced that “the first flight will take place before the year end,” and they have also pointed out that they are on schedule, unlike the above mentioned A380 or the 787… Then came the news yesterday, that the Russian manufacturer announced: “Technical problems will postpone delivery of the first Sukhoi Superjet indefinitely.”

First deliveries to launch customer Aeroflot originally were slated to begin by late 2008. Aeroflot has already removed the Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft from service to make room for the first SSJ’s to arrive which are due to replace the aging mid-sized airplane. “The airplane is currently in the final testing stages and it will make its first flight within a month,” Alexei Fyodorov, CEO of United Aircraft Building Corp., told RIA Novosti. “Our specialists are working round the clock to meet our obligations to contractors.” We can only hope that this “within a month” will now be real, as it is crucial for the SSJ to show a positive image to the World Market, that it plans to conquer. Airbus and Boeing are stronger and larger players to manage such delays, but for Sukhoi being a new entrant, it is very important to show professionalism to its (future) customers. To date, the 78 and 98 seat version aircraft has collected 73 firm orders and 46 options, mostly from Russian customers.

If we think about it a little more, these delays even sound understandable, as the aircraft market today sells planes for deliveries in 5-6 or even more years down the road. All manufacturers are therefore pressured to announce a new plane as soon as possible with as soon delivery dates as possible, in order to not lose possible customers. If you announce a certain date and then are forced to pay a penalty, it’s still better than losing the whole business to another plane which is already on the market, or has promised an even earlier delivery date… This way at least you do have the business. Tough competition and not normal market conditions have led to this stage, but it’s the airline customers that go into a more and more uncertain future with such an emerging tendency. They need to plan fleet strategies, networks and even schedules ahead – when counting with the new airplanes which are then delivered only a few years late…

It will be interesting to follow the developments of the new Chinese Regional Jet, the Japanese Mitsubishi Regional Jet as well as the new Bombardier C-Ceries – will they be on schedule with their new programs or can we make a new rule: “New Aircraft development projects in the 21st century are always behind schedule”?

by balint01

Aeroflot Withdraws Tu-134s From Operation

MOSCOW, January 1 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s flagship air carrier Aeroflot said Tuesday it had completed the operation of the Tu-134 aircraft. Aeroflot’s board approved a program in February 2007 to gradually replace the airline’s Tu-134 fleet with modern aircraft.

The last flight of the Tu-134 was performed on December 31 from Russia’s Western exclave of Kaliningrad to Moscow, Aeroflot said.

TU-134All 14 Tu-134 planes in the Aeroflot fleet will be replaced by new-generation aircraft, especially the promising Russian Sukhoi SuperJet-100 short-range plane, whose delivery is expected to begin in late 2008, and medium-range A319 and A320 airbuses, the Russian air carrier said.

Background

TU-134The Tupolev Tu-134 (NATO codename: Crusty) is a Soviet twin-engined airliner, similar to the American Douglas DC-9. One of the most used aircraft in the former Warsaw Pact countries, the number in active service is decreasing because of noise restrictions. In September 1967, the Tu-134 made its first scheduled flight from Moscow to Adler. The Tu-134 was the first Soviet airliner to receive international certification from the International Civil Aviation Organization, which permitted it to be used on international routes.

The Tu-134 has also found a new life as a business jet with many having an expensive business interior. With the introduction of new ICAO noise regulations, Tu-134s have been effectively banned from much of European airspace due to the noisy D-30 engines dating back to the 1960s.

TU-134The largest fleet of Tu-134 still exists in Russia (146 of about 230 planes of this model). In March of 2007 the Russian Minister of transportation Igor Levitin claimed that Tu-134s (as well as Tu-154s) are old and obsolete and should be replaced by Sukhoi Superjet 100 or its foreign analogues within five years. Probably this is why state owned Aeroflot’s board made exactly this decision.

By Szafi

Best Of AirlineWorld 2007

This is the last day of the year. As billions of people around the world, we also took a look back to what happened in the old year and made some New Year’s Resolutions.

For us 2007 was not a full year as we started our blog in June. It was a nice calm Sunday and Szafi wrote her first post about the Radio Alphabet – a useful tool not just for aviation fans. Balint01 joined her on the 7th with his first post about “Fuller Planes – Good Or Bad?” – a brief explanation of revenue and capacity management of airlines.

A380 

A380 was one of our main topics this year. We could see the a video of an imaginery evacuation of an A380, we reported on that quite unusual initiation that Singapore Airlines sold the first tickets to the A380 on e-Bay and gave the money (USD 1,25 million) for charity. We tried to find out more about the possible cabin configurations and then we reported on the first delivery.

Boeing 787

Boeing 787, the Dreamliner was our other favorite topic. We wrote about it when it was revealed, we put it in our blog header, we reported on the first announcement of delay that predicted 2 months. Now it seems that a 6-month delay is more realistic.

Developments 

Besides A380 and B787 we saw the birth of a Russian jet called Sukhoi Superjet and a Chinese one called ARJ21-700. We kept track of technology trends in aviation. We wrote an article about RFID usage at airlines and airports, about e-ticketing, a new online payment method at Qantas, a weightless flight, a solar powered, unmanned aircraft. Also we were interested in service developments such as the new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow Airport, Lufthansa’s new A380 First Class Concept, Boeing’s 747 development to keep up with A380,

Crashes 

Unfortunately again some serious accidents happened. We saw around 200 people dying in a very tragical crash in Sao Paulo, brazil. 19 people died in an accident of Air Moorea on the way to Tahiti. When China Airline’ 737 burst into fire and blew up, everybody could escape in time thanks to the flight crew, who was criticized for being rude – we thought it was better being rude than being inactive. Later it turned out that a loose bolt caused the fire. There was a sad collision of two planes at an Air Show in Radom, Poland. SAS Airlineshad a bad series of crash landings – without serious injuries – of its Dash 8 turboprop planes. Finally they decided on grounding all their Dash 8 fleet. 87 died in One-Two-Go Airlines crash in Phuket, Thailand. A few days later rallye driver champion Colin McRae died in a helicopter crash over Scotland. The most commented article was the weird accident of an Airbus A340 on the ground of the Airbus factory during testing. The last serious accident of the year was an MD-83 crash in Turkey killing 56.

Photo reports 

We received a lot of photos from our friends and airline enthusiasts, so we could show a photo report of a Royal Aircraft in Budapest, Red Bull Air Race in Budapest, an Air Show in Kecskemet and the A340 Airbus crash at the Toulouse Airbus factory.

Innovations 

We criticized airlines and other players of the industry about wrong steps and we were happy to present good initiations of other players. We found KLM’s promotion: a gift of a costmetics set for online bookers a very smart and useful initiation. We loved Iberia’s enviroment-friendly attitude with naming their new aircrafts Royal Owl, Imperial Eagle and other endangered species. We could read funny comments about an interesting topic: Vatican’s Air Mistral. IATA’s initiation of a greener aviation industry was also worth a post.

Sex and rock and roll 

And finally we tried to entertain those not interested in professional matters of the airline business with articles like Sex in an airplane, Sexy stewardess uniforms – with special attention to the self-designed uniform of Easyjet, Superstar pilots, Special aircraft paintings and we learned about where lost luggage end up going.

We also lost a very key figure of the European airline indusry. Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair died on 03 October at the age of 71. Net year we will definately write an article about him, because only a few know about his role in today’s aviation business.

And what is our New Year’s resolution? Well, we’ll do our best to entertain you and draw your attention to the magic world of airlines we so much love.

We both wish you a very happy, successful new year and please keep on reading us! 🙂

By Szafi and balint01

Sukhoi Superjet Revealed

As we have promised in our previous article on the Sukhoi Superjet we are here to inform you about the rollout of the first Sukhoi Superjet 100 which is ready to fly. The ceremony took place earlier today in Russia’s Far East, where part of Sukhoi’s massive Komsomolsk plant has been converted from sleek fighter jet production to civilian use with a target of 5-6 airliners a month by 2010. This is the first rollout of a new Russian passenger airplane since the Soviet Union collapsed, and thus marked as a historical event in Russia. The city of Komsomolsk was once sealed off from the world, as a nerve centre of Soviet submarine and fighter production. Now it will be revitalized in a real international way, with the help of this new production line.

Sukhoi Superjet Revealed - by Reuters

The Sukhoi Superjet is the first regional jet to be unveiled in the 21st century, and is claimed to be the most efficient and most environmentally friendly jet in its category on the market (78-98 passengers). The rollout ceremony was attended by representatives of three participating countries: Russia, France and Italy. Mikhail Pogosyan, Sukhoi Company’s CEO, said: “Sukhoi Superjet 100 is a child of thousands of people around the globe, committed to the project success with their hearts and souls. It took us all six and a half years to get here, overcoming skepticism and finding our way in translation of international rules of play to Russian aerospace industry and incorporating world industry standards in it. Have a look at the aircraft – I’m sure, it was worth it.

The revealed aircraft airframe is basically ready for the flight tests: the fuselage, the wings and the engines are attached together, all the major systems are built-in, the avionics blocks installation is under completion while the pilot cockpit already holds all panels, indicators, side-sticks, thrust levers and pedals. In the coming two months the aircraft is due to be ready for flight tests, but during that time, the static tests being performed in TsAGI (Zhukovsky) should be completed. Among the most important strategic partners of Sukhoi in this project are: Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company and Boeing (fulfilling a consultant role since the launch of the program).

Russia aims to secure at least 10% of the world airliner market with the new passenger jets and to take third place among aircraft-producing countries by 2015-2018.

As Reuters reported, while targeting the world market, the Superjet will replace Russia’s fast ageing Soviet-made fleet of Tupolev Tu-134 and Yakovlev Yak-42 planes on domestic routes with a longer range of 4,550 km (2800 miles). Having pre-sold 73 aircraft mainly to Russian airlines, it aims to lift the order book to 100 planes with a catalogue value of $2.8 billion by the end of this year, which Sukhoi hopes will include at least one more Western Operator (besides Italian ItAli Airlines with an order of 10 planes).

Sukhoi Superjet Revealed - by Reuters

Ultimately it aims to sell 1,000 planes with 700 of them going to global export markets and it hopes to get European and U.S. certification during 2008. That would put Sukhoi in direct competition with Brazil’s Embraer and Bombardier of Canada, which dominate the 70-100 seat aircraft market today. The maiden flight is expected before the end of the year, Sukhoi said and so far they have been on schedule, unlike Airbus’ A380 and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. It says the Superjet will have 10-15 percent lower operating costs than either Bombardier or Embraer models.

According to Reuters, Russian President Vladimir Putin is merging civilian and military aircraft makers into a state-controlled umbrella company called United Aviation Corporation (Ilyushin and Tupolev are already included) and hopes to rival European Airbus and US Boeing by 2025.

Sukhoi hopes the development dollars and civil technology of its outside suppliers will attract Western airlines who may otherwise be reticent about buying a Russian aircraft. It is also under-cutting rivals with a price of $28 million per plane, which is lower than a CRJ from Bombardier or an E-Jet from Embraer. But there could be other “silent” supporters of Sukhoi’s entry to the Western Airline Market, such as Mr. Boris Abramovic of AiRUnion, who has a controlling stake in Malev Hungarian Airlines as well, which operates in the EU. According to reports in the Hungarian Media today, Mr. Abramovic (present at the unveiling ceremony) has expressed at the event that Malev is already looking into the possibilty of purchasing 15 Superjets. Replacing the regional fleet of Malev with one type instead of the two types operated at the moment (Fokker-70’s and CRJ-200’s) sounds like a rational step, and knowing that AiRUnion has already ordered 15 of the smaller (75 seat) version of the SSJ-100, it forecasts that such a decision may be expected in the first half of 2008 from the Hungarian airline.

by balint01

Sukhoi Superjet On Schedule While Targeting More Western Orders

“Sukhoi does not intend to follow the example of Airbus with its A380 or Boeing with its 787 and stressed this week, that the Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ) program is proceeding according to schedule.” It is funny in a way to read such a headline, but is very understandable, knowing the well communicated years-long delay of the A380, and the recently published news about the delay of the first flight of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. If Sukhoi manages to fulfill its plan of the rollout of the 95 seat variant on 26SEP2007, it would beat Airbus, which failed the original rollout time of the A380 (the 787 has been rolled out according to plan). If they manage to conclude the first flight on time as well, they would beat Boeing, too. About first delivery they are ahead of Airbus at the moment, but we do not yet know how the 787 will be or will not be delivered to its launch customer (All Nippon Airways of Japan) on time next year.

Sukhoi Superjet 100 - by Sukhoi

In the market of regional jets (for passengers between 35-100/120) there are two major players today: Canadian Bombardier with the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) family, and Brazil’s Embraer with the E-Jet (ERJ) family (earlier British BAe and Dutch Fokker were also important part of the market, but they stopped manufacturing their jets). A new Russian contender is being developed these days: the new Sukhoi Superjet 100. It is actually not solely being developed by Sukhoi, as they are assisted by bigger Russian partner Ilyushin, US Boeing and smaller Russian Yakovlev as well. Previously the project was referred to as Russian Regional Jet (RRJ), but has been renamed to Superjet in 2006. It is interesting to see Boeing being involved in such a development, but if we consider that this way it has influence on a future player of a market where it is not represented at the moment, it makes total sense! However, Sukhoi is talking about the next version of the plane at some occasions, but it is still unknown whether if it will be a shorter (75 seat) or a stretched version. Knowing that Boeing is involved in the tpye, and that a bigger than 110 seat plane would mean a direct competition to Boeing’s 737-600NG in terms of passenger capacity, it is more likely that a shorter version will be announced (or the slightly larger 110 seater), but let’s wait and see.

To make the project more international, in the quickly developing civil aircraft arm of Russian Aeronautical Firm Sukhoi, actually the Finmeccanica Group from Italy owns 25%, and is waiting for Mr. Putin’s signature to gain one extra share, which can only be done by the special approval of the Russian President as aviation is classified as a protected industry. It is interesting to know that Finmeccanica through its subsidiary Alenia Aereonautica already owns 50% of ATR (regional turboprop powered aircraft manufacturing firm) and according to reports it’s trying to buy-out the other 50% from EADS, which is also parent of Airbus… Very interesting ties within the industry, I think.

The Superjet 100-95 is planned to be launched with Aeroflot Russian Airlines in November 2008, the largest future operator to date, with 45 firm orders. The type until now has received a total of 71 firm orders, including 10 from the first Western customer: ItAli Airlines of Italy, which was announced at the Paris Air Show earlier this year with delivery beginning in December 2008. ItAli will replace its MD-80 fleet with the Superjets, providing an example for other operators of the aging McDonnel Douglas aircraft. Superjet International – the new joint venture between Alenia Aereonautica and Sukhoi Holding focusing on worldwide after-sales support and marketing and sales of the Superjet 100 regional aircraft family in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Oceania and Japan is targeting approximately 300 orders by 2010. This would include the above mentioned 10 by ItAli Airlines. To date besides the 71 aircraft ordered, there are 39 options in place as well. Sukhoi Chairman Viktor Subboting is confident of announcing two new orders “in the next weeks” and is planning with 100 firm orders by the end of 2007. It was also confirmed that Sukhoi is planning other versions of the Superjet, such as VIP (expecting 20 to be sold in the Russian market, and around 100 worldwide in the short-term), and Cargo configurations, for both of which the new joing venture Superjet International will be responsible. According to earlier reports in the media, there are a number of Western airlines considering the SSJ family, such as Air France, Lufthansa, SAS and Iberia. Lately we have heard of SAS coming close to finalizing an order, while Malev Hungarian Airlines also joined the list of potential customers after being bought by AirUnion, that is already holding firm orders for the aircraft. Whether if Malev would receive a few planes from the AirUnion order, or if it will place its own, separate order, is not yet known, but from a fleet management point of view, it would be logical that the planned to be extensively cooperating airlines will operate the same aircraft types as well.

But first let’s see the roll-out of the plane in less than two weeks!

by balint01


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