VASO Launches An-148 Flight Trials

 - July 21, 2009, 6:31 AM

The first Antonov An-148 built by Russia’s Voronezh Aircraft Plant (VASO), registration RA-61701, took its second flight today, two days after performing its maiden mission over the weekend. The first flight originated at 2 p.m. local time this past Sunday and lasted a little less than one hour. Operating at a takeoff weight of some 75,750 pounds, the airplane reached maximum altitude of nearly 16,500 feet and speed of 300 knots. The crew evaluated characteristic speeds, controllability and stability of the aircraft and checked functioning of onboard systems.

The first flight’s crew consisted of VASO test pilot Gennady Ryabov, who flight-tested all recently built Il-96 series widebody airliners, and Sergei Troshin, commander of Antonov flight-test crews.

Today’s flight lasted two and a half hours, during which the airplane reached an attitude of 36,000 feet, as the crew assessed functionality of the control surfaces, including wing leading and trailing edges, and that of navigation and radio communication equipment. The test team also checked the powerplant’s performance under various regimes, including at takeoff and landing.

Meanwhile, VASO continues work on final assembly of two more An-148-100Bs out of the initial production batch of six airframes, all intended for the type’s launch customer, state-owned GTK Rossiya. Based in St. Petersburg, the airline placed a firm order for six An-148-100Bs with Ilyushin Finance leasing company at the 2007 Moscow Air Show. The airplanes feature a dual-class, 68-seat cabin. The airline and VASO’s parent company, United Aircraft (UAC) remains in talks to convert an option for further six aircraft, of which at least two would come in a VIP version for Russian government officials.

The first Ukrainian-built An-148, built by Antonov, entered service with Ukraine’s Aerosvit with a June 2 flight between Borispol International Airport, outside Kiev, and Kharkov, in northeastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian company slated for series production, Aviant, has yet to fly its first airplane.