Sukhoi Tackles SSJ100 Design ‘Deficiencies’

 - February 11, 2013, 12:26 PM
The first Sukhoi SSJ-100 painted in the colors of Mexican airline Interjet rolled out of its paint hangar in Venice, Italy, on February 11.

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.

In the statement, SCAC catalogued three primary issues, namely an erroneous engagement of the leakage-detection system, a slat-extension problem and a so-called landing-gear-up fault.

SCAC said it isolated the source of the problem involving the leakage-detection system, issued a service bulletin and implemented the fix in all aircraft at its production site in Komsomolsk on Amur, Russia. For airplanes already in service, SCAC said it would address the fault “as soon as possible.”

SCAC has also determined the source of the problem with the lift devices and issued yet another service bulletin, ahead of which it ran further bench tests to verify the efficacy of the repair. The company said it performed what it calls a design improvement implementation on four of ten aircraft in operation with Aeroflot. It plans to address the problem with the rest of the fleet under a schedule it established with the carrier.

Finally, said SCAC, the landing gear problem arose in two aircraft in operation and does not represent a “systematical” fault. It said it has identified the cause of the problem and continues to work with landing gear maker Messier-Bugatti-Dowty to prepare all the documents needed for delivery to the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviacia) and Aeroflot. The landing gear fault did not qualify as an in-flight emergency, said SCAC, and, following examination of all other aircraft in service, it found no other landing gear problem.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s Interjet expects imminent delivery of SSJ100 S/N 95023, and plans to place the aircraft into service this spring. A second of 20 SSJ100s destined for Interjet, MSN 95024, has also arrived in Venice for completion at Western sales, support and completions partner Superjet International (SJI), where a new full flight simulator undergoes certification activity. SJI plans to begin training Interjet’s pilots early next month.

Apart from the 10 SSJ100s delivered to Aeroflot, SCAC has sent two airplanes to Siberian carrier Yakutia, which launched service with its first this past January. Its second SSJ100 arrived at its home base in Yakutsk on January 31, and plans called for entry into service “upon completion of relevant documentation.”

Yakutia plans to operate both SSJ100s on the routes connecting Yakutsk with Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk and Kharbin, China, starting this autumn. For the spring and summer periods, it plans to add Yakutsk-Novosibirsk-Nerungri, Khabarovsk-Magadan and Khabarovsk-Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, as well as international charter service from the Russian Far East.