Sukhoi: Operators Unaffected by SSJ Test Incident

 - July 23, 2013, 9:27 AM
A Sukhoi SSJ100 performing Cat IIIA landing tests in Keflavik, Iceland, landed with its gear retracted Sunday. (Photo: Superjet International)

Sunday’s incident involving a Sukhoi Superjet 100 in which the airplane landed with its gear retracted at Keflavik International Airport in Iceland will not affect operations of any in-service SSJ100s, the Russian manufacturer said in a statement released Monday. While undergoing the final stage of test flights to evaluate the twinjet’s performance in strong crosswinds during a Category IIIA landing, the airplane—identified as tail number 97005—approached the runway while powered by just one engine when it touched the ground, forcing the belly landing. Because the airplane still hasn’t gained Cat IIIA certification, no airlines will suffer any operational limitations due to the incident.

One of the two certification center experts on board injured his leg during evacuation. The four other occupants, including three flight crew, escaped unharmed. Sukhoi reported that at the time of the incident all aircraft systems functioned normally, and that, based on a preliminary assessment of the damage, it believes it can restore the airplane and return it to the test flight program.

A supplemental type certification for Cat IIIA allows an aircraft to land in fully automatic mode until the moment it touches the runway even in complicated weather conditions.

Sukhoi said the trials in Keflavik involved “numerous” automatic landings in various weather conditions and aircraft configurations. The company has tested more than 250 landing modes during the certification program, it added.

“At the moment Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company has already reached [a] sufficient volume of successful aircraft landings, said SCAC first president for quality and certification Igor Vinogradov. “Information we have obtained so far allows [us] to finalize [the] certification program on ICAO Cat IIIA in time.”