Superjet To Make Airshow Debut, Flight of Third Aircraft Imminent
Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. plans to display one of the two Superjet 100s now involved in flight testing at the June 15 to 21 Paris Air Show, just around the time the program’s third test article makes its planned maiden flight, according to Alessandro Franzoni, CEO of the program’s Venice, Italy-based marketing and support arm, Superjet International.
The program’s two prototypes have logged more than 500 flight hours during 160 test missions. Engineers completed flutter testing in just 15 flights instead of an originally planned 25, while icing trials required five flights rather than 18, said Franzoni. The prototypes have reached an altitude of 40,000 feet and a maximum speed of Mach 0.88, he added. According to published specs, the Superjet 100 is expected to have a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.81.
Speaking at the May 18 to 21 Regional Airline Association Convention in Salt Lake City, Franzoni also said that the company has turned its attention away from a smaller version of the 95-seat jet and that a stretch variant that could hold as many as 120 passengers appears more likely.
For the time being, however, getting the first Superjet 100 ready for delivery to first operator Armavia by the end of this year and establishing a global support network have kept Franzoni busy enough. Some 20 support facilities involving “seven or eight” companies have already joined the program, he said, adding that he expects support coverage to expand significantly this year. As plans stand today, Italy’s Itali Airlines will serve as the Western launch customer when it takes first delivery in the second half of 2010.