Data from the “black boxes” retrieved from the wreckage of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 that crashed in Indonesia on May 9 so far shows not even a “hint” of technical fault, United Aircraft president Mikhail Pogosyan reported during a Farnborough press conference.
The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder—found about a kilometer (0.62 miles) from the accident site near Mount Salak, some 60 miles south of Jakarta—survived the impact “essentially” undamaged. Pogosyan said his company has seen analysis of data retrieved by Indonesia’s Investigation Commission of the National Committee for Transport Safety (KNKT), and has shared the information with customers.
“We work in close contact with the national safety committee and the investigation board, which is conducting the investigation of the Superjet accident, and we have access to the analysis of the data,” Pogosyan said through an interpreter. “So based on that data we can say there were no technical issues with the aircraft.” In a seeming contradiction, however, Pogosyan said “it would be premature” to discuss details of the investigation.
Making its second demonstration flight of the day, MSN 95004 had been airborne just 20 minutes when the flight crew requested a descent to 6,000 feet from 10,000 feet before losing radio contact with ATC. A crewmember and passenger list released by Sukhoi confirmed the airplane carried 45 people, including SSJ100 chief pilot Alexander Yablontsev and copilot Alexander Kocketkov. Yablontsev had logged more than 10,000 hours and commanded the first flight of the SSJ100’s first prototype.
Pogosyan said that the accident might result in a “shift” in deliveries to Indonesian airlines, but that, in general, customer interest in the airplane hasn’t waned. In fact, only two weeks ago Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) landed an order for six of the regional jets from Russia’s second largest airline, Transaero.
“We keep informing our customers, both potential and existing, of the information that we have on the results of the investigation,” said Pogosyan.
Pogosyan also revealed that SCAC expects to close talks with three customers in Southeast Asia over orders and options covering 40 new airplanes “in a two- to three-month period.”
Meanwhile, he added, the accident has actually inspired the Superjet’s suppliers and partners to “consolidate” their efforts toward a concerted bid to meet the production target of 20 airplanes this year and 60 a year by 2014.