Superjet wins Russian certification

 - February 25, 2011, 8:30 AM

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 has gained Russian certification, more than two-and-a-half years after the first prototype embarked on its maiden flight.

Simultaneously, Russian certification authority IAC AR granted a design organization approval certificate to Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company based on an audit of the aircraft development quality system and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) performance.

Presented during a February 3 ceremony at IAC AR headquarters in Moscow, the SSJ100's ticket is the culmination of what company officials describe as "an unprecedented vast campaign" by certification centers, the Russian airworthiness authority, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Italian partner Alenia, which helped conduct noise and Hirf (high-intensity radiated field) testing.

The certification campaign involved some 200 programs of static, fatigue and flight tests. Sukhoi and its partners ran the certification campaign with four prototypes for flight testing and two prototypes for static and fatigue trials. Four flying jets accumulated 2,594 flight hours during 1,087 flights. The quartet visited more than 20 airports in Russia, the CIS and Europe, proving the airplane's ability to operate into even the most remote destinations. Fifteen pilots from Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, IAC AR, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Russian certification centers flew the SSJ100 at different times during the certification program. During the tests, said SCAC, the aircraft proved to be quieter and cleaner than demanded by ICAO CAEP 6 requirements.

Meanwhile, the Superjet 100 became the first Russian aircraft to accomplish the full scope of the certification Hirf testing program in Italy in collaboration with Alenia Aeronautica. Hirf testing demonstrates that external electromagnetic fields do not influence the aircraftπs on-board systems and electronic equipment.

Although the initial certificate issued by Russiaπs AR MAK/IAC AR certification authority will allow for only Category 2 landing capability, the final version of the flight mission software expected from Thales by the end of the year will allow for Category 3 landings. In the meantime, "the factory and the production processes have already been certified by EASA," recently appointed Superjet International chairman Carmelo Cosentino told AIN in January.

SCAC expects to deliver the first production examples to Aeroflot and Armenia's Armavia early this month. By the end of the year SCAC plans to have delivered six or eight aircraft to Russian and CIS operators. Thereafter, the company expects production to accelerate rather quickly, reaching an annual rate of 40 to 50 aircraft in two to three years, according to Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan.

Sukhoi expects to gain EASA certification some time this summer. Italian support and marketing partner Superjet International has signed orders for 71 aircraft–30 from Bermuda-based Pearl Aircraft, six from Willis Lease Finance of the U.S., 20 from an undisclosed customer and, most recently, 15 from Mexico's Interjet. For its part, SCAC has collected 99–namely 30 from Aeroflot, 30 from Indonesia's Kartika Airlines, 24 from Russia's Avialeasing, 10 from Russia's FLC (Financial Leasing Company), two from Armavia and three from Laotian start-up Phongsavanh Airlines.