A trip from the site of last year’s RAA annual convention in Memphis to the venue chosen for this year’s edition, held in Indianapolis last month, covers barely 450 miles, but the psychological distance the industry has traveled over the past 12 months seems more like light years.
Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft flew the new Superjet 100 for the first time on May 19 from the company’s main assembly site in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The milestone came some six months after the company had originally hoped to stage the maiden voyage of the 95-seat regional jet, scheduled now for delivery to launch customer Aeroflot next spring.
Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft flew the new Superjet 100 for the first time on May 19 from the company’s main assembly site in the Far East city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The milestone came some six months after the company had originally hoped to stage the maiden voyage of the 95-seat regional jet, scheduled now for delivery to launch customer Aeroflot next spring.
A day before the opening of last month’s Moscow airshow, Sukhoi, Ilyushin and Boeing signed a series of agreements on the regional jet program proposed in mid-April during Boeing CEO Phil Condit’s visit to Moscow. Dubbed the “Russian Regional Jet” (RRJ), the program is aimed at building a prototype in 2004, certification in 2005 and service entry in 2006 or 2007.
The Russian government is considering softening the import tax requirements for business jets and certain types of on-board and airport equipment not produced domestically, according to Valery Voskoboinikov, deputy head of the Russian state agency Rosaviacosmos.
Sukhoi’s new Superjet 100 could be ready to make its long-awaited first flight by the end of this month. Powerjet–the joint venture between France’s Snecma and Russia’s NPO Saturn that is developing the regional airliner’s SaM146 engine–has said that it has applied for a flight permit, having completed more than 30 hours during 14 flights with the turbofan mounted on an Ilyushin Il-76LL testbed.
The Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) bid submitted by Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Yakovlev and Boeing has won the Russian state tender for development of a new 70- to 80-seat regional jet. Russia’s Rosaviacosmos state agency initiated the tender last summer. The winner will get state funding to cover some research and development, provided the rest comes from commercial sources.
Antonov plans to fly the first An-148 regional jet this month, marking the culmination of three years of preparation and the dawn of a new era in Ukrainian civil aviation.
Despite signs of revival last year, when traffic rose by 6- to 8 percent, the Russian regional air transport system remains in dire straits. Lack of appreciable demand in the market, aging fleets and the absence of reasonably priced capital in the country’s banking sector have conspired to frustrate recent efforts to move the industry out of its doldrums.
The aerospace world got its first close look at the Sukhoi Superjet 100 when Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company staged a rollout ceremony on September 26 outside its final assembly plant in the Siberian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur.