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Sheremetyevo disaster: why Superjet 100 was abandoned abroad

5 May Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 burned at Sheremetyevo airport, 41 people died. By words crew members, after taking off on an Aeroflot plane, were struck by lightning, which caused the main radio station to fail; it was decided to return to the airport. The landing turned out to be tough, the plane hit the lane three times; a fire started in the back of the plane. Previously, foreign companies began to abandon the Russian airliner, citing difficulties with its maintenance.

Фото: Depositphotos

«Medusa»Tells how the Russian airliner works and what kind of complaints they make to it.

Is the Superjet 100 an exclusively Russian aircraft?

SSJ 100 was originally conceived as an international project - the only way it could be promoted to the global market. A significant part of the liner units produced abroad. Only about a third of the French components in the aircraft; Italian, American and German companies are also involved in the project.

Фото: Depositphotos

As is customary in the latest generation aircraft, it is made with a wide use of composite materials, its engines are among the most economical in their class, and their control and safety systems differ little from their foreign counterparts. The declared characteristics of the liner allowed it to compete with the leaders in the regional aircraft market - the same Bombardier or Brazilian Embraer.

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How did he establish himself in terms of security?

Sukhoi liners produced just a little less than 200 units. They fly a little, which means safety statistics are limited. The accident database contains more than a dozen cases involving SSJ 100. Some of them are due to technical faults, but this is also a common situation.

Фото: Depositphotos

Before the crash landing at Sheremetyevo, the only SSJ 100 disaster occurred during a demonstration flight with potential customers in Indonesia in 2012. According to the results of the official investigation, it is not related to technical problems and design features. The mistakes of pilots and controllers, as well as the presence of unauthorized persons in the cockpit, led to it.

BBC Russian Service stated that the main aircraft operator, Aeroflot, considered SSJ 100 to be the least safe aircraft in its fleet. In February, of all the incidents involving Aeroflot aircraft, 2019 accounted for more than half of the SSJ 100 incidents. This is despite the fact that the airline had a Russian-made 42 liner from the total fleet of 232 cars. The SSJ 100 also flew less than foreign aircraft.

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How is the electronic filling of the aircraft?

SSJ 100 is fully electronically controlled (fly-by-wire system) - on the same principle as the most modern Airbus aircraft; The system is manufactured in Europe. In the Normal Mode, the computer first reads all the pilot actions of the pilots, then removes most of the errors and inaccuracies, and only then sends a signal to the engines and control surfaces of the aircraft.

Фото: Depositphotos

Direct control of the aircraft (Direct Mode) is enabled if both autonomous computers fail (or in the case when they receive obviously inaccurate data on key flight parameters). The pilot of the liner that burned down at Sheremetyevo reported that this happened to their plane after a lightning strike. In this mode, only manual control is possible, without the participation of autopilot and traction machine. Computers are also not involved in error correction and management of various systems: for example, they do not provide automatic control. by interceptors and brake pads when landing. However, the Flight Manual SSJ 100 (RLE) states that in Direct Mode you can always safely complete a flight. True, the crews rarely use this mode in real conditions; The Aeroflot flight operations manual directs pilots to enable automatic control after takeoff.

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On board the Superjet 100 provides several steps to protect against the complete failure of electronics. Each motor can generate current through an independent generator, in addition there is an auxiliary power unit. According to the RLE, the liner can fly up to half an hour only due to onboard batteries. Electrical equipment for SSJ 100 is produced not in Russia, but in the USA. Communication systems are also duplicated: on the liner there are three radio stations of the ultrashort range for negotiations with dispatchers, their antennas are spaced apart along different parts of the aircraft.

Why is Superjet being refused abroad?

According to Sukhoi, its 10% liner is more economical than its competitors and 15% cheaper, and with special discounts it could be cheaper several times. As the leaders of the largest foreign operator SSJ 100, the Mexican Interjet, said, 10 aircraft were treated as one airliner from Airbus. Management Interjet, concluding a contract for the supply of SSJ100, said about the Russian airliner, that this is a "machine for making money." The Irish CityJet spoke about the same way in the liner.

However, later, all operators - Russian and foreign - had the same type of problems: the plane did win in terms of economy, but lost on another major economic indicator - the average flight time. For example, Aeroflot, which has the largest SSJ 100 fleet, reported that on average, Sukhoi liners only fly 3,3 an hour a day. This is despite the fact that even the old Embraer in Russia fly 5 – 6 hours.

Фото: Depositphotos

It's all about the difficulties with the repair. Earlier this year, the Irish CityJet refused to operate SSJ 100 - the only one who used the Superjet in Europe. In the spring of 2018, Brussels Airlines (the end user of CityJet airliners) announced that she had to cancel the 92 flight for the 22 of the day due to aircraft crashes; the Belgians already said that "this cannot continue any longer." Almost every SSJ 100 breakdown ended with a long downtime, since the service system was not established during the eight years of the project’s existence.

The Mexican InterJet was forced to disassemble several planes into spare parts so that at least some of them would remain in working condition. Sukhoi paid the 40 millions of dollars to the Mexicans. Then the entire Mexican fleet SSJ 100 was moored; but the Mexicans did not completely abandon the Sukhoi aircraft, hoping that Russia would ever repair them. Some Russian operators are also thinking about abandoning the aircraft. But the project is supported by the Russian budget and local airlines. The state is clearly not going to close the project and plans to subsidize the purchase of aircraft by state-owned leasing companies and air carriers; The main customer, Aeroflot, was planning to buy 100 liners before the disaster at Sheremetyevo.

In addition, the aircraft has at least one structural defect: its engines have a very small resource, which is guaranteed to disable them for a couple of years (or even a year) of operation. The manufacturer claims that the culprit - the French company Safran, which together with the Russian "ODK-Saturn" makes engines for the aircraft.

"Dry" tried to solve these problems?

Some of the problems were resolved promptly. For example, due to cracks in the tail end of the SSJ 100, they did not fly for a while, but then the defect was corrected. However, with very fast engine wear (2 thousands of hours of flight instead of the declared 8 thousands), it has not yet been possible to finally cope. This may be due to the fact that the Powerjet SaM146 engine of the French company Safran is produced in a very small series, it is put only on Sukhoi aircraft.

Фото: Depositphotos

The French have made a new combustion chamber for engines, and now they will not wear out so quickly. In addition, Russia plans to release a new modification of the liner - SSJ-SV with a domestic engine.

The owner of Sukhoi, the United Aircraft Corporation holding, promises that the service system will be adjusted soon; At the end of 2018, the corporation unveiled yet another plan for modernizing the system. It is also planned to create a “replacement engine bank” to speed up the repair of idle aircraft.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

  • Sukhoi Superjet 100 “Aeroflot” aircraft, which was traveling from Moscow to Murmansk, 5 in the evening of May returned to Sheremetyevo urgently and made a hard landing after 28 minutes of flight. The plane caught fire.
  • According to the latest data of the Investigative Committee, as a result of the disaster 41 man died. Among them was an American.
  • A resident of the Murmansk region Alena Medvedeva, who was supposed to fly on an airplane burned in Sheremetyevo, talked about forebodingwho saved her life.
  • That's what told the crew, passengers, their relatives and eyewitnesses about what happened, as well as three versions of the disaster at Sheremetyevo.
  • A video appeared in the Web, in which allegedly employees of Sheremetyevo Airport mock over the landing planecovered in flames.
  • This is the first disaster for Aeroflot with human casualties after 2008, when Boeing 737 crashed in Perm.
  • "Kommersant", citing a source in the aviation industry, reports that previously the burned plane had only one serious technical accident. In January, 2018 did not release flaps during a descent, but the aircraft then landed safely.

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