Superjet Belly Lands During Testing
Sukhoi is putting the best spin it can on the belly landing of one of its Superjet test aircraft in Iceland on Tuesday. Three pilots and two certification experts were aboard the aircraft during crosswind tests of its autoland system when, according to Sukhoi, the plane "touched the runway with retracted landing gear." One of the certification experts broke his leg getting out of the plane but there were no other injuries. Sukhoi said in a statement that the mishap has no bearing on the commercial operation of the aircraft since none of the airlines currently flying the aircraft use the autoland feature. Tuesday's incident comes a little more than a year after a Superjet on a sales promotion flight crashed into a mountain in Indonesia.
As we reported last year, Indonesian officials determined pilot error caused the crash, which killed 45 people. The Superjet is the first airframe to result from Russia's attempt to modernize its civilian aerospace industry. The aircraft entered service in 2011 and Aeroflot is its biggest operator. Mexican budget carrier Interjet took delivery of the first of 20 Superjets in June.