The headline is premature.
Indeed, a new Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner crashed and tragically all aboard died. The fact that this airplane was the first commercial offering of Sukhoi added to its visibility. Previously, Sukhoi Company was one of Russia’s military fighter manufacturers, and pre Perestroika, it was also a manufacturer of civil airliners operated primarily by Soviet bloc air carriers. The Superjet 100 was to be Russia’s competition for Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier mid range airliners.
The conclusion that the crash will harm the Superjet 100 assumes that the airplane’s design or airworthiness was the cause factor. At the time of the news article the wreckage and its black box had yet to be found, thus it is way too early to conclude that the design is at fault. Further, airplane buyers are sophisticated and experienced and can distinguish accident cause factors.
That is not to say that the existing reputation of Russian commercial aircraft design and production is exemplar. The US- Russia bilateral airworthiness agreement is an excellent surrogate for the recognition of the former Soviet Union’s aviation competence. Prior to Perestroika, the separation between the regulator and the manufacturer was ill defined and the likelihood that the government aviation authority would question the engineering of the government manufacturer was reduced—a distinction of merit among all civil aviation authorities.
Things may have improved, but the bilateral airworthiness agreement is relatively limited to allowing the export from Russia to the US of only metal aircraft of 9 passengers with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 lbs. equipped with US certificated engines (Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States of America for Promotion of Aviation Safety).
Until more is known about the “facts” of this accident “Buyer Beware”.Share this article: