Sukhoi Crash may have impact beyond Russia’s borders- global aviation certification?

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Russian air crash could ground the country’s airline industry

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 has had lackluster foreign sales. The crash will make exports even more difficult.

Lightning Strike Considered Most Likely Cause of SSJ100 Crash

Recent accidents have created or make clearer some fissures in the international aircraft certification network. Actions by various civil aviation authorities, in response to the Boeing 737 Max8 tragedies, put into question the competence of the FAA’s certification of that aircraft. In a wise effort to restore that confidence, the FAA initiated a review team to participate in a process to reauthorize operations of the Boeing 737 Max 8. The Joint Airworthiness Review Team (JATR) has held its first meeting.

The crash of an Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 at Moskva-Sheremetyevo Airport may further expose the strains extant in this multilateral system of aircraft certification. The SSJ100 has received certificates from the authorities of the following countries: Russia (the IAC AR), European Aviation Safety Agency Indonesia, Laos and Mexico. Clearly the most significant approval was that issued by EASA. Those regulatory actions permitted airlines to buy and operate the SSJ100 within their borders.

Though Sukhoi obtained these tickets, the airplane was hardly a commercial success.

Relevant to the global aspects of this crash, EASA had flagged significant concerns about the Russian review of an iteration of the SSJ100 as recently as January 2019. Here is a partial list of problems:



QUERY: should EASA have escalated its concerns?

QUERY: will the investigation of the Moskva-Sheremetyevo Airport crash add to EASA’s concerns about the competence of  Federal Air Transportation Agency (Rosaviatsiya) [FATA]?

QUERY: will the accident investigation raise questions about FATA’s ability to exercise this important safety power?

QUERY: will the accident investigation raise questions about EASA’s acceptance of FATA SSJ100 certificate?

QUERY: Russia’s own Interstate Aviation Committee questioned whether the safety level of aircraft transport in the CIS was adequate by labeling the situation in typical Soviet dissembling speak–“stable negative dynamics” during 2017. Should the international community have taken more direct actions before?

QUERY: can the international aviation community question the competence of a major world power? Particularly, given that Russia sees aerospace as a major trade initiative?

China holds similar aspirations and has had HICCUPS? Given the size of its market as a sales target for manufacturers, will the powers-to-be have the gumption to question whether its aircraft are ready?

This Russian crash clearly has implications for the international aviation certification that was emerging. Even  Airbus has recognized that the Max 8 situation has fissures; this SSJ100 accident cannot improve the dynamics of this already tenuous state of affairs.



PS please be sure to read this important article by Christine Negroni– Deadly Consequences of Passenger Behavior on Display in Aeroflot Evacuation














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1 Comment on "Sukhoi Crash may have impact beyond Russia’s borders- global aviation certification?"

  1. Rick Cremer | May 9, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Reply

    No one, not the FAA, EASA, ICAO or any other regulatory authority is going to have any input into FATA’s investigation into the Sukhoi Superjet 100 accident. Nor any influence over the Russian Civil Aviation’s authority’s (FATA) regulations and oversight of the Russian civil aviation system (such as it is.) Russia is Russia.

    My advice to anyone wanting to travel to or within Russia by air is to either take a U.S., Canadian or Western European airline or go by train.


    Rick Cremer
    FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (Ret. (Ops and Aws))

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