It would have been an interesting bet on 4 May (the day after the US Air Force grounded the Lockheed Martin F-22). Which fifth-generation fighter would fly again first — the F-22 or the Sukhoi T50-2?
The T50-2 — the second PAK-FA prototype — first flew on 3 March, trailing first flight of the T50-1 by 13 months. Everything seemed normal when Sukhoi flew T50-2 to Zhukovsky airport near Moscow on 3 April, but then it stopped flying. T50-1 continued on pace, but T50-2 stayed in the hangar. Meanwhile, the Lockheed F-35 has joined the F-22 as hangar-bound companions.
It now appears the T50-2 would have won that bet.
Multiple reports on Russian and English-language spotter forums report that the T50-2 flew again today for the first time in more than four months. It is still unknown what caused the programme’s second prototype to stop flying for so long. Perhaps in related news, the MAKS air show begins next week, and both T50 prototypes are expected to perform in the air display.
PAK-FA’s ‘hangar queen’ flies after 4-month hiatus
By Stephen Trimble on 10 August, 2011 in Uncategorised
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