Flightglobal's Moscow-based correspondent Vladimir Karnozov was at the scene at 13:57 yesterday afternoon when Sukoi's T50-2 prototype experienced a dramatic flame-out at the ends of the MAKS 2011 air show. He files this witness report:
"Two bursts of flames erupted from the right engine and two loud "bumps" were heard. Thanks to the great length of the Ramenskoye runway - 5000 meters - the pilot managed to bring the airplane to a stop well before the aerodrome fence, but had to deploy brake parachute in addition to wheel brakes. The incident happened before eyes of some 200,000 visitors gathered to watch flight display. That day Sukhoi test-pilot Sergei Bogdan was to perform in the second operable PAKFA prototype, referred to as the T-50-2 or Side 52. Sukhoi admitted that the airplane suffered a technical malfunction and said the pilot acted "in accordance with manuals". The airframer ads the T-50-2 did not have any damage, while playing down the earlier media reports that the right NPO Saturn Item 117 engine developed surge. Rather, the company attributed it to "malfunctioning fuel supply system" in one case and "engine's FADEC" in another. The latter is strange since Sukhoi and Saturn claimed earlier the Item-117-powered PAKFA differs from the Su-35 with similar FADEC-equipped Item 117S engines in having a centralized comprehensive control system for flight controls, onboard systems and powerplant, which is a feature of fifth-generation fighters as opposed to fourth generation. Further to Sukhoi embarrassment, immediately after the incident the show organizers promised the public that the PAKFA would fly, calling for the first operable prototype T-50-1 to takeoff. But as the show closed down four hours later, the promise did not materialize. Rumors had it that the T-50-1 had gone to repairs shortly after flat-out flight performance on 17 August before Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin."