I stumbled on a Rex Features image yesterday showing a Yak-130 flying at the MAKS air show in a cracking new red colour scheme, and it reminded me of a recent return to the air for its blood brother: Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346.
It’s interesting to look at the two aircraft together, bearing in mind that many years ago Yakovlev and Aermacchi had a brief dalliance on a joint development. That of course failed, and the Yak-130 and M-346 are now being sold to different markets.
Sadly, the pre-production-standard M-346 pictured above was destroyed in a crash on 11 May. Its manufacturer on 22 August announced a resumption of flight activities with the type. It hasn’t made public what caused the accident, but says “the required aircraft modifications have been approved”.
Flight International test pilot Pete Collins is lucky enough to have flown both types over the last several years. If you missed his reports at the time, check out his verdicts on the M-346 and Yak-130.