MAKS: Tu-204SM shown off days after second prototype flies

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Tupolev has shown off its upgraded Tu-204SM at the MAKS air show for the first time, days after the maiden flight of its second flying prototype.

The second prototype, with tail number 64151, has been on static display while another example of the Tu-204SM was towed out for public view.

Tupolev carried out the new prototype's first flight on 3 August at Ulyanovsk, where the Aviastar manufacturing plant is located.

The aircraft was airborne for 52min during a sortie which involved a basic check of vital systems and equipment. "According to the crew all the systems worked normally," said Tupolev, adding that the aircraft's engines operated smoothly and the aircraft was stable.

Tupolev is demonstrating the aircraft, whose modernised features include Aviadvigatel PS-90A2 engines, at a time when the future of the Tu-204 programme is uncertain after doubts emerged over the commitment from launch customer Red Wings.

The design bureau maintains that deliveries of the aircraft are still planned for 2012.

"At present a leasing procedure is being worked out for the Tu-204SM which would define the source of financing and the terms of the leasing deals," said Tupolev.

"Possible forms of state support for the project and for the operators of the aircraft are being worked out. Intensive effort is being made to provide a system of after-sales product support and airworthiness continuation activities, as well as to organise the deals with potential customers."

Tupolev's modernisation of the baseline Tu-204 includes a two-person cockpit, new landing gear and upgraded navigation systems, flight instrument and warning systems, and an in-flight maintenance system.

First flight of the initial prototype, 64150, took place in December 2010.