PICTURES: First Aeroflot Superjet takes to the air

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Sukhoi has conducted the maiden flight of Aeroflot’s first Sukhoi Superjet 100 in the Russian flag-carrier’s colours.

Aircraft 95008 performed the 50min sortie from Dzemgi Airport outside of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, where the aircraft are manufactured, on 31 January.

“In 2011 we plan the transfer of a few more [Superjet] aircraft to customers,” says the airframer.

Test pilot Leonid Chikunov says the aircraft did not suffer any major failure of its control and safety systems during the two-and-a-half-year flight-test programme, which led to Russian type certification last month.

He says the twinjet is easy and comfortable to fly. Chikunov also reveals that the aircraft experienced a birdstrike involving five gulls during a flight at Moscow Zhukovsky, two of which were ingested by one of the type’s PowerJet SaM146 engines, but that this was not reflected by the aircraft’s operation.

 aeroflot superjet

 aeroflot superjet

 aeroflot superjet
 © Sukhoi

Russia’s United Aircraft, in its preliminary figures for 2010, lists 155 Superjets on its order portfolio, which also claims 96 Antonov An-148s, 51 Tupolev Tu-204/214s, and 190 MS-21s – the airframer’s latest family – along with three Ilyushin Il-96s.

Last year United Aircraft delivered just seven commercial airframes, four of them An-148s which went to Rossiya.

Two of the others were Tupolev Tu-204s for financial firm VTB-Leasing and North Korea’s Air Koryo, while the remaining aircraft was a Tu-214 for the Russian presidential air fleet.

United Aircraft says the number of aircraft delivered to customers was reduced as a result of some deliveries being transferred to the first half of this year.