Armavia and Aeroflot crews will start training on the first Thales-built full-flight Superjet simulator in Paris in June.

Aeroflot has already qualified six instructor pilots, whose training has included 8h in the aircraft - typically 15 flights - after non-motion simulator time.

Initial tests included demonstrating the protected envelope at heights up to 10,000ft (3,000m) and during low-speed flights at high angles of attack, around 25-27°.

"They showed us that this aircraft is very well protected by automation from entering dangerous regimes," says Sergei Bodrov, one of the six Aeroflot pilots. The Superjet is stable, the pilot group says, and even handles better in bank and yaw than the Airbus A320.

"We were impressed by the Superjet as a well-designed, well-protected aircraft - better so than Airbus narrowbodies," says Bodrov.

Pilot Oleg Engels compares the Superjet with the A319 in controllability and with the A321 in lift-generation: "It looks like a cross between those two Airbus models, which is a good cross."

Marketing firm Superjet International plans to qualify 60 crews for the type this year, says chief executive Carlo Logli. A second full-flight simulator will be installed in Moscow in April 2012, a third in Venice, while the fourth will be the first customer device, going to Aeroflot.

Source: Flight International