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PICTURE: PAK-FA flameout embarrasses Sukhoi

Russia's MAKS 2011 air show closed with an embarrassment for Sukhoi, when the pilot of its second prototype PAK-FA/T-50 was forced to abort a take-off run after two bursts of flame erupted from the fifth-generation fighter's starboard engine.

The incident happened in front of about 200,000 visitors, who had gathered at Ramenskoye air base near Moscow on 21 August to watch a flying display.

 
© Ivan Stepanov

Also referred to as T-50-2, or Side 52, the aircraft was forced to stop from a speed of around 100km/h, with Sukhoi test pilot Sergei Bogdan using wheel brakes and also deploying a brake parachute.

It stopped well short of the aerodrome fence, thanks to the 5,000m (16,400ft) length of the runway.

Sukhoi said the aircraft had suffered a technical malfunction but no damage, and that its pilot had acted "in accordance with manuals".

The company later attributed the issue to a "malfunctioning fuel supply system" and to the NPO Saturn Item 117 engine's full-authority digital engine control system.

To further Sukhoi's embarrassment, immediately after the incident the show's organisers promised the public that the first PAK-FA prototype would fly instead. This failed to happen, with the aircraft believed to have been sent for maintenance shortly after performing in front of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin on 17 August.

View Flightglobal's coverage from MAKS 2011

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