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There are 160 TU-154s deployed in the former CIS.  The 160-seat TU-154 has been a stalwart aircraft serving across the region, in some cases for over 40 years.  Russian news indicates the TU-154 fleet has been grounded.  But the grounding most likely applies only to the state owned fleet.

As of 3Q16, 42 were in service, the remainder being parked.  The aircraft is at the sunset of its life.

Within the active fleet, the Russian State had 15 and its 223rd Flight Unit had five.   While airlines have mostly parked their TU-154s, the state has kept its fleet active.  The state fleet does not have as many cycles as the commercial fleet.  Even if the aircraft is old, it is kept at OEM spec and should be safe to fly.

The aircraft that crashed on Christmas Day was built in 1983 and was serviced in 2014 and 2016.  While the… Continue reading

IRKUT provided an interesting PDF today – MC-21-ENG

In the document there are a number of links to videos of the program’s progress.

This reflects a new level of information openness to emerge from IRKUT and is to be commended.   The greater level of transparency, perhaps, demonstrates a growing confidence at IRKUT on their ability to achieve revised timelines.  It looks like first flight in the spring is achievable.

Today UEC (Russia’s United Engine Corporation) announced they are starting the second phase of the PD-14 engine flight tests.  UEC claims the PD-14 is a fifth generation engine being developed for powering the MC-21 airliner. They also claim using up-to-date technologies and materials, including the composites. The PD-14 is the first completely new Russian aeroengine for the civil airliners in a very long time.  The test engine is seen here in the flight test aircraft.

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UEC has built 11 test engines so far.  During 2015-2016 the first stage of the flight tests were successfully performed at the Flight Research Institute at Zhukovsky.  The second stage of the flight tests is planned to remove the “limitations regarding the engine’s thrust ratings and with provision for the high altitude engine starts”. The performance of the PD-14 engine will be tested at all speeds, altitudes and thrust ratings.

AirInsight is pleased to announce it has published two in-depth reports on the leading aircraft in the 100-150 seat segment.

Our assessment is that Bombardier and Embraer will essentially split ~80% of the market for approximately 4,000 aircraft. We believe Airbus and Boeing will only together retain ~20% share over the next 20 years in this segment.  This volume should ensure both small OEMs cover their breakeven numbers.   Which should also provide both firms with excellent financial platforms to grow aircraft offerings.  For Bombardier, this growth likely means a CS500 to get to a three member family. For Embraer, with a three family solution from 78 seats to 130 seats, management seems satisfied.  But knowledge from developing the KC-390 will be useful for the company’s next programs.  Embraer has a track record of driving IP from every program into each succeeding program.

We have a combo pamphlet that describes the… Continue reading

A report from Russia suggests that testing at TsAGI is being delayed because of missing parts (“shortfall of structural elements”) for the test vehicle.  It seems the missing parts come from AeroComposite – Ulyanovsk and are being shipped by truck.  The parts apparently were meant to be shipped on October 25.  The distance from Ulyanovsk to Moscow, where TsAGI is based is about 550 miles.

If TsAGI starts its tests late, almost certainly the first flight will be pushed back.  Thinking the first flight would be coming late this year or early next year now may be unrealistic.  Perhaps late spring or early summer seems more likely.

But, even so, one might consider that UAC could still have the aircraft at Paris for the 2017 summer show.  That would be playing the same card as Embraer did at Farnborough this year.  It is ambitious, but almost certainly there is… Continue reading

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