Sukhoi Jet Demo Flight Goes Bad
A Sukhoi Superjet-100 (SSJ-100), Russia’s newest civilian airliner, departed Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Intl Airport (WIHH / HLP) and went missing during a sales demonstration flight with 37 passengers, a crew of 6, and 2 Sukhoi officials
The demo flight in Indonesia was the second in a day and part of a six nation demonstration sales tour. The aircraft can seat 87 passengers in a two-cabin layout and the demo flight which went missing reportedly had 45 souls on-board including crew.
Russia’s State Run Media, Ria Novosti, reports the demonstration flight went missing at approximately 2pm local time. The aircraft took off from Jakarta’s Halim Airport and was expected to return 30 minutes later.
A controlled flight into terrain is speculated as to what had taken place – the aircraft impacted Mount Salak at an elevation of about 5300 feet.
Indonesian Authorities investigating this accident said the aircraft was at 10,000 feet near Mount Salak when the pilot requested a decent to 6,000 feet. Air Traffic Control cleared the aircraft to 6,000 feet. This was the last radio transmission. Radar contact was lost as the aircraft descended through 6,200 feet.
Mount Salak is 7254 feet high and a second nearby mountain, Mount Gede is 9,705 feet high.
RIA Novosti indicates the aircraft went missing near Bogor, West Java, Indonesia.
Weather conditions at Jakarta’s Halim Airport (WIHH / HLP) indicate light winds, haze at 5,000 feet and scattered clouds at 1,800 feet.
It’s quite possible the mountains were clouded in and the crew may have lost situational awareness. The aircraft was equipped with a Ground Proximity Warning System, commonly known as GPWS, which should have prevented the aircraft from making a controlled flight into terrain. Also possible was bad altitude indications if there was an incorrect pressure setting or the system just stopped working.
Both black boxes, the cockpit audio recorder and the flight data recorder have been recovered.
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, also known as the NTSC, will be in charge of the investigation. The NTSC has both black boxes along with a copy of the flight plan, radar data from the time leading up to the crash, as well as ATC recordings and transcripts from interviews with ATC and other involved parties.
The Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft is a single-aisle jet airliner designed to carry 87 passengers in a two-class layout. The jet is a competitor with Brazil’s Embraer E-Jets series as well as Canadian based Bombardier and their line of larger regional jets.
In February 2012, the SSJ100 obtained the EASA Type Certificate. By April 8, 2012, seven SSJ100s have been in service with Armavia and Aeroflot and have accumulated over 6,100 flight hours in more than 3,150 revenue flight cycles.
Commercial airlines which have ordered the Sukhoi SuperJet 100 (SSJ-100) include Aeroflot, Armavia, Kartika Airlines, Kyrgyzstan Airlines, Kuban Airlines, Moskovia Airlines, Sky Aviation, and Transaero. In North America, The Mexican budget airline InterJet is the only airline to order this aircraft to compliment its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft with a smaller jet.