Aviation News

May 9, 2012

Sukhoi Superjet Demo Flight Crashes in Indonesia, Plane and 46 Passengers Missing

In a photo posted on Sky Aviation's Facebook page, the Sukhoi Superjet-100 demonstrator sits at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta before takeoff Wednesday. Ten Sky employees were onboard.

A Sukhoi Superjet 100 performing a demonstration flight for media, airline and aviation personnel with 46 people onboard crashed near a mountain in Indonesia on Wednesday. Their fate was not immediately known, as a search and rescue operation had to be called off due to bad weather.

Contact with the 100-seat jet (registration RA-97004) was lost about 20 minutes after takeoff from Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, according to early reports. An official told Reuters that that radio contact was lost with the plane after it descended from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet. It disappeared from radar near the 7,200-ft Mount Salak.

Several Indonesian airlines, aerospace and travel concerns, along with two media organizations were represented onboard, according to a passenger manifest published by the Kompas newspaper. Sky Aviation, a new regional carrier with 12 Superjets on order, had 10 employees onboard, while Kartika Airlines, which has ordered 30 Superjets, had one rep onboard. The list also included reps from Airfast Indonesia, Pelita Air, Sriwijaya Airlines, Air Maleo, Aviastar, Angkasa Pura, Dirgantara Indonesia, Snecma, Indo Asia, PT KAI, Carpedrem Mardin and TR. Also onboard were reporters from Bloomberg and Trans TV.

A new model built in Russia by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, the Superjet 100 competes against aircraft such as the Embraer 170/190, as well as the upcoming Bombardier CSeries and Mitsubishi Regional Jet.

First flown in 2008, the Superjet entered commercial service in April 2011 with Russia’s Armavia. Sukhoi has sold 240 Superjets to 23 customers. So far a total of eight Superjets have been delivered to Armavia and Aeroflot.


UPDATE 12:20 PM ET: PHOTO GALLERY: Onboard the day’s earlier Superjet demo flight out of Jakarta

UPDATE 1:30 PM ET: According to the Sukhoi website, Superjet was on a “Welcome Asia” tour, piloted by the program’s Chief test pilot Alexander Yablontsev and co-pilot Alexander Kochetkov. After Jakarta, the plane was scheduled to visit Laos and Vietnam. It had already made stops in Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Myanmar.

UPDATE 10:20 PM ET: Indonesian rescuers have located the plane on a mountain at an altitude of 5,200 feet, according to a Twitter report from Sergey Dolya.

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