Nearly two years after its entry into service, the Sukhoi Superjet 100 is still going through turbulent times. Following several technical problems, four of the ten Aeroflot aircraft were grounded by the Russian civil aviation authorities until recently. Last year, the Russian company recorded 95 incidents on its SS J 100’s. This latest aircraft accounts for 40% of the total number of failures or breakdowns recorded by Aeroflot, yet only 9% of the aircraft comprising its fleet.
The reasons: the leak detection system, landing gear, leading edge slats - those aerodynamic surface components located on the leading edge of the wings deployed at low speeds. In a statement issued on February 9, the manufacturer minimized these different problems in saying: "During the first two years of commercial exploitation, defects are identified on ALL new aircraft." In addition Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company specifies: "the leak detection system is being corrected on aircraft in production, and will be, as soon as possible, on those already in service. The design of the slats has been modified on four of the Aeroflot aircraft, and the others will be carried out in accordance with the production schedule of the company." And finally: “the problem with the landing gear, is not systematic, detected on only two aircraft, it is being resolved with the manufacturers Messier-Bugatti-Dowty."
The four grounded aircraft were finally put back into service on 15 February, and the Russian company has been compensated by the manufacturer for the three days of immobilization. More fright than harm done? We’ll just have to wait and see. Because for the time being, only a total of 15 units of the Superjet 100 have been delivered to five different airlines. They will have to be patient a little longer to make sure these teething problems do not increase with age.