May 102012

It’s one setback after another, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Last year it was Phobos-Grunt, Russia’s attempt to return to deep space beyond Earth orbit after a 15-year hiatus. Alas, Phobos-Grunt never managed to go too far… it failed to reach escape orbit and eventually fell back to the Earth.

And now, it’s the Sukhoi Superjet’s turn. After more than two decades, Russia is again trying to capture a small segment of the passenger jet market. Their demonstration model was on an Asian tour, trying to impress new customers. Well, they certainly created an impression… just not the impression they were hoping for. More tragically, 48 souls perished.

I suppose that from a Canadian (or Brazilian) perspective, this should be considered “good news”, since the Sukhoi Superjet 100 is intended to compete in a market that is dominated by Canada’s Bombardier and Brazil’s Embraer. But I don’t find this comforting. In fact, for the sake of the future of Russia’s commercial jet industry, I hope that this tragic accident will turn out to be a case of pilot error. Controlled flight into terrain.

 Posted by at 4:44 pm