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Wed, May 09, 2012

Russian Aircraft Vanishes From Radar During Promotional Flight

All Aboard Feared To Be Lost

A Sukhoi Superjet 100 has been reported as losing radar contact with controllers in Indonesia. The jet was on a promotional tour for airline representatives and journalists, and reportedly had 46 aboard, although this might not include the crew. The flight departed Halim airport in the capitol city of Jakarta and was expected to return to the same airport less than an hour later. Contact was lost after the pilot requested permission to descend, according to a spokesman from the Russian Embassy in Jakarta as reported by Interfax. The agency also cited a source from the Russian Transportation Ministry who said a preflight check had revealed nothing suspicious. "The plane was absolutely flight worthy" the spokesman said.

Eight Superjets are in service today, and Sukhoi has 200 more on order with hopes to sell about 1,000 of the aircraft over the next two decades. As part of Sukhoi's marketing effort, last week it began a six-nation road show of presentations to Asian airline executives that had already made stops in Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

Wednesday’s flight in Indonesia was to have been followed by visits to Laos and Vietnam. Sukhoi partnered with several Western companies in the design and production of the Superjet. Italy's Alenia Aeronautica owns about 25% of the program, French company Thales supplied the avionics and Russian engine builder NPO Saturn joined with Snecma of France to design and build the plane's engines. (File photo of test flight airplane)



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