Russian Metal Flying High Again

Want to fly a Russian-built aircraft? The number of options available on that front is growing rapidly as new designs are coming to life and some “classics” are making a comeback. And there are even a few opportunities left for the classic classics, if that’s your thing.

New Planes

The Sukhoi SSJ-100 is the most established of the new Russian aircraft flying today, with commercial operations mostly in Russia but also more than 20 flying with Interjet out of Mexico. The SSJ-100 fits in competition with the Embraer E90 and Bombardier CRJ900 range of planes.

Get a bit bigger we have the Irkut MC-21, a brand new medium sized airliner which was formally introduced just this week. It hopes to compete with the A320 and 737 families of aircraft, with a projected entry in service date of 2020 or so. It features composites in the fuselage and wing to lower the weight and promises efficiency greater than the A320neo or 737 MAX lines. That said, it faces challenges in the avionics and other component areas due to ongoing trade battles between the US and Russia.

Russia looks to revive its aircraft industry with new planeRussia unveiles MC-21 medium-range jet aircraft – a challenge to Airbus & Boeing in 2017

Posted by RT Play on Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Launching Anew

The name Ilyushin conjures plenty of images for aviation fans so word of a relaunch from the company is always going to draw attention. Russian media is (again) reporting potential of a massive investment from the government to restart production of the IL-114 and IL-96 lines. The 114s are expected to be ready in 2019 to serve local airlines while the IL-96 project involves launching a –400 model (Cubana is flying the –300s and that is all sorts of interesting as a trip) with six of the type ready to fly for the government by 2021.

Golden Oldies

If you haven’t done one of the AvGeek tours in North Korea to fly old Soviet aircraft consider getting in on it next time around (though I’m not sure when the next one will be). There is an AvGeek tour set to visit Iran later this year which will offer up an An-74, B727 and a few other unique opportunities, though not without some risks.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.