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Russian president’s envoy says SSJ-100 jet has no serious design flaws

Sergei Ivanov stressed that he was expressing only his personal opinion while a special government commission would provide official findings on the causes of the accident

MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. /TASS/. Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger jet has no serious design flaws, although some complexities may arise due to the little experience of the new plane’s production and operation, Special Russian Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection. Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov told TASS on Monday.

The Russian president’s special envoy thus commented on the recent emergency landing of an SSJ-100 airliner at Moscow’s Shemertyevo airport when the plane burst into flames.

The envoy, who earlier held the post of the first vice-premier in the Russian government overseeing the industry and was well familiar with the process of the airliner’s creation, stressed that he was expressing only his personal opinion while a special government commission would provide official findings on the causes of the accident that resulted in the deaths of people.

As the president’s special envoy noted, other aircraft, for example, Boeing airliners, are also periodically confronted with problems.

"Nothing perfect exists. I can presume that the Superjet is still an immature plane but it is hardly possible to talk about any serious design defects in it," the envoy said, disagreeing with the correspondent’s presumption that the airliner might have flaws in its design.

The reports about emergency landings do not always suggest that a plane is unreliable, the special envoy stressed.

"For example, an emergency light switches on to indicate that your air conditioner operates poorly. If a pilot makes a decision by virtue of fight instructions to return and land the plane upon the activation of this sensor that does not affect flight safety, these are corporate procedures and I can’t dispute them. Each time, it is necessary to proceed from whether faults or some failures are serious," the envoy said.

Russia’s new plane frequently experiences enhanced attention compared to the planes of other producers, Ivanov said.

"I read already ten times how … planes had to return and make a landing at the airport of their departure. Media outlets almost never indicated the aircraft brand, although this was either a Boeing or an Airbus… However, when it came to a Superjet, there was hype all over the planet. This is a competitive struggle, simply a competitive struggle," the special presidential envoy said.

As for emergency situations, pilots’ training is of paramount importance and it should become more intensive precisely for these instances, the special Russian presidential envoy said.

"Serious situations happen when it is, indeed, necessary to make an emergency landing and precisely in this case pilots should have the skills to land the plane in the manual mode. Pilots should be trained correspondingly for this," Ivanov said.

"All modern planes, including Superjets, have all their systems controlled by a computer. And pilots grow accustomed to the situation that all operations are run by a computer," the special envoy said.

"To my mind, I am sure that pilots’ training in landings in the manual mode should be enhanced," Ivanov said.