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Russia’s Stealth Fighter Aborts Air Show Takeoff

Well, one of Russia’s two Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA stealth fighters had to abort a takeoff at the 2011 MAKS airshow outside Moscow today. Apparently,  a problem with the right engine forced the pilot to cancel the takeoff following four days of successful demo flights by both PAK FA test jets at the show. I’m curious to know which of the jets suffered the engine malfunction. The second PAK FA, used to test the plane’s mission systems, was grounded for months until just last week for unknown reasons.

It’ll be interesting to see if Sukhoi can really get the jet into mass production by 2016.

Enjoy this video of, among other things, the PAK FA’s (non-aborted) takeoff roll.

Via AFP.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Zap August 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm

a different video


Ben August 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Boom. Nothing like a dose of reality to quiet the F-35/F-22 haters down. These difficulties aren't just limited to the USAF. It's part of the teething process everywhere.


STemplar August 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I wouldn't draw that conclusion. I mean after all if this is the design the Russians picked, and the J20 is maybe based off the one they didn't, what problems did the Mig 1.4 have? After all the Russians are the ones that 'know how' to design planes. It sure doesn't make the case for the F22/F35 if its nearest competitors are coughing and sputtering at air shows.


Ben August 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Mmm, I wouldn't agree with you on the Russians making better aircraft than us. They make well designed airframes, but the Russian Air Force has always been a step or two behind us as far as combat readiness and reliability. Otherwise I'm not sure what you're getting at with the Mig.

I think my point still stands: Everyone tends to have issues with new tech. It's to be expected in the early years of production.


STemplar August 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I didn't say they are better and I am being sarcastic. My point is that if the Russian design (T50) is the one that beat out what the Chinese design (J20) may be based on, then perhaps building up both of these aircraft up as tacair boogeymen to justify the F35 or a reason to build more F22s is probably very overrated.


Ben August 22, 2011 at 1:09 am

Ah. Misread that last bit ;)

It comes down to how well we can predict future threats then. Personally, I'd take the F-35s or more F-22s if we can afford it. It's better to be sure that we'll have the upper hand 10-15 years from now rather than get caught with our pants down due to an underestimation.

I get your point, though. And it is a legit concern.

Enrico August 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm

You can easily aspect issues like the aborted take-off of T-50-2, it's a prototype for a reason, I wouldn't say the same with an aircraft under mass production…


Chops August 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

My sentiments exactly-with engine- -software— and airframes- to name just a few things there is no end to the problems that crop up no matter what nations' plane it is.I hope we can figure out our F22&F35 problems sooner rather than later.


Black Owl August 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Maybe one of these days the world powers will actually be able to make a 5th generation fighter that actually works without slowly killing the pilot or suffering electrical failures.


Ben August 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I'm sure you wouldn't mind lending your infinite wisdom to the cause then. Because I'm sure the solution is as simple.


Black Owl August 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Of course I would. I just wouldn't be of any help. ;)


Buzz August 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Most leaps in jet technology have involved loss of life and airplanes. In that business most accidents are fatal.


Jayson August 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

They’ve done a much better - cleaner riveting job on these planes than the past models that had rivets all over the place.


mat August 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

Rivets are the same here as on most planes ,flush at least since WWII,its just the amount of paint covering it that makes a difference that is the same on the F22 and F35 ,and on any other plane .You can finish a 60's mig just the same its just that covering everything with putty and ram paint makes it more of a maintenance hog .Fact that LM and Boeing are better at PR ,when have you seen F22 or F35 without paint and mat finish looks great but also hides stuff.But russian are learnin you now see some planes and helicopters on max in mat finishes istead of usual gloss.


bets accepted August 22, 2011 at 2:49 am

I'm curious: Which of these two 100 million $ expensive, 5th generation fighters will take off sooner again: The grounded, Russian PAK FA or the grounded, U.S. American F-22 ?


Ed! August 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

I am waiting for the spinmasters in Russia to say that it didn't abort the takeoff, rather it was "showing" how good its aircraft were at doing emergency procedures to save the life of the pilot and the airframe. Or that they had to test the brakes out in realistic sense.


Jonathan August 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

Great vide shwing close ups of the t50. Anyone see the rivets on the airplane and it almost seems like there is no stealth coating. Not nearly as smooth as our f22 or f35's skin. Plus I still see no weapons bay. The outside of that airplane is probably less smooth then our current legacy fighters. Unfortunately for the russian they lack the quality control that we have. Go look at any mig ever produced rivets stick out unevenly and they almost seem like they are held together with duct tape.


Stratege August 23, 2011 at 4:36 am

1. Do you think that unpainted / not finished F-22/F-35 have no rivets? You are wrong.

2. PAK-FA does have 4 internal weapons bays. The two central bays are so long that they would be able to fit "very long range" air-air missiles


Phil White August 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

The F22 is not grounded and neither is the F35. The F35 went back into active flying last week.


BILL D August 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm

The F35 test jets are flying but the pilot training jets are still grounded-F22s are still grounded as of 08/16/2011


Buzz August 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

The Russians are notorius for building garbage engines for their jets. A Russian made jet engine breaks down/wears out something like 20 times faster than a US made engine. They malfunction so often that the russians field 2 spare engines per engine bed. These things would get 4 spare engines per aircraft during fielding. The design great stuff and build garbage.


mat August 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm

its not true russian maintenance has different clasification of engine overhauls,check out people flying warbirds and aerobatic planes they all agree that in russian engines TBO ,overhaul doesnt mean same level of in depth prst replacment as in western engines,when operated on western standards these TBO are considerably longer ,plus russian front line fighters and engines operate in conditions only A10 could posibly operate in for extended preiods,have you seen their plane all have mudgards and FOD screns on intakes ,a western planes require runway stone picking by hand before sorties ,and on reliability remember second engine saved F16 progam,


Stratege August 23, 2011 at 4:39 am

Russian engines are not garbage. They just have less service life but with great thrust, good reliability and 3D TVC capabilities. Also with a cheaper price.


raad September 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Insecure dickhead USA type for sure - the US was never game to take the F35 or Raptor to an airshow only 18months after there first test flight.
From day one the T50 has flown well. A lot better than any of the first test flights of the F35 we were allowed to see.
It took years before LM was game to show the F35 or Raptor actually in flight.


Lance August 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Bad day for the Russian Air Force but the SU/T-50 is still far better than the crappy Chicom J-20. The MiG-29 did this in its debut in the west in the 1989 Paris airshow. But the Fulcrum lives on.


Cathy Jones-Jedrzejczak August 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm



seesthrubs August 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Schadenfreude anyone?….big deal…4 or 5 days of successful flights and its the first glitch at the show. Its a prototype after all.

All those taking delight in this, just goes to show how immature and jealous they are. This will wipe the smile off your faces - I bet #52 will be back in the air before the Raptor.


blight August 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Children, children, this is aircraft development, not the playground.


Chops August 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Agree 100%-as I previously said,there are an abundance of things that can go wrong with any plane-more-so with brand new test aircraft, no matter whose it is.


STemplar August 23, 2011 at 3:44 am

Not when you roll it out to an airshow where you are courting potential international customers. This wasn't some test flight at a dev center. This was at an air show. This should be their 'A' game. That little flame out probably cost them billions in lost customers.


Matt August 23, 2011 at 10:58 am

Keep dreaming, kid. The plane isnt even fitted with the engines intended for the production model, which are still under development. Not to mention the design of the plane hasn't even been 100% finalized.
You think a compressor stall in a temporary engine on a prototype plane of which 2 exist, is going to destroy the customer base for an affordable frontline air superiority Low Observable aircraft for airforces already relying on Sukhoi's and Mig's? Here i'll lend you my parachute so you can come down from cloud 9.


Chops August 23, 2011 at 11:52 am

That was just showing off for their hard liner Premier- Putin I think-you didn't see an F35 at the Farnborough air show even though some had quite a bit of test flight time-they weren.t ready to demonstrate to the public yet and that should have been the case with the Russian plane also-in my opinion.


john August 23, 2011 at 6:31 am

Suddenly everyone here is an aviation expert. This plane is only in its trial stages.


STemplar August 22, 2011 at 2:26 am

I think we should always have the best we can, but affording it is the issue. Maybe this is a good thing for that, people can take a breath an relax. We have breathing room and the T50 and J20 don't herald the end of times.


justsaying August 22, 2011 at 4:20 am

The U.S. has not had a legitimate direct military threat for 100 years. What are you expecting?


orly? August 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

You clearly need to get your GED.


blight August 22, 2011 at 11:34 am

So we weren't threatened since…1911? By what, anarchists with handlebar moustaches?

The threats to the nation have been more recent. Before 100 years ago, the only threats were from Britain (provoked in '75 and provoked again during the Napoleonic era by an overconfident United States). The Indians were armed by Britain, and served as their proxies until they were thrown under the wagon. The French lost power in the Americas as a consequence of the Seven Years War which led to the whole taxation business. So, America hasn't been threatened in its distant past, but only very recently.


Buzz August 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Just remember all you have around you is based in part or completely from military funded research for the next weapon or piece of equipment. That flat screen TV was originally developed in the late 70's for the Airforce to use in fighter cockpits to save wieght and space.


Ben August 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm



justsaying August 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I see insults but no examples. How convincing.


blight August 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

What was the legitimate direct military threat in 1911?


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