Russia’s fifth generation PAK-FA prototype catches fire on landing

Jun 10 2014 - 38 Comments
By Jacek Siminski

Russian T-50 fighter plane damaged on the ground.

On Jun. 10, Russia’s 5th generation stealth fighter plane Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA – Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii—Future Tactical Air System) which since February has been a subject of state test programme in Zhukovski, caught fire on landing.

The landing was succesful and Sergey Bogdan, the Russian test pilot who flew the T-50 during the test flight, was unharmed. Sukhoi officials claim that the fire was local, and was quickly extinguished. The fighter is to be repaired.

Two remaining examples of T-50 are undergoing ground tests and static tests. According to the official stance of the Sukhoi company, the incident will not have an impact on the test program, and the proceedings are to be continued in accordance with the planned schedule.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image credit: United Aircraft


Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Александр Ермаков

    +1 pic

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    American fanboys comments about Russian planes in 3, 2, 1…

    • Matthew Morgan

      I can only imagine the media outrage if the exact same thing happened to the F-35.

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        Well, should we recall all the problems that the jsf had or still has yet? How many years is the JSF behind schedule?
        They were even grounded twice if I am right..

        • Anton

          don’t answer this guy, he is a Russians student or something paid by their FSB to troll, there was an article in the times about this. They scour Western sites and news media trying to make it seem like there is a lot of pro Russian support in the west… Not. as for you Ser.. by the way that should be Sir, пошел вон мудак!!!

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            Dude if you do not have a clue of what you are talking about, simply shut up….I’m not Russian, I’m from Italy, and if you think I’m defending Russian pride or I am paid by them to troll western sites you are wrong as well. I really despise the arrogance of Americans who think they are better at everything they do than the rest of the world, a thing that appears in the majority of the comments that are posted here…
            Btw Ser Arthur is a character from a novel series, it’s called “Ser” there…you failed even this one

        • Pooter Bilbo

          The JSF is behind schedule primarily because of administrative problems and budget cuts.. not catching fire during critical phases of flight.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            Pffff so the full vision helmet is an administrative problem? Even The pitiful acceleration perfomances are result of budget cuts?

      • Ed

        True – the cracked bulkhead thing already gave quite a stir.

        For this it’s kind of difficult to gauge how much damage control is being applied… To their credit they seem to make no effort to hide the pics, though at the same time, there seems to be quite some damage on there. Also, with so few prototypes, it’s kind of hard to imagine how this wouldn’t affect the schedule.

        I read somewhere this happened during a demonstration flight for some Indian guests… What bad timing! Anyway, good thing the pilot wasn’t harmed.

    • Pooter Bilbo

      Oh you mean like what the Russian fanboys do every time there is even the slightest development problem with the F-22/F-35?

      • Shade

        Pointing out problems with an aircraft in development doesn’t automatically make someone a fanboy of what would be perceived as the opposing nation. But to be fair, ultra-patriotic morons exist at both ends of the spectrum.

        But since you brought it up, while the F-22 could ostensibly be a good interceptor, it’s stealth isn’t really deserving of the name and the cost doesn’t make it worth it. As for the F-35… well… it’s generally acknowledged as a joke. I really don’t know anything about the prototypes the Russians or Chinese are producing, but I’m sure they have problems as well.

        The only reason us Canadians bothered to know anything about the F-35 is because we’re being pushed to buy it. Only a few politicians are on board. The military doesn’t want it, and we’d rather develop our own aircraft rather than buy that lemon. It doesn’t do anything particularly well, and it’s way too expensive.

        • Mike Webber

          F-35 a joke? You mean the plane that every air force seems to be lining up on.

          I used to be a heavy F-35 critic, until I realized, not one of the critics are really credible (Karlo Copp, Pierre Spray, Peter Goon, BS or Bill Sweetman who I infact used to work with on aviation week),
          meanwhile all the supporters are pilots, aerodynamic engineers, Maintainers and people who know what they are talking about.

          Asked about Kinematics

          The F-35 is not the most agile bird, but is not a slug as well.
          It is slightly inferior to an F-16 that is flying clean (no weapons) but superior to an armed one.

          Angle of Attack:
          Better than an F/A-18C which the king of high AOA in America’s 4th gen arsenal, No Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen or Fulcrum can even come close to the 50 degree AOA limit that the F-35 was designed for.

          Acceleration: Again, slightly below a clean F-16, but way more than an armed one, specially in the subsonic region where most dogfights occur.

          Bottom line:
          In an armed configuration, it can hold its own against almost every fighter out there.

          Cost is a problem and no one is denying that, not even LM, but progress is being made, a lot of has come down is continuing to go down.

          not much there, the best they can do now is stay on schedule, thats one thing that even I won’t deffend the F-35 on, it is LATE period

          • Marco

            And it lacks a basic aviation system such as self sealing tanks and still pretends to supersede an A-10…

      • Ser Arthur Dayne

        Slightiest?? How much money JSF partners have already spent on that bird ( it doesn’t even meet original performance requirement) ?
        Btw i’ve been reading this blog since long ago, I noticed the swarm of fanboys ready to criticize Russian equipment whenever a new post appears..simply pathetic

        • Pooter Bilbo

          ..See what I mean? The very mention of the F-35 sets you off. No one ever said the F-22/35 programs are perfect either. I’m simply pointing out that the mockery goes both ways–a point that you so quickly reinforced by attacking the JSF as soon as I mentioned it.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            You called for the F-35 in first stance…I replied as a consequence.

      • phuzz

        It’s not just Russians who pick holes in the F35 program, practically every nation that’s buying them has a sizeable contingent of people who think the money could have been better spent elsewhere.
        For example, the UK is going to mothball one of it’s brand new carriers as soon as it’s built in order to save enough money to buy some F-35Bs.

    • Callsign Vega

      lol if this happened to a F35 you would be doing back-flips jumping for joy.

  • Uranium238


  • mzungu

    I see a bunch of shredded/fire damaged composite hanging from the bottom….Think I rather buy Chinese. :D

  • Mike

    Chinese gawd j-20
    Copy of mig 1.44 article and mig-31 as starting point with raptor nose shitty engines and composites and size of greyhound bus with canards to add extra RCS to its body and j-31 another copy of f-35 a flawful aircraft except j-31 is worst cos it’s engine inlets have no stealth and shitty engine tech also bout aircraft composites is a joke and 4gen avionics and some small copy of f-35 avionics from very first model

  • Michael

    Cause of the accident was the failure of the power plant automation engine, occurred as a result of its surging.
    According to experts, did not load sensor that monitors the parameters of the power plant.
    As emphasized in the company, a new incident will not affect the timing of the tests, and the victim T-50 will be restored – she received only minor damage. According to ITAR-TASS source in law enforcement, the fighter has not yet passed the Defense Ministry. “The craft belongs to the company” Sukhoi “, – said the agency interlocutor.

    • Callsign Vega

      1/4 of the entire aircraft is burned up. If that’s “minor damage”, I’d like to see what heavy damage looks like..

      • dinosaurJR

        Going by the look of things, nothing short of a smoking hole in the ground…

        • Peg

          Dino Jr. Best band EVER!

  • sferrin

    I’m sure it’ll buff right out.

  • InvaderNat

    Saddened to hear this, I love the Sukhoi T-50 and I hope they get it sorted out soon. I suppose all fighter prototypes have these sorts of accidents, the F-22 & F-35 have had plenty too; some were even fatal. Luckily the pilot wasn’t harmed in this case.

    To Sukhoi’s credit they are being forward about it, instead of hiding it like the Chinese would. Shows how far the Russians have come in terms of transparency.

  • I wonder what caused the fire.

  • JEFFofTX

    “According to the official stance of the Sukhoi company, the incident will not have an impact on the test program.” Really!?! So this is normal and was an expected result of testing?

  • JHK

    #5thgenfighterproblems #firstworldproblems

    • Peg

      Russia ain’t a 1st world country. It’s a backward dictatorship with a massive inferiority complex vis a vis the west and crime and corruption on the same level as Botswana, or Equatorial Guinea. T-50 is also hardly in the same league as the 35 or 22, with basic flaws in VLO design. It’s a national prestige project, not even intended to match any particular aircraft.

      • Richard

        Well since Russia has a higher HDI score than Mexico, Turkey, and Brazil, has the 6th largest GDP (PPP) in the world and is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, I would argue that it is indeed a first-world country. The T-50 is also a prototype, on the level of the YF-22 or X-35, so your comparison is moot. The aircraft is being built to replace the inventory of Su-27’s that were built in the early and mid 1980’s. Please leave your inaccurate bigotry in your own mind. And for the record, use ‘isn’t’ instead of ‘ain’t’. It will help make you appear more intelligent.

  • DDP

    “Basicly what happend

    ~In fact, it went down slightly different. Today T-50 initially rose to demonstrate the possibilities for our Indian guests. Around 12 pm on board lost contact. Was only partial remaining. On the 3rd turn there was an alarm, shavings in the right engines, the pilot was forced to shut down the right engine. Since there was no communication, he passed over the runway waving wings, letting understand the RP (EDIT: ATC) problems on board. Successfully able to land the plane on one engine. Turned to the nearest taxiway, the pilot immediately turned off the left engine. Then all the fun started! RP gave the command to leave the plane immediately. Pilot turned around and saw that intense belching black smoke poured out of the right engine. Without waiting for any ladders pilot jumped out of the cockpit. Seeing a burning puddle of fuel underneath the plane he ran a good 100 meters.~”

    the implication is clear. a single engine airplane would not have been able to land safely….or would have had alot more difficulty.

    • Matthew Morgan

      Truly one with the spin doctor.

      Plane bursts into flames? Don’t worry use it as an excuse to extol the virtues of twin engine fighters.

  • JHK

    So both Eastern and Western 5th generation planes have issues. Whether they be prohibitive costs or mechanical faults… #firstworldproblems #5thgenproblems

  • Bob

    Russians have a totally different mindset to stuff…in the space race…NASA spent millions for R+D on a pen that would write in zero gravity…Russian gave their astronauts pencils…..different mind sets

  • Red Mercury

    F-22 still looks better. These guys came late to the party.

  • Richard

    Read about how the Soviets developed the safest and most proven ejection seat in the world, the K-36. Soviet submarines were much less safe then their western counterparts due to the fact that they were designed to be more numerous then NATO subs. You could also look into the Red Army’s deployment of thousands of T-34 tanks, tens of thousands of accurate artillery pieces, trucks, and the MILLIONS of semi-automatic rifles, anti-tank rifles and man-portable machine guns.