Siberian Fair presents An-2 Replacement Offerings
The Siberian Aviation Fair held at Severny airport of Novosibirsk 30 May - 3 June attracted a handful of aircraft manufacturers, including Antonov, Ilyushin, Beriev and Sukhoi. Although the Fair had many participants from various sectors of aviation and airline industries, its main focus was on general aviation.
In the Soviet Union the most numerous aircraft in civilian service was the Antonov An-2 biplane. In fact, every Soviet civilian pilot began his career with flying an An-2 in one of Aeroflot regional departments. First flown in 1947, the An-2 has been manufactured in 18,000 copies in the USSR, Poland, Germany and China. It still remains in active service as a chemical sprayer, light freighter and passenger plane, trainer and airborne platform for parachutists, etc. Although considered outdated and uneconomical by modern standards, the An-2 is still competing well on the second-hand market with more recent designs. The keys to its longevity have been low acquisition price (less than $100,000 for a low-hour airframe), reliability, toughness, ease of repair and maintenance, vast technical support infrastructure. Despite numerous attempts of various design teams to produce an heir to the legendary biplane designed by Oleg Antonov in 1946, a suitable successor is still to be found. In that sense the Siberian Fair provided one more opportunity for the aviation industry to make An-2 replacement offers to Russian regional aircraft operators.
The Siberian Fair's major attraction was the first commercial An-3 airplane. The plane was brought on display by NPO Polyet, a large aviation and space corporation from Omsk famous for its Kosmos-series launch vehicles and military satellites. In frame of conversion from military to civilian products, the enterprise teamed up with Antonov design house on the An-3 and An-74 projects. The An-3 is produced from a low-hour An-2 airframe by replacing Shvetsov ASh-62IR radial piston of 1000 hp with the OMKB TVD-20 turboprop of 1375 hp. Other changes are a revised cockpit and a modern avionics set, as well as an insertion in the nose section to cater for a notable difference in weight between the ancient ASh-62 and modern TVD-20. The latter engine acquired certification earlier this year and is being mastered in production at Omsk-based NPO Baranov. NPO Polyet says it has 19 firm orders for this year and requests for 50 more for 2001. The first aircraft is finishing its flight trials before delivery to Evenkia air detachment. Next in the line are regional airlines from Norilsk and Tuva. NPO Polyet is considering setting An-3 production in the case the market demand proves substantial. Prices for An-2 conversion into An-3 fall in somewhere between $0.4 and 0.45 million.
At the Siberian Fair Ilyushin unveiled a new design, the Il-100 piston twin with non-pressurized, but well-heated cabin. Warm cabin is a requirement of regional airlines operating in the tough environment of Siberia and Russian Extreme North. Unlike the An-3, the Il-100 is an all-new design, which, according to Moscow-based developer, is a more appropriate replacement solution for the 50-year old An-2. The Il-100 has a high set wing employing modern high-lift airfoils and a T-like empennage. In terms of aerodynamics, the plane is a conventional, "no-frills" design. Ilyushin points out that the Il-100 cabin has the very same dimensions as the An-2's. Outwardly, the Il-110 resembles the Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander and CASA C-212. It can carry a 1.5 load over a distance of 500 km or a 1000 kg load over 1600 km. The main (passenger) version can cover 1000 km with 12 passengers aboard. Ilyushin is choosing between the NK-133, Allison 250-B17F and small PT-6A series engines. The NK-133 is offered by Samara-based Nikolai Kuznetsov Engines of Russia. It is a new 550-600 hp model now under development. Powered by two NK-133s, the Il-100 promises to offer lower direct operational costs than the An-2, burning 0.4 kg/km against 0.72. Estimated unit cost for the new plane ranges from $0.8 to 1.0 million. Maiden flight of the Il-100 is set for 2002.
Somewhat different vision of the An-2 replacement on domestic passenger and cargo lines is offered by NAPO, a large aircraft production factory based in Novosibirsk. NAPO is a member in the AVPK Sukhoi aviation military industrial complex. The factory produces the Sukhoi Su-34 fourth-generation tactical bomber (older designation Su-27UB) and the Su-32FN naval strike fighter. In addition, NAPO accepts orders for modernization of the Sukhoi Su-24 tactical bomber. The factory has been persistently trying to load its large manufacturing capacities with civilian products. The An-38 is one of those. It holds a Russian type certificate to AP-25, and is able to transport 27 passengers 900 km at a speed of 400 km/h.
NAPO has completed eight An-38s, including one airframe for static tests. Three planes went into service with Vostok airline based in Khabarovsk and two with Alrosa ("Diamonds of Russia") based in Mirny. One aircraft is flying with NAPO own airline (NAPO-Aviatrans) and the remaining one is a white-tail yet. Vostok, being the first customer for the An-38, received its first airframe in 1998. By now the plane amassed 1600 flight hours proving profitable on short domestic routes. NAPO is close to sealing a deal with Bashkirian Airlines on three An-38s for which the Russian government has already agreed to provide state guarantees.
NAPO is looking enthusiastically at the An-38-200, a new version with Russian-made TVD-20M engines in place of Garrett TPE-331-14GRs. NPO Baranov promises to deliver a batch of engines to NAPO later this summer so that to enable the An-38-200 prototype to fly in December this year. Complimentary certification of this purely Russian version is planned for September 2001. The An-38-200 has a sticker price of $2.6-3.0 million against $4.0-4.4 for the An-38-100. Novosibirsk factory claims that not only Russian but also foreign companies are expressing a strong interest in An-38-200. NAPO admits, however, that for full exploitation of the market potential it is necessary to complete additional certification trials on the type for its certification to modern international requirements to flying in bad weather conditions.
Beriev Be-32K and Be-103
The Be-32K twin turboprop is intended for short-haul low-intensity passenger lines now served by An-2s, while the light amphibian Be-103 is offered for the regions lacking airport network as an alternative to An-2 operating from short grass fields. The Be-32 was rolled out back in 1969. For spectacular flight performance demonstrated at Paris'70 it was nicknamed "Russian passenger fighter". In 1990 the experimental prototype was restored into a flight worthy condition, which necessitated replacement of TVD-10 engines with PWC PT6A-45s. With a maximum weight of 7300 kg the Be-32K can transport 16 passengers 850 km. Maximum cruise speed is 510 km/h. In the case of the market showing a substantial demand Beriev design bureau and Dmitriev plant, both based in Taganrog, Southern Russia, are ready to set up a Be-32 assembly line. The Be-103 is already produced at Komsomolsk-based KnAAPo factory, a member in AVPK Sukhoi. It is a twin piston 9-seat amphibian plane. Certification trials on the type are to begin this year, after the factory completes work on introduction of certain design changes into first-series airframes. These changes were advised by the Siberian scientific research institute of aviation (SibNIIA) on results its assessment of the Be-103 aerodynamic performance from the viewpoint of safety at high angles of attack.
Sukhoi S-80 and S-38L
At the Siberian Fair these two projects were presented by Sukhoi long-standing partner SibNIIA. The institute based in Novosibirsk has become widely known for its successful work on perfecting aerodynamic efficiency of Sukhoi fighters. The institute continues wind testing of S-80 and S-38L scale-down models, Stanislav Kashafutdinov, SibNIIA deputy general director said. Sukhoi is introducing last-minute design changes to the first operable S-80 twin turboprop that was assembled at KnAAPO and shipped to the Moscow-based design bureau for completion and flight tests. Sticker price for the S-80 with GE CT-7-9 engines is set at $6-7 million. With 30-35 passengers aboard it can develop a speed of 535 km/h and cover a distance of 2000 km. The high-tech S-80 is intended for cargo and passenger operations between small Siberian airports. The S-38L is a light agricultural plane intended to replace the An-2 in the chemical spaying role. Much attention was paid during S-38L design state to reducing negative effects of applying strong poison chemicals and a higher safety for the pilot. The S-38L is powered by a single M-337 engine of 210 hp operating on automobile petrol. Weighing 1200 kg, the Sukhoi sprayer carries a 600 litre chemical tank between the engine and the pilot's cockpit. Depending on version, the unit price for the S-38L, which is to begin flying later this year, ranges from $55 to 70 thousand.
Although the Il-103 five-seat light airplane is much smaller than the An-2, it is also aimed at An-2 replacement in the role of the basic trainer in civilian flight schools and flying clubs. The Il-103 is powered by a single 210 hp Teledyne Continental IO-360ES piston engine. The aircraft holds a FAA certification to FAR.23. Earlier this year Ilyushin acquired from FAA a complimentary certificate for carriage of four passengers at maximum takeoff weight of 1310 kg. Geliy Muravyev, who spoke on behalf of Ilyushin, told AWN that in an effort to get US type certification as earlier as possible, the Russian manufacturer had had to reduce Il-103 seating capacity on paper to just two people so that to bypass some issues needing additional confirming tests. These tests were conducted later and the plane received a respective complimentary certificate from FAA. Technically, however, the Il-103 can carry five people (a pilot and four passengers), which is reflected in the AP-23 type certificate issued by CIS aviation authorities two years ago. Unit price for the most simple version of the plane, that with a simple Russian avionics suit, is set at $130,000. Muraviev said that an agricultural version of the plane with a 200 liter tank has recently been submitted for certification. Il-103 production is undertaken by the RSK MiG's factory in Lukhovitsy near Moscow. The factory has delivered a dozen of such aircraft to Russian customers and reportedly secured an order for ten airframes in Latin America.
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