A Russian made Sukhoi superjet made an abortive belly landing on Sunday at the Keflavik airport in Iceland.
The Sukhoi Civil aircraft stated the superjet “touched the runway with retracted landing gear,” which in the aviation world means the aircraft all but crash landed.
This is certainly not the first time the Sukhoi superjet program had run into difficulties.
In a tragic promotional flight last year in Indonesia, 45 people died when their plane crashed. In that flight, the plane collided with the side of a volcano; the incident was blamed ultimately on pilot error.
The test flight in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik on Sunday was to test the jet’s automatic landing system when flying in strong crosswinds, Iceland’s weather conditions making it perfect for such strenuous testing.
Officials have not confirmed why the landing gear failed to deploy and will be investigating the matter further.
The Russian manufacturers of the Sukhoi superjet are testing the aircraft under various extreme conditions. They said the jet has already been tested for over 250 different types of landings under acute weather conditions.
The company said in an official statement:
“Test flights to evaluate the performance of the automatic landing system with strong crosswind conditions are the most complicated part of the trials. Their purpose is to prevent possible in-flight emergency situations. The test flights conditions are in close proximity with extreme flight regimes in order to identify limits of safe operations of the aircraft.”