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Lancair Completes First U.S. Experimental Flight Into Russia


Sukhoi T-50
The Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA stealth fighter debuts at MAKS 2011 near Moscow, Russia. Photos courtesy Misha Japaridze/AP

August 18, 2011 – A Lancair Evolution flown by Lancair CEO Bob Wolstenholme, and HPAT test and ferry pilot Pete Zaccagnino landed at Zhukovsky airport in Moscow earlier this week and according to Cetus Aero flight center owner Alexander Ratkin, it is the first flight into Russia by a U.S.-registered experimental aircraft. The aircraft was in Moscow for the MAKS 2011, which is considered an “Oshkosh”-type crossroads event featuring GA, commercial aviation (including the Boeing 787), many international aerobatic teams, and the best Russian military display teams.

The Evolution was hosted by Cetus Aero, which is the largest build center for owner-built civilian experimental aircraft in Russia. The 4,700-mile flight departed Quakertown Airport in Pennsylvania August 12 and made en route stops in Montreal and Goose Bay, Canada;  Narsarsuak, Greenland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Sorvag, Faroe Islands; Bergen, Norway; and Helsinki, Finland.

Russian Stealth Fighter makes public debut
The Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA stealth fighter, which first flew in January 2010, made its public debut this week at the MAKS 2011 air show near Moscow, Russia. The joint aircraft development program between Russia and India hopes to produce 1,000 aircraft, but the first copies won’t start coming off the production line until 2014, according to Russia’s state news agency. It is reported that India will likely purchase at least 200 of the aircraft.

It’s the first fifth-generation fighter to be produced by Russia and according to analysts is supposed to have stealthy attributes but may lack all the comparable stealth features found on the F-22. The T-50 is also being billed as more maneuverable and costs considerably less than the $140-million price tag for each F-22.


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