Voronezh airframers may be proud of being directly relevant to the process of Russia’s return to the list of world’s largest aviation countries – An-148 jets continue to scale new heights. The total flying time of 15 An-148s almost reached 70 thousand hours in late October. These aircraft performed over 36 thousands flights.
Rossiya – Russian Airlines, the first airline to put the Russian-produced advanced regional aircraft into service, maintains leadership in terms of the number of transported passengers: during the period from December 2009 to November 2013 about 2 million passengers were carried by An-148 jets. Each of six Rossiya’s An-148s performs about 5 flights per day and has a monthly average flying time of 300 hours.
In early October the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) unveiled a new protocol of a session of interdepartmental commission responsible for authorizing the carriers to perform international flights. According to the document Polet Airlines was authorized to perform international flights. It is planned to perform flights from Voronezh to Tashkent, Dushanbe and Khujand twice a week. A license was issued for performing 44 flights on each of the abovementioned destinations during a period from October 27th 2013 to March 29th 2014. An-148-100E aircraft will be operated on these routes (the carrier uses these jets for performing charter flights).
Passengers, who frequently fly with Rossiya – Russian Airlines or Polet Airlines, already know the jets manufactured by VASO well. While the Siberian passengers of Angara airlines are still admiring the aircraft. Recently one of the passengers of Angara airlines left the following emotional comment on the carrier’s website: «Good airline! And An-148 is a perfect aircraft! I am scared of flying; the landing is a very serious test for me. But these guys make the landing so “soft”! I think some international carriers may steal a page from their book! The only thing I would like you to add is online check-in. It is a very comfortable option!».
The Angara’s management team, in its own turn, is doing its best to promote the new aircraft. This year over 700 companies presented their projects in the area of tourism at JATA–2013 exhibition held in Tokyo. And the Russian company from Siberia was among them. Angara demonstrated the capabilities of new An-148-100E jet.
At JATA-2013 the airline’s representatives held negotiations with Japanese partners and representatives of airports on launching the charter flights from Japan to Russia. The capabilities of advanced Russian-produced An-148 aircraft kindled the potential partners’ interest. An-148’s range is 4400 km and according to representatives of Angara Airlines it is sufficient for performing non-stop flights from Japan to the cities of Far East and Siberian Federal District. Large tour operators of Japan have also taken interest in the jet's technical specifications: low noise footprint, increased seat-pitch and safety management system. The preliminary talks with Japanese tour operators were carried out in the network of Angara’s preparation for entry into global market. It is planned that An-148 liners will be operated on international routes to South-East Asia.
Angara resumed flights from Irkutsk to Yakutsk on October 22nd 2013. Non-stop regular flights on this route are performed weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays. An-148 aircraft are operated on this route; the duration of flight is 2 hours 50 minutes. The airline’s information for the passengers reminds that An-148 is suited for operation under conditions of low temperatures and it had successfully landed in Yakutia at a temperature of minus 49 Celsius and horizontal visibility of 350 meters many times.
This year Angara’s new An-148 liner took part in the aircraft parade of Irkutsk Region dedicated to the Day of air fleet of Russia.
According to some news agencies, the traditional exhibition of aircraft arranged at the apron of Irkutsk airport sparked interest of citizens of Irkutsk. Each visitor was able to enter the aircraft cabin, chat with a flight attendant and even take a pilot’s seat. The Angara’s new regional An-148-100E liner was the focus of the guests’ attention. Three aircraft of the type modified in accordance with the Angara’s requirements were delivered to the customer in December 2012. The liners have already proven themselves on flights to Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Mirny, Polyarny, Bratsk and Ust Kut. The passengers love the new aircraft thanks to its spacious and comfortable cabin and performance.
The An-148 flying hospital named after legendary fighter pilot of the Great Patriotic War, three times Hero of the Soviet Union, Alexander Pokrishkin, performed ferry flight from VASO’s airfield to the EMERCOM’s base in Ramenskoye on April 17th 2013. The jet was piloted by experienced pilot Valery Kruze.
On the same day EMERCOM announced that the jet has joined its fleet. The ministry specified detailed technical specifications of this jet in its statement.
It is symbolic that the first flight of the An-148 flying hospital operated by EMERCOM was aimed at saving the life of a young citizen of Russia.
The disaster has happened outdoors, where the boy was on holiday with his family. He was near the fire and suddenly his clothes inflamed due to his careless actions. As a result he has suffered second and third degree burns over 60% of his body. He was delivered to the Kaliningrad Central District Hospital in critical condition. The medics were doing their best to save his life and then the decision to transport the boy to Moscow was taken.
The patient was delivered to Moscow on June 27th. «There were no problems encountered during the flight. It was the first medevac mission performed by EMERCOM’s An-148. The only inconvenience was connected with the necessity of moving to the north in order to bypass the thunder head and provide required in-flight conditions for the patient», – said the captain of the EMERCOM’s aircraft, Viktor Chernobrovkin.
EMERCOM released a statement with a title “An-transformer completed the mission” on July 9th. The statement told about the prompt actions of medics, which helped save the life of 26-year-old citizen of Ulyanovsk, who was injured during car accident.
The patient sustained severe head injury and numerous fractures and was receiving treatment at the intensive care unit at the Cheboksary emergency care hospital. The medics transported him to the airfield, where the flying hospital landed and the medics of Centrospas and All-Russian center for Disaster Medicine “Zashita” met with the patient. His mother and sister were accompanied by a psychologist from the emergency psychological services center of EMERCOM. The aircraft landed in Moscow in an hour.
A total of over 10 successful medevac missions have been completed in Russia and other countries.
A patient injured during car accident in Egypt was delivered from Tel Aviv to St. Petersburg by EMERCOM’s An-148 on July 4th 2013. In such situations all the problems related to border crossing are solved quickly. Here are some details about one of the rescue operations.
A citizen of Cherepovets asked the governor of Vologda Region for help – she needed to transport her husband from the capital of Austria. He was on vacation in Vienna and suffered an extensive myocardial infarction and clinical death. Such patient should be transported onboard the special-purpose aircraft in prone position and must be accompanied by medics. A request for assistance was sent to EMERCOM. The mission was approved by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia in order to refine the diagnosis and confirm the possibility of transporting the patient. An-148 flying hospital landed in Vienna on July 17th 2013. The same evening he was delivered to a hospital in Cherepovets. The EMERCOM’s An-148 had to make an intermediate stop in Moscow first, because there is no customs control at Cherepovets airport.
The flying hospital performed similar flights to Greece and Spain in early August 2013. The last medevac flight from Cambodia to Novosibirsk was performed by EMRCOM’s An-148 in late September.
The second flying hospital named after Ivan Kozhedub was put into service by EMERCOM in November.
The official ceremony dedicated to acceptance of the second An-148 was held on October 31st 2013 at VASO. The new An-148-100E was handed over to EMERCOM on November 1st and performed ferry flight from VASO’s airfield to the Ministry’s air base in Zhukovsky.
The jet received tail number RA-61717. The vehicle was manufactured under contract between United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and EMERCOM. The second flying hospital features a passenger/medevac configuration: it is fitted with six medical modules. In accordance with the customer’s performance specifications the jet’s cabin has 5 configurations: 2 passenger layouts seating from 35 to 51 passengers and three passenger/medical ones accommodating from 2 to 6 medical modules.
An -148 is a short-haul passenger aircraft seating from 68 to 85 passengers. Depending on its modification the range of An-148-100 aircraft varies from 2000 to 5000 km. It may be operated from unpaved runways. The jet’s cruise speed is 800-870 km/h. The range of An-148-100E with a full payload is 4400 km.
VASO is a large industrial and innovation center of Central Chernozem Economic Region of Russia. The enterprise was established in 1932. It is a part of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The enterprise is manufacturing wide-body Il-96-300 and Il-96-400 liners, short-haul An-148 aircraft. The enterprise is also manufacturing components for Sukhoi SuperJet 100 aircraft, Airbus aircraft, An-148 jets assembled in Ukraine and Il-76MD-90A liners.