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The third specimen of the MS-21 is ready for flight tests. But experts are sounding the alarm: the latest Russian long-range aircraft may not be allowed in Europe. Why? The correspondent of "Russian Newspaper" is discussing it with the General Director of the Russian-European consulting "REC aerospace company ", the chief designer of the be-200 amphibious aircraft, Alexander Yavkin.

Alexander, Russia has high hopes with MS-21, and it is almost ready. And why it might be difficult to export it?

Alexander Yavkin: It all depends on the aircraft certification system. Namely, the harmonization of Russian and foreign certification systems. The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) issued certificates for the aircraft that were created earlier and already supplied. Three years ago its powers were transferred to the Ministry of transport and the Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA). But the regulatory framework for certification: Federal aviation regulations, airworthiness standards, a number of technical documents were not updated.

Incredibly, the fact is that Russia still had not have a bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA) with the European Union. United States Agreement has been valid since1998, which does not allow The Federal aviation administration (FAA) to accept Russian certificates for passenger aircraft.

What about the strategy for civil aviation products exports until 2025?

Alexander Yavkin: Yes, one of its main goals is to export 215 SSJ100 and MS-21 Airliners for a total of $7 billion 650 million in 2018-2025. However, the experience of promoting the Superjet for export has convincingly shown that this is not yet possible. In terms of the number of aircraft delivered to foreign customers, we are seriously losing to the same Embraer-a Brazilian competitor in the creation of regional aircraft.

Why?

Alexander Yavkin: the main reason is the lack of confidence of Western airlines in the characteristics of Russian regional aircraft prior to certificates of FAA or EASA. And the second reason is systematic postponements of delivery caused by delays in obtaining certificates.

Photo: RIA Novosti, according to plans, the certification of the MS-21 aircraft currently undergoing testing, should take place in 2020. 

Alexander, Russia has high hopes with MS-21, and it is almost ready. And why it might be difficult to export it?

Alexander Yavkin: It all depends on the aircraft certification system. Namely, the harmonization of Russian and foreign certification systems. The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) issued certificates for the aircraft that were created earlier and already supplied. Three years ago its powers were transferred to the Ministry of transport and the Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA). But the regulatory framework for certification: Federal aviation regulations, airworthiness standards, a number of technical documents were not updated.

Incredibly, the fact is that Russia still had not have a bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA) with the European Union. United States Agreement has been valid since1998, which does not allow The Federal aviation administration (FAA) to accept Russian certificates for passenger aircraft.

What about the strategy for civil aviation products exports until 2025?

Alexander Yavkin: Yes, one of its main goals is to export 215 SSJ100 and MS-21 Airliners for a total of $7 billion 650 million in 2018-2025. However, the experience of promoting the Superjet for export has convincingly shown that this is not yet possible. In terms of the number of aircraft delivered to foreign customers, we are seriously losing to the same Embraer-a Brazilian competitor in the creation of regional aircraft.

Why?

Alexander Yavkin: the main reason is the lack of confidence of Western airlines in the characteristics of Russian regional aircraft prior to certificates of FAA or EASA. And the second reason is systematic postponements of delivery caused by delays in obtaining certificates.

Photo: RIA Novosti, according to plans, the certification of the MS-21 aircraft currently undergoing testing, should take place in 2020. 

 

As far as I know, all these problems were discussed at the recent Aviation Board. Were you there?

Alexander Yavkin: the conversation was very specific and, I would say, even tough. It was stressed that a full-fledged system of civil aircraft certification has not yet been created. A number of normative acts on the procedure of certification, harmonized in content and structure with similar documents of our foreign partners, have not been issued.

The problem is the certification system of aircraft equipment. Namely, the harmonization of Russian and foreign certification systems. By the way, are there many discrepancies?

Alexander Yavkin: there are enough inconsistencies. I will not go into technical details. I'll just say: there is a great deal of job to be done. And it lasted unacceptably long. Unfortunately, there is still a steady division of the processes of creation of aviation equipment, its operation and certification.

But it should be understood that the shortcomings of the certification system give rise to the shortcomings of the aircraft itself, which are then revealed in the process of its validation abroad. This, of course, leads to a decrease in customer confidence.

Is there a possibility to change the situation?

Alexander Yavkin: I still believe. In January 2018, FATA signed a working agreement with the European aviation safety Agency. Detailed procedures for its implementation are being prepared: regulation of mutual recognition of approval documents issued for aircraft, its developers and manufacturers. The signing schedule is the first quarter of 2019.

But after all, some aircraft have received FAA and EASA certificates?

Alexander Yavkin: Yes, they have. They are Il-96T, Tu-204CE-120, Be-200ES-E. However, not everyone knows how diametrically opposite were the consequences of obtaining an FAA certificate for the same Il-96T. The way to issue the certificate opened the signing of a bilateral interstate agreement with the United States. There were no changes in requirements on the American side, but the Russian ones still have limitations.  

You, as the chief designer of the Be-200, also had to fight for the certification of the amphibious aircraft? Although the aircraft is amazing: the speed of 700 km per hour, water scooping while gliding.

Alexander Yavkin: I was the chief designer of the Be-200 and its modifications since 1992 to 2016. I participated in the relations between the Russian and European aviation authorities, combining the position in Russia with the position of Head of the design organization BISP (Beriev Irkut Seaplane) in Toulouse. There was a certification office consisting of nine European company specialists.

We received the first IAC type certificate for the Be-200 in August 2001, and the EASA certificate for the Be-200ES-E in September 2010. Within these years I realized the Russia's lag in improving certification leads to significant financial, temporary and image losses for the Russian aircraft designers. We are forced to refine and retest it for several years between the receipt of the Russian type certificate and its subsequent validation in Europe. For Be-200ES-E, this process took five years, and the post-certification works stipulated by the terms of the EASA certificate issuance could not be completed even eight years later.

What are the future for the amphibians?

Alexander Yavkin: according to the most conservative estimates of Western marketers, the need for the US market alone is more than 50 Be-200ES-E to extinguish forest fires and up to 30 special purpose aircraft. In addition, about 40-50 aircraft - market potential in countries where FAA certification is required.

In September 2018, Seaplane Global Air Services and BERIEV aircraft company signed a contract for the purchase of four Russian amphibians plus an option for six more. But the development of the history of the Be-200 is still noticeably suspended. Exhibitions, negotiations. Where are the real sales?

Of course, the transfer production from Irkutsk to Taganrog played a role. As far as I know, without any assessment of the impact on sales. The type design of the amphibious aircraft manufactured since 2017 in Taganrog does not correspond to the European certificate issued for the Be-200ES-E. However, competitors are moving to the market: following reports of flights from the water of the Chinese AG600, information about plans to launch the project of the Canadian amphibious aircraft CL515appeared.

For comparison, A320 usually take a year from the first flight to obtain a type certificate. The MS-21 period is not defined.

Does competition in the market of suppliers of civil aircraft escalates?

Alexander Yavkin: Yes, it does. Three years ago, the USA, European, Canadian and Brazilian aviation authorities signed a Charter to form a team to manage civil aviation certification processes (Certification Management Team - CMT) to implement a common policy in the technical and political spheres on the basis of interstate agreements on aviation safety. Our Eastern partner in the Russian-Chinese wide-body long-haul passenger aircraft CR 929 jointly designed by UAC and COMAC is doing everything to join the Quartet of the "elite club". In October 2017, the press reported the signing of a bilateral agreement between China and the United States on safety. There is no doubt that a corresponding agreement between China and the European Union will be signed.

We’ve got no time left. If we want to promote to the world markets the new products-MS-21, PD-14 engine, avionics, systems and units, if we want to continue work on the already certified in EASA aircraft SSJ and Be-200ES-E, it is urgent to "speed up". Without bringing the certification system in line with international standards and requirements, and especially American and European, it would be difficult to get in the "elite club" of developers and manufacturers of the most advanced civil aircraft.

What is Russia losing? There are strict world rules that can not be ignored. What does the country lose due to the low level of harmonization of the Russian certification system?

Alexander Yavkin: Russia is losing hope to take a proper place in the aviation world market. So far, we are not only slowing down in overcoming certification barriers, but also holding back the timing of the creation of the newest Russian aircraft. Examples? Here you are. February 28, 2018 the first representative of the new family of aircraft "Embraer" E190-E2 in one day received three certificates - from Brazilian, American and European aviation authorities. For the first time in aviation history! And it happened less than five years after the launch of the program. For comparison, it took 3 years for the A320 to get ready, since the beginning of the project to the first flight, and it took 15 years for MS-21 project. The time from the first flight to obtain a type certificate from the A320 is one year. The MS-21 period is uncertain, but will clearly be longer. By the way, it took more than a year for international certification even for the SSJ100 equipped with foreign engines and mainly foreign equipment. While the direct competitor Embraer-190 became the holder of the FAA type certificate just three days after receiving the type certificate in Brazil.

What do you suggest to do?

Alexander Yavkin: There is a constant process of harmonization of aviation rules in the world. I think that in the development of Russian rules, it is advisable, for many reasons, to take the EU aviation rules as a basis. Moreover, the Russian AR-21 introduced in 2013 were developed taking into account the European ones: the numbering of points, the name of sections, the content, etc. The creation of a legal and regulatory framework that allows Europe to accept without further proof the results of Russian design and production activities will accelerate the further development of industrial cooperation, joint projects and increase the level of safety of our joint products.

REC Aerospace Company Russian-European Consulting

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