Su-30 kindles longing in test pilots' hearts | india | Hindustan Times
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Su-30 kindles longing in test pilots' hearts

india Updated: Feb 09, 2007 18:59 IST
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The roar of the Su-30 MKI has kindled longing in the hearts of some of the best test pilots around the world.

The pilots may be involved in evaluating the performance and handling of some of the finest fighters prior to release for operational use, but given a chance they would simply love to slip inside the cockpit of the Su-30.

Ricardo Traven, Boeing's chief test pilot for the F/A 18 Super Hornet programme, said he would love to go for a spin in the Su-30 and check out if the IAF's frontline fighter had "mixed fighter force operability" with the F/A 18, one of the contenders for the air force's 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) tender.

As chief test pilot, Traven's job entails testing and operating different versions of F/A 18 right from the developmental stages and pushing the aircraft to its maximum performance abilities.

Though Traven has more than 5,200 flying hours under his belt including 2,700 on the F/A 18, the thought of flying the Su-30 lights up his face.

Nobody's contesting that the Su-30 has been a show stealer at Aero India.

Paul Hattendorf, a test pilot for F-16, said he would never let go of the opportunity to fly the Su-30. "They put up a very impressive show. I sure want to fly it and get a feel of the aircraft's high angle of attack and also see how the canards operate.

As a test pilot, flying the Su-30 will give me valuable operational experience." The F-16 is also competing for the air force's $7 billion MRCA tender.

It's not just the Americans who are have been smitten by the Su-30.

Ask Eurofighter Typhoon's test pilot Chris Worning if he would like to go for a sortie on the Sukhoi. "That goes without saying. I have no clue about its cockpit. I would love to compare its thrust-to-weight ratio with the Typhoon."

Email Rahul Singh: rahulsingh