24k photo by Brian Lockett
, Tushino-96 Airshow;
Su-31 is an update of the Su-26 and
Su-29 family, with many aerodynamic and structural refinements. Single-seater,
structural (and chronologically) closer to later Su-29 trainer. Entire package was
improved, not just shortcomings of the predecessors. Enlarged rudder made 'knife edge' flight easier. Redesigned wing with new
ailerons allowed to improve stability and lighten stick forces. SKS-94 emergency ejection system (same as on Su-39)
provides additional safety for pilot.
Almost unlimited fatigue life of the wing was achieved by introduction of titanium ribs and carbon fiber main spar. The huge
installed power to weight ratio makes high energy turns easier and the aircraft can even perform vertical accelerations after
the wing has stalled! Aircraft received also new MTV-9 propeller. Cockpit comfort and pilot's view were improved, two luggage
Public debut of the Su-31 took place in July 1992 (just one month after maiden flight!) at the World Championship (France).
Pilot Yu.Kairis won the Bronze medal. Two years later Su-31 again brought a success to Russian team.
Su-31T is a standard production variant. Su-31U with retractable undercarriage is also available. The Su-31Kh (export version)
is equipped with wing fuel tanks. As well as the predecessor, SU-31 is built at the Dubna
Machine-Building Plant. Aircraft was certified in Russia (1995) in aerobatic category, exported since 1994.
Su-31U (retractable gear)