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Sukhoi Su-31

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Sukhoi Su-31

With a 400 hp Vedeneyev VMKB M-l4PF nine cylinder radial engine and an ultra-lightweight body, the Sukhoi SU-31 has the best power to weight ratio of any piston engined aircraft in the world. Watching this aircraft almost "hanging" in the air on its prop is incredible.The aerobatics at the show probably involved stresses of about +11 and -9 gs but the aircraft is built to handle over double this (unfortunately, the pilot isn't!)

The SU-31 can climb at 4500 feet per minute and roll at 400 degrees per second. The wing is a symmetric airfoil so the plane flies just as well upside own as it does normally (fuel injection and a pressurised oil system help too).

More Pictures

[Su-31 in Smoke]  

The Sukhoi Su-31 reaches the top of its vertical climb and tumbles back down through its own smoke trail, apparently totally out of control!

The aircraft was flown by its owner, Nigel Arnot and it really was the most impressive aerobatics display I have seen. This machine really is amazing in the hands of a such a skilled pilot.

[Su-31 Preparation]  

The Su-31 is prepared on the ground in the parking area before its aerobatics flights.

As you can see, this is definitely not a large aircraft, although there appears to be plenty of space up front for the 400 horse engine!


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