At first I thought this was something that I was embarrassed to admit, but now I think that I’m proud of the fact that before I created these SSJ-100 (Sukhoi Superjet) templates, I always thought that Sukhoi was a Japanese company. I’d be willing to bet that most people could admit that it is a very Japanese sounding name, so you can’t blast me too hard for thinking something like that. But why am I proud of this? Quite simply, its confirmation that I’m not as much of an airplane nerd as I thought I was! 😃 Not that being an airplane nerd is a bad thing – but I’ve always been a car guy and I have been feeling bad about neglecting my main hobby so much over the past few years. I love to draw cars (and the automotive industry in general), so it was a bit disconcerting that my aviation knowledge was slowly surpassing my knowledge of all things automotive.
So yeah. Sukhoi is a Russian company with a Japanese sounding name. I’m actually glad I received so many requests to illustrate this aircraft because it opened my eyes a bit to how large (and amazing) the Russian aerospace industry is. The Russians definitely know how to build airplanes, and a bit of research resulted in a long list of new aircraft I want to illustrate – starting with the Antonov 225. That thing is a beast!
Another thing I learned while doing this template of the SSJ-100 is the fact that Boeing was a consultant for the design and engineering phases of its development. I never would have expected that, simply because Russian aerospace technology is very advanced and I would think they would prefer to keep everything “in house” rather than seek the help of an American company. But that’s globalization for you!
Stylewise, the Superjet isn’t really pushing the envelope. To me, it looks like a less-aerodynamic Bombardier CS100 with small Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines, and that’s unfortunate because most commercial airliners are starting to look the same these days. I will give the Sukhoi designers credit for the really aggressive (and cool looking) windshield though – it’s not so impressive from a side view like this, but the shape is very pointy and sleek from the front view and unlike anything I’ve seen on a commercial aircraft before.
Unfortunately, the SSJ-100 isn’t so common here in the US yet (much like other Russian aircraft) so if you want a ride on one you’ll have to catch an Interjet flight out of Houston or Miami to Latin America. I’ll admit that I’m a wee bit tempted…