The Sukhoi range of aerobatic aircraft was originally designed before the break-up of the Soviet Union and was designed absolutely without regard to cost. This means that their technology is still significantly ahead of any Western competitor, as for example :
- Hot cured carbon-fibre main spars, for no heat sensitivity (i.e. you can paint the aircraft any colour) as well as a kevlar outer covering.
- Titanium rather than steel in areas such as exhaust; battery box; firewall; undercarriage; wing-ribs, etc.
- Forged magnesium for control linkages, whereas Western competitors tend to use welded steel, etc.
- The use of the superb nine cylinder geared, supercharged engine – the most powerful aerobatic engine in the world.
Certainly the Sukhois are the most successful of the world’s aerobatic aircraft and, in terms of quality of construction, pleasure of flying, as well as incredible value, there really is no competition.
Sadly for political reasons, Sukhoi decided to stop production of aerobatic aircraft in 2006, and while all jigs and toolings still exist it is unlikely that production will be restarted.