CCTV of China today reported a recent Chengdu J-10 crash, and praised its pilot’s determination to prevent hurting lives and fortune of the people.
The report mentioned the jet fighter as “some single-engine fighter”, but its animation stimulation revealed that it was J-10 fighter.
It was described that the fighter aircraft suddenly lost its power after completing some kind of military tactic flight. Its pilot Li Tong tried some times to restart the single fighter engine, but J-10 dropped from 3,500 meters to 1,500 meters abruptly, and Li Tong gave up parachuting when he found two areas with light beneath.
Finally, Li Tong managed to be ejected when the Chengdu J-10 fighter fell to only 351 meters high. In order to avoid damages on the ground, Li Tong made five choices in 198 seconds of J-10 fighter’s falling.
According to reports on the internet, Chengdu J-10 fighter also crashes at least in 2010 and 2014, which were mostly caused by engine problem.
J-10 jet fighter basically uses Russia AL-31FN engine, which has design defects, including material and technological flaws, and poor lubrication, which would cause engine cut-off. In another case reported by CCTV, another pilot of J-10 fighter Li Yong encountered such circumstance, he received two warnings before AL-31FN engine finally stopped, and later he managed to crash land his plane without any power.
J-10A and J-10B fighters have also been trying homemade WS-10A engine. But it seems that AL-31FN engine remains a standard engine for J-10 fighters.
It is reported that in 2004, WS-10 engine was demanded to be completed development in the year, but an engine cut-off accident followed, and WS engine failed to become a stereo type engine of China. It was concluded that China owns less experiences in developing fighter engines compared to Russia and western countries, besides, China’s processing, manufacturing and test capacities are also relatively poor.
Nevertheless, WS-10 engine has been equipped into some Chinese jet fighters, including J-11B, J-11BS and J-16, but hasn’t been used on J-10 fighter.
The main reason is that J-10 is a single-engine fighter, once the engine has problem, the result would be destructive. Even if AL-31FN is not a very stable engine, but it is better than WS-10 engine. As it is safe enough for double-engine Su-27 fighters, Russia doesn’t enough motivation to improve it for China’s Chengdu J-10 fighter.
Besides, as a fighter focusing on agile flying, J-10 fighter’s engine has to endure larger load and pressure than those for Su-27 fighters, so failures of engine are more often for J-10 fighters.
Some believe that engine problem of J-10 fighters has also influenced export of the fighters to other countries. Anyhow, frequent crash records of J-10 are not acceptable to other countries.