After a 14-year hiatus, Sukhoi has returned to the Dubai Airshow with a demonstration of one of its ‘Flanker,’ family of fighter jets.

Despite the extraordinary gathering of fighter types at this year’s event including Chinese Chengdu J-10s, the French Dassault Rafale and the U.S. F-22 Raptor, test pilot Sergey Bogdan’s flying display of so-called super-maneuverability in the Su-35 is one of this year’s most eye-catching and eagerly anticipated.

Bogdan, who has 5,800 flight hours under his belt, is Sukhoi’s chief test pilot. He took the Su-35 aloft on its maiden flight almost a decade ago and also flies the Sukhoi T-50/Su-57.

Speaking to ShowNews, Bogdan said his demonstration was similar to that seen at the Paris Air Show in 2013. Kicking off with a short-rolling take-off, achieving speeds of 90 kt. (170 km/h.) in 2-3 seconds, that he says, “demonstrates the high thrust” of the two Saturn AL-41 engines, as well as the ability for the aircraft to operate from short or damaged runways.

Once in front of the crowd, Bogdan performs a “high-velocity turn,” which he says exhibits the Su-35’s ability to “rapidly change direction and pursue a target.”

A “tilted loop” is flown at angles of attack up to 70 deg, and the speed can drop down to around 35 kt. (70 km/h) while the U-turn maneuver demonstrates the high controllability of the aircraft under what Bogdan “abnormal conditions of flight,” or at least abnormal compared to other fixed-wing aircraft.

Then there is what Bogdan calls the ‘Bell’ maneuver where the aircraft appears to halt in the air, dropping to speeds less than 50 km/h.

The ability to fly at very high angles of attack is thanks to the aircraft’s three-dimensional thrust-vectoring system which is linked to the aircraft’s fly-by-wire control system.

“The thrust-vectoring system is always on,” says Bogdan, “the aircraft’s fly-by-wire flight control system decides what to do with the nozzles and the control surfaces,” in how it reacts to the pilot’s inputs, he said.

Pilots have the option of switching to a supermaneuvrability mode which switches off the angle-of-attack limits.

But displaying here in Dubai has posed its own “peculiarities,” says Bogdan, the haze in the sky results in a lack of contrast between the sky and the ground. Ferrying the Su-35 to the show was straightforward, the aircraft making a single fuel stop in the city of Astrakhan, Russia 1 hr. 35 min. after take-off from Zhukhovsky, Moscow before crossing Iran and touching down here in Dubai, 3 hr, 10 min. later.