Common mid-range Jet in Eastern Europe and the Middle East
The Tupolev 154 was designed to be the follow up model to the TU 104, with specific design criteria being sturdyness and the ability to perform landing and take-offs on short and gravel covered airstrips - the classic setup of provincial Russian airfields - and fly high above the usual russian air traffic. The three initially used Kuznetsow NK-8-2 engines were rear mounted giving the aeroplane a good thrust to weight ratio. The two engines mounted laterally of the tail fin were able to perform reverse thrust, important to enable the plane to land on short landing strips. The first model went into service in 1968 and since then has been modified again and again to adjust to the demands of their customers, i.e. turning it into a cargo-only model.
The plane needs a crew of three and is one of the fastest civil airliners ever with a top speed of 975 km/h. It can fly an impressive 5280 km with maximum fuel and low payload and can carry up to 142 passengers.
The TU-154 was a massive success, with almost 1000 units built, most of them still in active duty around the world. The latest model, the TU-154 M was has been flying since 1982 and uses the more economical Aviadvigatel (Soloviev) D-30KU-154-II turbofans. If you're flying Aeroflot or even one of the younger airlines like Hemus Air, there's a good chance that you might up in one of these sturdy birds, as it is still in production.
Don't be afraid.
- Length 47.9 m
- Wingspan 37.55m
- Height 11.40m
- Wing area 201.5m²
- Operating empty weight 43,500kg
- Maximum takeoff weight 90,000 kg