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Tupolev Tu-154

Tupolev Tu-154 has for a long time been, and still is, the standard airliner in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union. Of all the passengers that have ever flown with Aeroflot, half of them flew with a Tu-154. At least 17 foreign airlines also operate this airliner.

It is often used in extreme arctic conditions, and is built for take-offs and landings on gravel and unpaved runways, which can be seen on the short and very rugged landing gear. Despite the heavy and durable airframe, the Tu-154 is the fastest airliner in use. It can fly at almost Mach 1.

The maximum number of passengers is 180 and the aircraft can be flown with a crew of only three - captain, first officer and flight engineer - but a fourth crew member - the navigator - is usually also present.


Tupolev Tu-154 was developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau, and in the 1960's competed with the Ilyushin Il-74 to be the replacement for Aeroflot's older and outdated aircraft. The Soviet Ministry of Aircraft Industry chose the Tu-154 because it best met Aeroflot's anticipated requirements of the 1970s and 1980s, and represented the latest in Soviet aircraft design.

Tajikistan Airlines Tu-154 at Munich Airport.  

Tu-154 flew for the first time on October 4, 1968 and started commercial service in February 1972. The last one was built in 2006, but because of its reliability and durability there have been requests for the resumption of assembly. About 900 were built and 500 of them are still in service.

The aircraft's three engines are more powerful than on similar western models and initially gave them superior performance, off course at the expense of higher fuel consumption and costs. Experiments began, and in 1989 successful flights were made with liquefied natural gas in the tanks.


Tupolev Tu-154 lands and starts reversing even before touchdown... Beautiful engine sound!