Tu-154 Careless


Tu-154 Careless - Development

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Tupolev organization introduced a new generation of strategic bombers, among them the Tu-22, the Tu-22M (both known by NATO as "Backfire"), and the Tu-160. These were in addition to several civilian passenger aircraft such as the 160-passenger Tu-154. Similar to the Boeing 727, the Tu-154, a multi-engine jet aircraft with a range of approximately 2,500 miles, was originally designed as a medium range passenger aircraft and has been in service since the late 1960s.

At the beginning of the 1960s gas-turbine airliners Il-18, Tu-104, and An-10 excluded piston-engined aircraft from the trunk lines of Aeroflot. The speed of aviation travel grew considerably (at that time the slogan was “twenty-four hours train, hour by aircraft”). However, the presence of three different aircraft of one class caused complexities with operations. Aeroflot required an airliner capable of replacing all three machines. It had to connect their merits, but not have their deficiencies. Taking into account an increase in the volume of transportation, the capacity of the new machine had to increase to 140-160 passengers.

These requirements were feasible, because of the appearance of successful bypass jet engines. At the beginning of the 1960's, the Soviet Union began to develop turbofan engines for civilian use. The first generation (1960-1970) included the D-20P (used on Tu-124), D-30 (used on Tu-134), and NK-8-2U (used on Tu-154). The second generation (1970-1980) included the- D-30KU (used in Il-62M and Tu-154M) and NK-86 (used in I1-86).

Direct task for the creation of this aircraft it was not, but on the future medium-haul aircraft was declared the competition, in which, besides OKB AN Tupolev, participated the associations of OKB S.V.Ilyushina, A.S. Yakovlev and O.K Antonov. Il'yushin's OKB-240 proposed the design of three-engine aircraft with three D-30 engines (projects Il-72 and Il-74) on the basis of the Il-62. Tupolev's OKB-156 first attempted to finish Tu-104, then presented completely new project Tu-154. The schematics of machines both KB resembled the previously flown HS-121 Trident and Boeing 727. Between them they were characterized by engines, Tupolev's project was calculated under the NK-8-2, Il'yushin under D-30. There is an opinion that the Il'yushin project was better, but Tupolev inclined the customer to his side. Others said the Tu-154 most fully satisfied the requirements of the newest achievements of aviation science and technology and satisfied the requirements of operation for the 1970s and 1980s.

However that may be, the realization of the Tu-154 project was accepted by decision of the USSR #647-240 dated August 24, 1965, on which OKB charged to design and to construct medium-haul passenger aircraft Tu-154 with three turbofan bypass engines of the type NK-8-2 with the takeoff thrust 9500 kG. The series production of aircraft was intended to develop at the Moscow plant #30, but into the consequence a series was transmitted to the plant #18 KuAZ in Kuybyshev. Model commission for aircraft in December 1965 took place. All coordination interdepartmental questions thus far were solved, in the experimental production the production of the first experiment aircraft began.

The TU-154 became the first project of passenger airliner produced by the Tupolev Design Bureau, in which basis no military prototype was laid. As is known, the first Tupolev's passenger aircraft with the gas turbine engines Tu-104 and Tu-114 were created on the base of constructive solutions of jet combat aircraft Tu-16 and Tu-95. All this was good for the second-half of the 50th years and with the large assumption for the first half of the 60's.

In the 60's increasingly more persistent to the newly projected passenger aircraft, including by our, began to be advanced ever more and more stringent requirements on the economy of passenger transportation. To satisfy new requirements, relying on the development and the technical solutions, placed in the construction ten - fifteen years ago, were already heavy. Therefore in OKB they approached the design of new passenger aircraft, using all the experience, accumulated by firm in the past years in the course of designing the previous jet liners of OKB. In contrast to them the program of the creation of the new medium-haul passenger aircraft, which received designation Tu-154, became for the association of [tupolevtsev] the program of the creation of the first passenger aircraft, even the distantly not had military prototype.

Development was led by D.S. Markov and S.M. Jager. Work on the project began in 1963 substantially simultaneously with TU-144. Efforts were focused on reaching maximal efficiency of the aircraft. Aircraft Tu-154 was projected with the preliminary study of the assumed needs for a similar aircraft from the side of domestic and foreign to the next 15-20 years. Originally in the design of aircraft it was intended to introduce the large number of technical innovations, which made it possible to construct the aircraft, which substantially exceeds the existed passenger of the aircraft of this class, from many parameters, including on the economic effectiveness. It was assumed that Tu-154 it must replace by the lines the immediately three main aircraft: Tu-104, Il-18 and An-10. Simultaneously was posed the problem of creating the aircraft, which is not inferior from its parameters to that building in the USA Boeing 727 - aircraft to close one in the concept and the designation to Tu-154.

Building prototype and aircraft for the static tests was conducted from 1967 at the experimental plant #156 (from the second-half of the 1960s Machine Building Plant “Experience”). In the experimental production were in 1968 built two first aircraft Tu-154: one for the flight tests, the second for the static tests. The first flight of experimental aircraft Tu-154 aircraft (USSR-85000) took place on October 3, 1968. Machine raised into the air the craft commander Yu.V.Sukhov, copilot N.N.Kharitonov, and flight engineer V.I.Evdokimov. After a short stage of plant tests, the aircraft was transmitted to joint testing.

Simultaneously since the beginning of the tests Tu-154 occurred preparation and development of the series production of aircraft in Kuybyshev the aircraft factory #18. Assembly of the Tu-154 was projected according to the Tu-134 pattern. Pre-series copies appeared in 1968, series into 1970. The first series machines began to fly in 1970, after becoming the practically pre-series aircraft, which participated in the joint testing. In spite of serious difficulties, KuAZ within a comparatively short time worked it in accordance with the results of joint and running tests. In year began the running tests of pre-series aircraft on “Aeroflot's lines”. The retraining of crews to the new type of passenger aircraft began simultaneously. Running tests were conducted already on six production aircraft. At the end of plant tests, the aircraft was transmitted into the Vnukovo aircraft enterprise for official tests. New main aircraft Tu-154 entered into Vnukovo at the end 1970.

On May 15, 1971 began the technical flights from Vnukovo for transportation of mail - to Simferopol', Sochi, Mineral'nye Vody, Tbilisi. The first serial machine took-off in 1970. On February 5, 1972 the minister of civil aviation B.P. Bugaev gave out permission to the transportation of passengers. To “Aeroflot's routes” the liner left at the beginning of 1972. The first regular flight with passengers on board a TU-154 was made from Moscow to Mineral'nye Vody on 9 February, 1972.
Tupolev 154

The Tupolev Tu-154 (NATO reporting name Careless) is a Russian medium-range trijet airliner. It remains the standard airliner for domestic routes in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union and to a lesser extent in eastern Europe and Iran.

The Tu-154 was developed fom the twin-engined Tupolev Tu-134 to replace the jet-powered Tupolev Tu-104, plus the Antonov An-10 and Ilyushin Il-18 turboprops. It is sometimes called the "Tu-134 with everything thrice." It is designed to operate from austere gravel airfields, to be able to fly at high altitudes above most Soviet Union air traffic, and for takeoff performance.

Design features
Its construction is sturdy with 14 big low-pressure tires enabling it to land on snow-covered, unpaved runways without sustaining serious damage. Initially it had three rear-mounted Kuznetsov NK-8-2 jet engines, arranged like the engines on the Boeing 727, giving it a relatively good thrust-to-weight ratio. It has triple bogie main undercarriage units which retract into wing pods, and a T-tail empennage. These features make Tu-154 a reliable and economical workhorse. Close to 1000 have been built with requests even today for resumption of production.

Statistically, the Tu-154 has one of the poorest safety records. However, Tupolev 154's chequered safety record owes more to errors than technical problems. For individuals used to Boeing or Airbus airliners, the cabin of the Tu-154 can seem cramped. The impression is of an oval interior with a lower ceiling than is common on western airliners.

The Aeroflot Tu154 is arranged with 3x3 seating, with even less legroom than the most tightly packed budget US airlines. In order to stand upright it is necessary to fold down the next seat forward. The underseat space is dominated by a large round bar, making it impractical to place much of anything under the seat in front of you. The overhead bin is too small for much other than coats and purses. One should plan luggage carefully bearing these facts in mind.

Many variants of this versatile airliner have been built. Apart from the normal differences between weights and powerplants, the Tu-154 even has a couple of completely esoterically fuelled versions! Like its western counterpart, the Boeing 727, many of the Tu-154s in service have been hush-kitted, and some converted to freighters.

Tu-154 / Tu-154A / Tu-154B
The Tu-154 entered service with Aeroflot in 1972. Three variants, all powered by Kuznetsov, have been built. The initial Tu-154, the heavier Tu-154A with more powerful engines, and the Tu-154B with a further increase in maximum takeoff weight. Tu-154S is a freighter version of the Tu-154B.

One of the more radical projects based on this aircraft is the methane-powered Tu-155 and Tu-156. The Tu-155 prototype uses methane fuel for its central engine, while in the Tu-156 all three engines are adapted for methane burning.

Currently, the Tu-154M is the production standard which first flew in 1982. It uses more efficient Aviadvigatel D-30KU turbofans. It is far more economical, quiet, and reliable than previous versions. Aeroflot consistently achieves dispatch reliability above 99% with the Tu-154M, which compares favorably with current western airliners.
I guess, if it is English-speaking forum that the messages got to be in English, and all our English-speaking guests and visitors would feel themselves comfortable … "spying" on the products of our aviation industry ;)

Seriously, I don’t want make them feel left out from learning about that masterpiece of the Soviet era achievements. I'm not kidding 8-)

BTW, 'Careless' sounds to me very attractive.
I would say, who named it this way they definitely had respect to that plane.
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I guess, if it is English-speaking forum that the messages got to be in English, and all our English-speaking guests and visitors would feel themselves comfortable … "spying" on the products of our aviation industry

Fair enough :)
through my experiences of running an on-line 'Fan Club' devoted to one particular Tu-154 I could admit there's some interest to the topic among aviators from North America.
So, if they want to know some trivia from the plane's history, I'll forward them to your post :)

Re: the 'Careless' name. Truly indeed, - wouldn't that be awesome to find out how Tu-154 got such a name in NATO?
About 5 months ago I had a privilege of receiving a new 737-900ER from the factory in Seattle. A bunch of us deadheaded over, stayed overnight, went to a nice restaurant for dinner - all courtesy of Boeing.

The airplane was ready to go when we showed up at the airport the next morning. It was a lot of fun as we had a mini press conference, a receiving the airplanes "key" ceremony and Continental breakfast with a dozen Boeing folks and a hundred or so of our airlines' employees - we flew them home to Houston and the whole thing was a little party put together by our company as a reward for their great work.

I went on the airplane before everyone else so I can start setting up the box - it was my leg home. As I sat in my seat, punching the buttons, an older Boeing gentelmen walked in and sat down in the FO's seat. We started talking and among other things he asked me what Boeings I have flown.
I said - "just the 737, although when I lived in Russia I flew Tu-154, which some folks here call "727-ski".
He smiled and said - "you have no idea how close to the truth it is. I knew people who sold our designs to the Russians".

He said that his brother was a brand new production manager on the 727 line in 1964 when a couple of feds came to the plant and arrested two of their engineers. Later those poor guys were prosecuted for industrial espionage on behalf of the USSR..

The truth is some of the 727 designs were implemented in Tu-154. It was named "Careless" because the Soviet Union did not care what the West will think about the similarities in two airplanes. And since it was a closed country - none of it's people would ever find out.

Very much like China today copying technology all over the World and produce it as their own. Not a year goes by when a Chinese spy caught in the US.

Oh, boy!!! :eek:

cool stuff, dear colleague, appreciate the post. It may make a good episode in our 'Fan Club' Chat Room :)

The truth is some of the 727 designs were implemented in Tu-154.

Whenever asked 'what kind of equipment I flew back in Russia', I'd simply go: "Tu-154". Then, if I feel a guy doesn't have a clue of 'what the heck it is', I would mention that "It is a 727 sister ship" :)

Surprisingly, many pilots know quite a bit about Soviet/Russian aviation, and always talk about it with obvious respect (or, it is just innate 'polit-correctness, or a tribute to the 'Code of gentleman'..? :) - don't think so)

In my opinion, borrowing ideas is ever-going process, and it is going everywhere, with regard to every bit of whatever even remotely resembles any kind of 'technology'. Nice theme for a good discussion, let's keep it going.
I was always wondering about similarities between the two crafts. So it was nicked from Boeing... My suspicions confirmed. Many thanks
When I put Tu-154 in the Google search, I got more than 300 000 links in response.
There is the good chance to get input about this aircraft from non-Soviet/Russian sources... hence to find sometimes quite different point of views or not very well-known information.
Oops lloks like I didn't notice everyone speaks English in this room :)
Thanks for the idea - quite obvious, but anyhow. I was getting a feeling recently that there's nothing interesting left on the Internet. Happens sometimes, you know.
The aircraft has been exported to and operated by at least 17 foreign airlines. It remains the standard airliner for domestic routes in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union, and to a lesser extent in eastern Europe.

Civil operators

In August 2006 a total of 435 Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft (all variants) remained in airline service.
Major operators include: Iran Air Tours (12), Aeroflot-Don (10), Air Koryo (4), Azerbaijan Airlines (10), BAL Bashkirian Airlines (6), Belavia (17), Dalavia (8), Moskovia Airlines (6), Kavminvodyavia (10), Kogalymavia (7), KrasAir (15), Kyrgyzstan Airlines (10), Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise (6), Rossiya (25), Samara Airlines (8), Tajik Air (9), Turkmenistan Airlines (5), Ural Airlines (16), UTair Aviation (16), Uzbekistan Airways (13), Vladivostok Air (12) and Yakutia Airlines (12). Some 55 other airlines operate smaller numbers of the type. ...
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What's so special about this particular aircraft?

hmm, there's a couple things I should mention..
It is a 'novo-built' Tupolev (rolled out from Samara factory in 2006), it is FMS equipped Tu-154. Well.. it is the plane flown by good friends of mine in Krasnodar :)

Besides, there's one more thing that I appreciate about this aircraft and its delivery to ALK:I think it is an 'example of good deed' by Mr. Deripaska :) I'm trying to 'lure' him into our 'on-line Fan Club, but, alas, - with not too much success so far :)