Tupolev Tu-154

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Tupolev Tu-154
Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M Naumenko.jpg
Tupolev Tu-154B-2 of the Russian Air Force
Type: Three - engine narrow-body aircraft
Design country:


First flight:

3rd October 1968


February 9, 1972

Production time:

1968 to 2013

Number of pieces:


The Tupolev Tu-154 ( russian Туполев Ту-154 , NATO reporting name : Careless ) is a three-beam airliner medium range of 150 to 180 passengers of Russian , former Soviet aircraft manufacturer Tupolev . From 1968 to the end of production in 2013, 1,026 copies were built.


The maiden flight of the first prototype with the registration number СССР-85000 (the Cyrillic letters СССР correspond to the Latin letters SSSR ) took place on October 4, 1968 with the test pilot N. Gorianov. The first Tu-154 scheduled for state testing at Aeroflot was transferred to the airline on August 12, 1970. In the regular flight service of Aeroflot, the Tu-154 flew for the first time on February 9, 1972 on the route Mineralnye Vody - Simferopol ; as a mail plane from May 15, 1971. The first international flight to Prague took place on August 1, 1972. Successors are Tu-204 and Tu-214 .

A little over 1000 Tu-154 and Tu-154M were built in total. The last three Tu-154Ms (two for Kuban Airlines , one for the government of the Russian Samara region) were completed at the end of June 2006; deliveries took place in July 2006. At the end of January 2009, however, another machine was in final assembly at the Samara plant . This machine was handed over to the Russian Ministry of Defense on April 29, 2010. The last deliveries for the time being took place in February 2013; The recipient was again the Russian Defense Ministry.

The plant in Samara will keep spare parts in stock for at least 15 years.

Use and characteristics

Cockpit of a Tupolev Tu-154M
Tu-154M of Rossiya at Antalya Airport

The Tupolev Tu-154 flew mainly for the Aeroflot and airlines of Eastern Europe. Some examples were used in the Middle East , among others . At Aeroflot it was used until December 31, 2009, mainly on Russian domestic routes. After a last flight from Yekaterinburg to Moscow, Aeroflot intends to replace all 23 Tu-154s with Airbus A320s after 40 years . In March 2012, around 100 machines were still in active service worldwide. About 300 machines of this type are currently parked. Many of them could be reactivated within a short time.

In shape and size, the Tupolew 154 is similar to other three-engine aircraft of this size, such as the Hawker Siddeley Trident or, in particular, the Boeing 727 . But it has a slightly different interpretation. It was intended to replace both the An-10 and the Tu-104 , the first Soviet passenger jet, on domestic routes . Like most Soviet aircraft types, it has a very robust landing gear that allows operation on unpaved runways and is designed for higher travel speeds. Before the development of ETOPS jet engines, these three - jet engines were used on routes that were unprofitable for four-jet engines. Engine silencers, so-called hush kits , have recently become available for engines , which enable them to be upgraded to the upcoming noise protection class 4. Due to the low capital costs of the machines, the higher fuel consumption is only of limited importance in the overall calculation.

After the reunification of Germany , the Federal Ministry of Defense took over two Tu-154Ms from the Transport Fliegergeschwader 44 (TG-44) of the Air Force of the National People's Army . One machine was converted into a reconnaissance machine ( 11 + 02 ) in order to monitor the disarmament treaties in the context of Open Skies . The other was used as a transport machine. The former was lost in a collision with a Lockheed C-141 Starlifter of the US Air Force over the Atlantic about 120 km west of Namibia . All 24 crew members were killed. The other machine (DDR-SFA, 11 + 01) was initially stored in Dresden, sold to a Bulgarian airline in 1999 and made it to Iran in 2008, where it was banned from all flights registered in Iran by the relevant supervisory authority in February 2011 . 154 was used.

In 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry used 21 aircraft of the type that were to be replaced by Tu-214 .

The last machine of the Air Service of the Slovak Republic was decommissioned at the end of August 2017.


The Tu-154 is a cantilever low- wing aircraft with wings swept at 35 ° in all-metal construction with three spars. The two three-axle main landing gears are designed for use on unpaved slopes and are retracted to the rear in undercarriage gondolas under the wings. The extendable slats are powered electrically and the landing flaps are powered hydraulically.

The three jet engines Kuznetsov NK-8 -2U of the Tu-154 with 103 kN thrust each (version Tu-154A, B) or Solowjow D-30 KP / KU with 108 kN thrust (version Tu-154M) are attached to the stern. One engine each is arranged on the right and left at the stern; these engines have a thrust reverser system to reduce the landing distance . The third engine sucks in its air in the middle above the fuselage at the root of the rudder unit. The exhaust gas flow is guided below the tail unit , as is the case with many three-engine aircraft, for example the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar .


Tu-154M as a Slovak government machine

There are three series of the Tupolev 154, which hardly differ externally. The main differences are in the technology. The external distinguishing feature of the Tu-154M is the circular center engine opening with a locking ring at the rear - on the previous models it is slightly curved inwards when viewed from the side. Tu-154 were meanwhile often equipped with engine silencers and partially converted to freighter.

There were a number of special designs, such as B. as a flying hospital, for cosmonaut training or as a pure cargo version.

Tu-154 / Tu-154A / Tu-154B / Tu-154S

Three variants powered by Kuznetsov engines were built: the original Tu-154, the heavier and more powerful Tu-154A, and the Tu-154B with a further increase in the maximum take-off weight. These variants were designed for 128 to 146 passengers. The number of seats was later increased to 168 by installing two additional emergency exits in the rear. From version B-2, which appeared in 1977, the Tu-154, then equipped with rows of six, could carry up to 180 passengers. The Tu-154S is the cargo variant of the Tu-154B.


Tupolev Tu-154M of Ural Airlines

The most common version today is the Tu-154M, whose first flight took place in 1982. In contrast to the previous variants (Tu-154A and Tu-154B), it also has some recognizable differences from the outside. It can be clearly seen in the more economical Awiadwigatel -Solowjow-D-30KU engines, especially in the completely different central jet outlet under the stern; Also, the leading edges of the wings have a slightly stronger angle inwards from the slats, so that they protrude on the left side to under the middle entrance door. Furthermore, the landing flap system of the Tu-154M is a new design. Because of these innovations, the Tu-154M is more economical, quieter and more reliable than the previous versions. Aeroflot continuously achieved a “dispatch reliability” (technical availability before take-off) of 99%, which is also an excellent value in comparison with western aircraft types. The Tu-154M is meanwhile the only variant of the Tu-154 that fulfills the current European noise directives category 3 and is therefore approved for flying in the EU.

A modernized Tu-154-100 with a glass cockpit was no longer built, but some modifications were incorporated into the last production models of the Tu-154M.

Tu-155 / Tu-156

Tu-155 with the experimental engine

The more radical further developments of the Tu-154 include the prototypes Tu-155 and Tu-156 , which run on liquid hydrogen or natural gas .

The Tu-155 was based on a serial Tu-154B; its right engine was powered not by kerosene, but by hydrogen or natural gas, which is cheaper than kerosene in Russia. The Tu-155 completed its first flight with liquid hydrogen on April 15, 1988, its first flight with natural gas propulsion on January 18, 1989; thus, according to Tupolev, it was the first natural gas-powered aircraft in the world. The development of gas engines had already begun in 1975, while the idea of ​​flying with hydrogen went back to estimates that oil would become scarce in 2010, but that nuclear power would be available in large quantities to produce hydrogen . The aircraft operated flights to France and Germany and was once refueled with gas in Bratislava.

The further development of the Tu-156 was to be operated alternatively with kerosene or natural gas, which made the aircraft more expensive by 10 percent, but also made it independent of the natural gas infrastructure. The gas tank was in the stern, behind the cabin, and in this section all electrical cables had been laid to the outside. The aircraft should have been used as a cargo aircraft in Gazprom's service from 1998 . The planes could have been refueled with gas in the northern gas cities like Novy Urengoy instead of having to bring kerosene there. Construction of the prototype cell began in early 1997. The Tu-156M2 version would only have had two engines, but also a hump on the fuselage for the gas tank.


The exact accident statistics of Russian aircraft are more difficult to determine than those of western types. A Boeing statistic that is used as a reference in this regard omits this, as there is no reliable information about accidents before the fall of the Berlin Wall and types that were only put into service afterwards mostly only achieve small numbers. However, an incomplete comparison is possible via the Aviation Safety Network website . According to this, the number of accidents per aircraft built is slightly more than half that of the same old Boeing 737-100 / -200 built in a similar number (61 of ≈1000 compared to 104 of ≈1100). Newer types (A320 family, Boeing 737-300 and higher, Tu-204/214) have significantly lower numbers (A320 19 of ≈3000, newer 737 22 of ≈4500). A high proportion of collisions is noticeable.

  • On December 2, 1977, a Tupolev Tu-154A of Balkan Bulgarian Airlines leased to Libyan Arab Airlines ( aircraft registration LZ-BTN ) could not land at Benghazi airport ( Libya ), its destination airport, due to thick fog . The plane coming from Jeddah was on a Hajj flight. The crew was unable to find the alternate airport. Attempts were still made to reach Al-Baida airport, where the plane crashed due to fuel misfires and broke apart. Of the 159 passengers on board, 59 did not survive the accident. Due to a lack of fuel , there was an unsuccessful emergency landing in which the aircraft was destroyed. The pilots had not taken into account that the Egyptian airspace was closed to Libyan aircraft as a result of a war, so that only very low fuel reserves were available when approaching Benghazi (see also the flight accident of a Tupolev Tu-154 of Libyan Arab Airlines ) .
  • 11 October 1984: With the landing of a Tupolev Tu-154B-1 of Aeroflot (CCCP-85243) on the Omsk airport the aircraft collided with three on the runway located work vehicles. 174 of the 179 people on board and four occupants of the vehicles died. One of the air traffic controllers in the control tower fell asleep and had therefore not informed the approach controller about the vehicles (see also Aeroflot flight 3352 ) .
  • December 23, 1984: Failed emergency landing of a Tu-154B-2 shortly after take-off from Krasnoyarsk towards Irkutsk. All but one of the 111 occupants were killed (see also Aeroflot flight 3519 ) .
  • July 10, 1985: Tu-154B-2 crashed while cruising; all 200 occupants were killed (see also Aeroflot flight 5143 ) .
  • January 3, 1994: A Baikal Air Tu-154 crashed shortly after taking off from Irkutsk towards Moscow due to engine problems, all 124 people on board and one on the ground died (see also Baikal Airlines flight 130 ) .
  • August 29, 1996: A Tu-154 of the Russian Vnukovo Airlines crashed into a mountain while approaching Longyearbyen on Svalbard , Norway after numerous mistakes by the flight crew. None of the 141 people on board survived.
  • December 15, 1997: In Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates , a Tu-154 coming from Tajikistan crashed because the landing approach was too low. Of the 86 inmates, only one survived.
  • August 29, 1998: A Cubana Tu-154 destined for Guayaquil in Ecuador could not gain sufficient height during takeoff and crashed into an inhabited area of ​​the capital Quito . In the accident, 70 out of 90 people died on the plane and 10 residents.
  • February 24, 1999: In Wenzhou , People's Republic of China, a Tu-154M operated by China Southwest Airlines crashed while approaching Wenzhou, killing all 61 people on board. The likely cause of the accident is a faulty elevator control component.
  • On October 4, 2001, a Tupolev-154 en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk was accidentally shot down by a missile of the Ukrainian Navy. There were 66 passengers and 12 crew members on board the machine. Initially, state authorities suspected an act of terrorism, later the failure of an S-200 surface-to-air missile during a military maneuver was confirmed (see also Sibir flight 1812 ) .
  • February 12, 2002: A Tu-154 from Iran Airtour collided with the Sefid-Kouh Mountains while approaching the Iranian city of Khorramabad . At that time, visibility was poor and there was heavy rain and snow. All 12 crew members and 107 passengers were killed in the accident (see also Iran Airtour Flight 956 ) .
  • September 1, 2006: A Tu-154 of the Iran Airtour company with 148 occupants caught fire on landing in Mashhad (northeastern Iran ) after a tire burst and the plane slid uncontrollably over the runway. 29 people died.
  • July 15, 2009: A Caspian Airlines Tu-154M had an accident just 16 minutes after take-off in the province of Kaswin in Iran, northwest of the capital Tehran, with 168 people on board. The plane was en route from Tehran to Yerevan in Armenia . The machine crashed into a field, all occupants were killed (see also Caspian Airlines flight 7908 ) .
  • January 24, 2010: A Tu-154 of the Iranian airline Taban Air with 157 occupants caught fire on landing in Mashhad (northeastern Iran ) after a tire burst and the plane slid uncontrollably over the runway. 59 people were injured in the accident.
  • September 7, 2010: A Tu-154 (RA-85684) operated by Alrosa Airlines had to make an emergency landing on the abandoned Ischma military airfield in the Komi Republic in Russia after a serious technical defect . Previously, the entire on-board electronics had failed at an altitude of 10,000 meters. In addition, the brake flaps did not work, so that the aircraft had to land at too high a speed on the runway, which is too short at 1200 meters. The machine sped 200 meters beyond the end of the runway. All 72 passengers on board and 9 crew members survived the landing unharmed. The machine started on March 24, 2011 after minor repairs from the 1200 m long runway in the direction of Uchta, which was covered with snow and ice. After only 800 m, the machine took off safely, flown by two test pilots. After a major technical inspection, the machine was put back into service.
  • January 1, 2011: A Tu-154B-2 of the airline Kogalymavia caught fire on the tarmac at Surgut airport in Russia shortly before take-off and was completely in flames within 15 minutes. Of the 124 people on board, 46 were injured and 3 people died.

Technical specifications

Three-sided view of the Tu-154B
Parameter Data
crew 3
Passengers 160-180
span 37.55 m
length 47.92 m
height 11.40 m
Wing area 201.45 m²
Wing extension 7.0
Empty mass 55,300 kg
Max. Takeoff mass 100,000 kg
Start speed 245 km / h
Range-optimized travel speed 850 km / h (Tu-154)
Top speed 950 km / h
Service ceiling 11,900 m
Range 6,600 km
Engines three jet engines D-30KU-154 each with 102.97 kN thrust

Web links

Commons : Tupolev Tu-154  - collection of images

Individual evidence

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