Tu-104 Camel - Perspective
The appearance of the Tu-104 in the UK produced the effect of a bomb exploding. The fact is that it was in the UK in January 1952 that the world's first commercial jet airliner, Comet, began operating. British and Soviet aircraft builders did not know many more "pitfalls" associated with the use of jet aircraft in civil aviation. A series of unexplained catastrophes "Comet", the causes of which became clear much later, led to the withdrawal of this liner from service. The more unpleasant for the British was the appearance of the "Russian" Comet", which intercepted the laurels of an English aircraft.
The new aircraft revolutionized the domestic civil aviation. With its advent, the construction of new runways and air terminals began, the usual systems of luggage registration and ticketing, buses for air passengers, airfield service vehicles (tankers, tractors, self-propelled gangways, etc.) had begun.
When the first Russian aircraft only began to perform their humble flights, aviators were already thinking about linking by air the furthermost destinations in the country, Moscow and Far East. First aircraft models were not designed to perform such flights, even with stops en route. The renowned 30-seat IL-12 was the first airplane to start regular passenger services. It performed monthly flights between Moscow and Vladivostok with 6 to 8 stops from 1948 onwards. The 8,500 km distance was covered in 24 hours of flying time, the total travel time being 48 hours.
It was only with the advent of the Tu-104 that the numerous long-haul routes that still pass through the airports today began. Thanks to all this, a major manufacturing and aviation base for the exploitation of jet aviation technology was created in Siberia.
In 1979, the Tu-104 was decommissioned. On passenger lines they were replaced by more economical Tu-154. However, in the Air Force, they continued to fly. Only after the disaster of February 17, 1981, which led to the death of the Pacific Fleet command, the fate of the aircraft was finally solved. The official version is a violation of alignment, which is very doubtful. After analyzing the radio exchange crew with the command and control center, test pilot Hero of the Soviet Union V. Zentsov, who spent eight years at the wheel of the Tu-104 for eight years, concluded that the catastrophe occurred as a result of the asymmetrical release of flaps and the roll that appeared at the time of tearing, not enough ailerons.
The last Tu-104 flight was made on November 11, 1986. Having flied from the Kola Peninsula, with an intermediate landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, the plane landed in Ulyanovsk, occupying an honorable place in the Museum of Civil Aviation.
For the creation of the Tu-104 in 1957, AN Tupolev, AA Arkhangelsky, NI Bazenkov, DS Markov, SM Eger, AR Bonin, AE Sterlin , L. L. Kerber, K. V. Minkner, A. M. Cheremukhin were awarded the Lenin Prize. More than 400 employees of OKB and production were awarded government awards.
The TU-104 advantages are now being debated by experts who think that the aircraft was a mistake. Yes, it had certain failings. For example, fuel consumption of turbojets RD-3M (5,000 kg/h) seems inconceivable now. On the other hand, nobody had any complaints about their reliability. And the passenger comfort level was always beyond criticism. Nevertheless, the first Russian jet aircraft TU-104 served faithfully for 15 to 20 years on the routes connecting Vladivostok to Moscow, Leningrad, Khabarovsk and Odessa fulfilling the main purpose of airplanes, that of covering long distances in a short time.
According to the World Flight Safety Fund (USA) as of January 1, 2008, there were 37 accidents with Tu-104 type aircraft, that is, 18% of the number of manufactured airliners. This is the worst figure among all Soviet serial passenger airplanes. In 1981, in the Tu-104 crash at the military airfield of the city of Pushkin, virtually all the top leadership of the Pacific Fleet of the USSR died, including 16 admirals and generals and about 20 captains of the first rank.
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