- Tupolev Tu-104
name = Tu-104
type = Airliner
manufacturer = Tupolev OKB
AeroflotTupolev Tu-104B at Arlanda Airport
first flight =
17 June 1955
15 September 1956with Aeroflot
retired = 1981
primary user =
more users = ČSA
produced = 1956-1960
number built = 200
unit cost =
developed from =
variants with their own articles =
TupolevTu-104 ( NATO reporting name: Camel) was a twin-engined medium-range turbojet-powered Soviet airliner. After the British de Havilland Comet, Canadian Avro Jetliner, and the French Sud Caravelle, the Tu-104 was the fourth jet airliner to fly, and the second to enter regular service. it was also the sole jetlinerin service in the world from 1954 to 1958. cite web |url=http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/libro?codigo=237370|title=Reactores Comerciales (1999a) (en: Comercial Jetliners) ISBN 84-95088-87-8 |work=Antonio López Ortega |publisher=Agualarga Editores S.l. |accessdate=2008-09-26 |language=Spanish]
Design and development
At the beginning of the
1950s, the Soviet Union's Aeroflotairline desperately needed a modern airliner with better capacity and performance than any other Soviet plane then in operation. The design request was filled by the Tupolev OKB, which based their new airliner on its Tu-16 'Badger' strategic bomber, the first version was more similar to the Tu-16 and it got square windows like the early De Havilland Comet, but this was later changed before the airplane made its maiden flight. The airplane was pressure tested in a watertank. The wings, engines, and tail surfaces of the Tu-16 were retained in the airliner, but the new design adopted a wider, pressurised fuselage to accommodate 50 passengers. The prototype (CCCP-L5400) first flew on June 17, 1955 with Yu.L. Alasheyev at the controls at Kharkivplant in Ukraine. It was fitted with a drogue parachutewhich could shorten the landing run by up to convert|400|m|ft|0|lk=on.
Its arrival in
Londonduring a 1956state visit by Nikolai Bulganinand Nikita Khrushchevshocked Western observers who, by the time, thought about the impossibility of soviet technology to build a comercial airliner which such performance.
The Tu-104 was powered by two Mikulin AM-3 turbofans placed at the union of the wings with the fuselage (just like the
de Havilland Comet). The crew needed to fly her was of 5 people: 2 pilots, 1 navigator (placed in the cone), 1 technician and 1 radio operator. The great curiosity about this plane was its "victorian" interior -called this way by some west-hemisphere observers- due to the materials used: mahogany, copperand lace.
On September 15, 1956, it began revenue service in
Aeroflot's Moscow- Omsk- Irkustskroute, replacing the old Ilyushin Il-14. The flight time was reduced from 13 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours and 40 minutes.
CSAbecame the first foreign airline to operate the Tu-104 in the routes with Moscow, Parisand Brussellsas destinations.
The small capacity (50 passengers) and the excessive weight inherited from the
Tupolev Tu-16were some of the reasons for its low profitability.
By the time production ceased in 1960, about 200 had been built. Aeroflot did not retire the Tu-104 from civil service until 1979, and the aircraft continued to serve in the Soviet Air Force until 1981, when a crash showed it to be unsafe. The last flight of the type was a ferry flight to a museum in 1986. CSA Czechoslovak Airlines, the Czechoslovak national airline, bought six (four new and two used) of Tu-104As configured for 81 passengers.
Following its removal from civil service, several aircraft were transferred to the Soviet military, which used them as staff transports and to train
cosmonauts in zero gravity.
* Tu-104 - initial version seating 50 passengers. It used 2 Mikulin AM-3 with 6,735 Kg of unitary thrust. 20 frames were built.
* Tu-104A - First appeared in June, 1957; continuing improvements in the Mikulin engines (Mikulin AM-3M with 8,700 Kg of unitary thrust) permitted significant growth in the Tu-104 resulting in a 70-seater variant. The Tu-104A became the definitive production variant. On September 6, 1957, it flew with 20 t of payload at 11,211 m of altitude. On september 24, 1957, it reached 970.8 Km/h average speed with a 2 t payload.
* Tu-104B - Further improvements were attained with the 1.2 m stretched fuselage fitted with new engines, the Mikulin AM-3M-500 turbojets (9,700 Kg of unitary thrust), and able to accommodate 100 passengers. This variant beneficiated from the newer fuselage from the
Tupolev Tu-110and the existing wings. It began revenue service with Aeroflot on April 15, 1959 on the Moscow- Saint Petersburgroute.
** Tu-104D - Tu-104A airframes rebuilt to accommodate 85 passengers
** Tu-104V - Tu-104A airframes rebuilt to accommodate 100 passengers
* Tu-104E - Record breaking version.
* Tu-104LL Flying testbed. Armed heavy Air-Air missiles tests.
* Tu-107 - Military transport version with rear loading ramp and defense cannon turret.
Tu-110- Four-engined transport prototype.
* CSA Czechoslovak Airlines - Six aircraft.; USSR
Soviet Air Force
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
length main=40.05 m
length alt=131 ft 5 in
span main=34.54 m
span alt=113 ft 4 in
height main=11.90 m
height alt=39 ft 0 in
area main=184 m²
area alt=1,975 ft²
empty weight main=41,600 kg
empty weight alt=91,710 lb
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
max takeoff weight main=76,000 kg
max takeoff weight alt=167,550 lb
type of jet=
number of jets=2
thrust main=95.1 kN
max speed main=950 km/h
max speed alt=512 knots, 590 mph
range main=2,650 km
range alt=1,430 nm, 1,650 mi
ceiling main=11,500 m
ceiling alt=37,730 ft
climb rate main=10 m/s
climb rate alt=2,000 ft/min
de Havilland Comet
* [http://www.aerospaceweb.org/aircraft/jetliner/tu104/ Aerospaceweb.org]
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