|Aeroflot Tu-124 at Arlanda Airport in 1966|
|First flight||29 March 1960|
|Introduction||2 October 1962|
|Retired||1980 (Aeroflot), 1990 (Iraqi Airways), 1992 (military service)|
|Developed from||Tupolev Tu-104|
Design and development
Developed from the medium-range Tupolev Tu-104, the Tu-124 was meant to meet Aeroflot's requirement for a regional airliner to replace the Ilyushin Il-14 on domestic routes. Resembling a 75% scaled-down Tu-104, the two were hard to tell apart at a distance but it was not a complete copy of the Tu-104. The Tu-124 had a number of refinements, including double-slotted flaps, a large centre-section airbrake and automatic spoilers. Unlike the Tu-104, the wing trailing edge inboard of the undercarriage was unswept.
The Tu-124 retained a drogue parachute to be used in an emergency landing or landing on a slippery surface and had low pressure tires to aid operation from unpaved airfields. As on the Tu-104 the engines were integrated into the wings, but the turbofan engines were more fuel efficient. The placement of the engines amplified vibrations, which affected the comfort of the passenger cabin, and also the fatigue lifetime of the wing assembly.
The standard seating of the basic version was 44 seats. The first of two prototype, SSSR-45000 (C/N 0350101) made its first flight from Zhukovsky airfield on 24 March 1960. The second prototype, SSSR-45001 (C/N 0350102), followed in June 1960. Two other airframes served as a static test cells. Testing was successful, and the aircraft entered production at Factory 135 at Kharkov, Ukraine, replacing the Tu-104 in production. Deliveries to Aeroflot began in August 1962, with the type operating its first scheduled passenger service, between Moscow and Tallinn in Estonia, on 2 October 1962.
Aeroflot was impressed with the flight performance of the Tu-124 and used it on domestic routes from the end of 1962.
The improved Tu-124V, which could seat 56 passengers instead of the 44 of the original model, and which had increased range and maximum take-off weight, came into service in 1964. An Aeroflot Tu-124V was exhibited at the 1965 Paris Air Show. Despite the aircraft's low purchase price (stated as $1.45 million in 1965) and low operating costs, few were exported, with Československé Státní Aerolinie (ČSA) and the East German airline Interflug being the only airlines other than Aeroflot that bought the Tu-124 new, although ČSA sold its surviving Tu-124s to Iraqi Airways for use on VIP flights in 1973. Interflug used its three Tu-124s as an alternative to the Ilyushin Il-62, when the Il-62s were grounded due to mechanical issues. All three were sold back to the Soviet Union in 1975.
Three airframes were completed in 1966 in a VIP configuration, and designated Tu-124K. However, Aeroflot never placed them into service, and they were purchased by the Indian Air Force.
A total of 164 Tu-124s were built. Issues with the safety of the Tu-104 had an impact on the fate of the Tu-124, although the reliability of the Tu-124 was slightly better. Production ended in 1965 and Aeroflot decommissioned its last twelve Tu-124s on 21 January 1980. The Tu-124 continued in operation for some years with the Soviet Air Force and in Iraq, but all aircraft were withdrawn before and at 1990, The ones in Iraq military and Iraqi Airways where destroyed in early 1990s during a war.
Several Tu-124s have been preserved. One is in the museum of Kharkiv State Aircraft Manufacturing Company (formerly the Tu-124 manufacturer Factory 135), another is in China's Datangshan aviation museum in Beijing and a third is at the Central Air Force Museum at Monino outside Moscow. A Tu-124K is on display at New Delhi Airport.
Competition within the COMECON
The German Democratic Republic attempted to compete within the COMECON trading bloc with its own four-engined design called the Baade 152. The design was unsuccessful, leading Interflug to buy a rear-engined development of the Tu-124, the Tupolev Tu-134.
- The first production variant. International demand was small, as most foreign airlines were waiting to buy the improved Tupolev Tu-134
- Three prototypes with D-20P-125 engines, built in 1963
- VIP configuration operated by the militaries of Iraq and the Peoples' Republic of China, and by the Indian Air Force
- Military version used as navigator trainer
- Military version used as navigator trainer
- Proposed military transport version, not built.
- Indian Air Force [three Tu-124K VIP variants]
Accidents and incidents
|21 August 1963||CCCP-45021||Leningrad||0/52||Ditched in the Neva River in Leningrad after it ran out of fuel. The crew were distracted by problems with the landing gear. All occupants of the aircraft survived the ditching.|||
|8 March 1965||CCCP-45028||Kuibyshev||30/39||Aeroflot Flight 513: Crashed shortly after taking off from Kuybyshev Airport, Russia on a flight to Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport, after the pilots lost control of the aircraft.|||
|11 November 1965||CCCP-45086||Murmansk||32/64||Crashed on a frozen lake after the pilot mistook lights on the ground for the runway lights.|||
|7 March 1968||CCCP-45019||Volgograd||1/49||Aeroflot Flight 3153: Crashed on takeoff after the pilot inadvertently activated the spoilers.|||
|29 January 1970||CCCP-45083||Murmansk||11/38||Aeroflot Flight 145: Struck a hillside while on approach, killing five on impact; six others died in the freezing temperatures while waiting for rescue.|||
|18 August 1970||OK-TEB||Zurich||0/20||CSA Flight 744: Landed gear-up after the pilot, preoccupied with a pressurization problem, failed to hear the command to lower the landing gear.|||
|2 September 1970||CCCP-45012||Dnepropetrovsk||37/37||Aeroflot Flight 3630: Lost control and crashed.|||
|20 November 1973||CCCP-45031||Kazan||0||Overran runway while landing.|||
|16 December 1973||CCCP-45061||Moscow||51/51||Aeroflot Flight 2022: A short circuit in the elevator trim system put the aircraft into a dive and resulting spin. Although the crew were able to pull out of the dive, the aircraft crashed after the crew lost control a second time.|||
|23 December 1973||CCCP-45044||Lviv||17/17||Aeroflot Flight 5398: Lost control and crashed following an engine fire.|||
|3 January 1976||CCCP-45037||Moscow||61/61||Crashed following instrument failure and loss of control. One person on the ground also died when the aircraft struck several houses.|||
|5 November 1977||V643||Jorhat Airport||5/10||One of the three Tu-124K VIP variants purchased by the Indian Air Force in 1966, named Pushpak Rath (Floral Chariot), crashed in a paddy field near Jorhat Airport, Assam. The-then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai who was on board survived, though five crew members died as a result of the crash.|||
|29 August 1979||CCCP-45038||Kirsanov||63/63||Aeroflot Flight 5484: One hour into the flight, the aircraft broke apart and crashed due to an inadvertent flap extension. This crash is the worst involving the Tu-124.|||
|February 1991||YI-AEY||Baghdad||0/0||Destroyed by bombs during the Gulf War.|||
|February 1991||YI-AEL||Baghdad||0/0||Destroyed by bombs during the Gulf War.|||
Data from Soviet Transport Aircraft since 1945
- Crew: three
- Capacity: 56 passengers
- Length: 30.58 m (100 ft 4 in)
- Wingspan: 25.55 m (83 ft 10 in)
- Height: 8.08 m (26 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 119.4 m² (1,284 ft²)
- Empty weight: 22,900 kg (50,486 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 37,500 kg (82,673 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Soloviev D-20P turbofans, 53.1 kN (11,905 lbf) each
- Maximum speed: 970 km/h (523 knots, 602 mph) at 8,000 m (26,000 ft)
- Cruise speed: 800–870 km/h (432–469 knots, 497–540 mph)
- Range: 2,100 km (1,133 nmi, 1,304 mi) (maximum fuel, 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) payload)
- Service ceiling: 11,700 m (38,385 ft)
- Rate of climb: 12.0 m/s (2,360 ft/min)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- "TU-124 – Details of Tupolev's Medium Range Turbofan" Flight International, 16 August 1962, pp.229–230, article includes drawings
- Gunston 1995, p. 433.
- Stroud 1968, pp. 227–229.
- Duffy and Kandalov 1996, p. 134.
- Duffy and Kandalov 1996, pp. 134–135.
- Stroud 1968, p. 232.
- Duffy and Kandalov 1996, pp. 135–136.
- Duffy and Kandalov 1996, p. 224.
- Aviation Safety Network list of Tu-124 hull losses retrieved 14 September 2011
- Accident description for CCCP-45021 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Aviation Safety Network SSSR-45028 accident synopsis retrieved 14 September 2011
- Accident description for CCCP-45086 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for CCCP-45019 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for CCCP-45083 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for OK-TEB at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for CCCP-45012 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for CCCP-45031 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for CCCP-45061 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for CCCP-45044 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for CCCP-45037 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Aviation Safety Network V643 accident synopsis retrieved 14 September 2011
- Accident description for CCCP-45038 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for YI-AEY at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Accident description for YI-AEL at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2015-12-16.
- Gunston 1995, p. 434.
- Duffy, Paul and Andrei Kandalov. Tupolev: The Man and His Aircraft. Shrewsbury, UK:Airlife Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-85310-728-X.
- Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London:Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-405-9.
- Stroud, John. Soviet Transport Aircraft since 1945. London:Putnam, 1968. ISBN 0-370-00126-5.
Media related to Tupolev Tu-124 at Wikimedia Commons