Tupolev Tu-154

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Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 Dmitry Karpezo-2.jpg
Tupolev Tu-154M in Polish Air Force livery
Role Narrow-body jet airliner
National origin Soviet Union/Russia
Manufacturer Tupolev
Designer Tupolev Design Bureau
First flight 4 October 1968
Introduction 7 February 1972 with Aeroflot
Status In limited service
Primary users Russian Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Produced 1968–2013[1]
Number built 1,026
Variants Tupolev Tu-155

The Tupolev Tu-154 (Russian: Tyполев Ту-154; NATO reporting name: Careless) is a three-engine medium-range narrow-body airliner designed in the mid-1960s and manufactured by Tupolev. A workhorse of Soviet and (subsequently) Russian airlines for several decades, it carried half of all passengers flown by Aeroflot and its subsidiaries (137.5 million/year or 243.8 billion passenger km in 1990), remaining the standard domestic-route airliner of Russia and former Soviet states until the mid-2000s. It was exported to 17 non-Russian airlines and used as head-of-state transport by the air forces of several countries.

With a cruising speed of 975 kilometres per hour (606 mph), the Tu-154 is one of the fastest civilian aircraft in use and has a range of 5,280 kilometres (3,280 mi). Capable of operating from unpaved and gravel airfields with only basic facilities, it was widely used in the extreme Arctic conditions of Russia's northern/eastern regions where other airliners were unable to operate. Originally designed for a 45,000 hr service life (18,000 cycles) but capable of 80,000 hrs with upgrades, it is expected to continue in service until 2016, although noise regulations have restricted flights to western Europe and other regions.

In January 2010, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot announced the retirement of its Tu-154 fleet after 40 years, with the last scheduled flight being Aeroflot Flight 736 from Ekaterinburg to Moscow on 31 December 2009.[2]

Since 1968 there have been 39 fatal incidents involving the Tu-154, most of which were caused either by factors unrelated to the aircraft, or by its extensive use in demanding conditions.[3][4]


Tu-154 for Russian Ministry of Defence Manufacturing, 2009. One of several airframes built in the 1990s and left unsold

The Tu-154 was developed to meet Aeroflot's requirement to replace the jet-powered Tu-104, the Antonov An-10 and the Ilyushin Il-18 turboprops. The requirements called for either a payload capacity of 16–18 tonnes (35,000–40,000 lb) with a range of 2,850–4,000 kilometres (1,770–2,490 mi) while cruising at 900 km/h (560 mph), or a payload of 5.8 tonnes (13,000 lb) with a range of 5,800–7,000 kilometres (3,600–4,300 mi) while cruising at 850 km/h (530 mph). A take-off distance of 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) at maximum take-off weight was also stipulated as a requirement. Conceptually similar to the British Hawker Siddeley Trident, which first flew in 1962, and the American Boeing 727, which first flew in 1963, the medium-range Tu-154 was marketed by Tupolev at the same time as Ilyushin was marketing the long-range Ilyushin Il-62. The Soviet Ministry of Aircraft Industry chose the Tu-154 as it incorporated the latest in Soviet aircraft design and best met Aeroflot's anticipated requirements for the 1970s and 1980s.[5]

The first project chief was Sergey Yeger; in 1964, Dmitryi S. Markov assumed that position. In 1975, the project lead role was turned over to Aleksandr S. Shengardt.[6]

The Tu-154 first flew on 4 October 1968. The first deliveries to Aeroflot were in 1970 with freight (mail) services beginning in May 1971 and passenger services in February 1972. There was still limited production of the 154M model as of January 2009, despite previous announcements of the end of production in 2006.[7] 1025 Tu-154s have been built, 214 of which are still in service as of 14 December 2009.[8] The last serial Tu-154 was delivered to the Russian Defense Ministry on 19 February 2013[9] from the Aviakor factory, equipped with upgraded avionics, a VIP interior and a communications suite. The factory has 4 unfinished hulls in its inventory which can be completed if new orders are received.[10]


Tupolev Tu-154

The Tu-154 is powered by three rear-mounted low-bypass turbofan engines arranged similarly to those of the Boeing 727, but it is slightly larger than its American counterpart. Both the 727 and the Tu-154 use an S-duct for the middle (Number 2) engine. The original model was equipped with Kuznetsov NK-8-2 engines, which were replaced with Soloviev D-30KU-154 in the Tu-154M. All Tu-154 aircraft models have a relatively high thrust-to-weight-ratio which gave excellent performance, at the expense of poorer fuel efficiency. This became an important factor in later decades as fuel costs grew.[citation needed]

The flight deck is fitted with conventional dual yoke control columns. Flight control surfaces are hydraulically operated.

The cabin of the Tu-154, although of the same six-abreast seating layout, gives the impression of an oval interior, with a lower ceiling than is common on Boeing and Airbus airliners. The passenger cabin accommodates 128 passengers in a two-class layout and 164 passengers in single-class layout, and up to 180 passengers in high-density layout. The layout can be modified to what is called a winter version where some seats are taken out and a wardrobe is installed for passenger coats. The passenger doors are smaller than on its Boeing and Airbus counterparts. Luggage space in the overhead compartments is very limited.

Like the Tupolev Tu-134, the Tu-154 has a wing swept back at 35° at the quarter-chord line. The British Hawker Siddeley Trident has the same sweepback angle, while the Boeing 727 has a slightly smaller sweepback angle of 32°. The wing also has anhedral (downward sweep) which is a distinguishing feature of Russian low-wing airliners designed during this era. Most Western low-wing airliners such as the contemporary Boeing 727 have dihedral (upward sweep). The anhedral means that Russian airliners have poor lateral stability compared to their Western counterparts, but also have weaker dutch roll tendencies.

Considerably heavier than its predecessor Soviet-built airliner the Ilyushin Il-18, the Tu-154 was equipped with an oversized landing gear to reduce ground load, enabling it to operate from the same runways. The aircraft has two six-wheel main bogies fitted with large low-pressure tires that retract into pods extending from the trailing edges of the wings (a common Tupolev feature), plus a two-wheel nose gear unit. Soft oleo struts (shock absorbers) provide a much smoother ride on bumpy airfields than most airliners, which only very rarely operate on such poor surfaces.

The original requirement was to have a three-person flight crewcaptain, first officer and flight engineer – as opposed to 4/5-person crew on other Soviet airliners. It became evident that a fourth crew member, a navigator, was still needed, and a seat was added on production aircraft, although his workstation was compromised due to the limitations of the original design. Navigators are no longer trained and this profession will become obsolete with the retirement of older Soviet-era planes.

The latest variant (Tu-154M-100, introduced 1998) includes an NVU-B3 Doppler navigation system, a triple autopilot, which provides an automatic ILS approach according to ICAO category II weather minima, an autothrottle, a Doppler drift and speed measure system (DISS), "Kurs-MP" radio navigation suite and others.[citation needed] A stability and control augmentation system improves handling characteristics during manual flight. Modern upgrades normally include a TCAS, GPS and other modern systems, mostly American or EU-made.

Early versions of the Tu-154 cannot be modified to meet the current Stage III noise regulations and are banned from flying where those regulations are in force, such as European Union.


Aeroflot Tu-154A
TAROM Tu-154B-1
Chernomor-Avia Tu-154B-2
Tu-154B-2 of Cubana

Many variants of this airliner have been built. Like its western counterpart, the 727, many of the Tu-154s in service have been hush-kitted, and some converted to freighters.

Tu-154 production started in 1970, while first passenger flight was performed at 9 February 1972. Powered by Kuznetsov NK-8-2 turbofans, it carried 164 passengers. About 42 were built.
The first upgraded version of the original Tu-154, the A model, in production since 1974, added center-section fuel tanks and more emergency exits, while engines were upgraded to higher-thrust Kuznetsov NK-8-2U. Other upgrades include automatic flaps/slats and stabilizer controls and modified avionics. Max. take-off weight – 94,000 kg (207,235 lb). There were 15 different interior layouts for the different domestic and international customers of the airplane, seating between 144 and 152 passengers. The easiest way to tell the A model from the base model is by looking at the spike at the junction of the fin and tail; this is a fat bullet on the A model rather than a slender spike on the base model.[11]
As the original Tu-154 and Tu-154A suffered wing cracks after a few years in service, a version with a new, stronger wing, designated Tu-154B, went into production in 1975. It also had an extra fuel tank in fuselage, extra emergency exits in the tail, and the maximum take-off weight increased to 98,000 kg (216,053 lb). Also important to Aeroflot was that the increased passenger capacity led to lower operating costs. As long as the airplane had the NK-8-2U engines the only way to improve the economics of the airplane was to spread costs across more seats.[12] The autopilot was certified for ICAO Category II automatic approaches. Most previously built Tu-154 and Tu-154A were also modified into this variant, with the replacement of the wing. Max. take-off weight increased to 96,000 kg (211,644 lb). 111 were built.
Aeroflot wanted this version for increased revenue on domestic routes. It carried 160 passengers. This version also had some minor modifications to fuel system, avionics, air conditioning, landing gear. 64 were built from 1977 to 1978.
A minor modernization of Tu-154B-1. The airplane was designed to be converted from the 160 passenger version to a 180 passenger version by removing the galley.[13] The procedure took about two and a half hours. Some of the earlier Tu-154B modified to that standard. Max. take-off weight increased to 98,000 kg (216,053 lb), later to 100,000 kg (220,462 lb). 311 aircraft were built, including VIP versions, a few of them are still in use.
The Tu-154S is an all-cargo or freighter version of the Tu-154B, using a strengthened floor, and adding a forward cargo door on the port side of the fuselage. The airplane could carry 9 Soviet PAV-3 pallets. Max. payload – 20,000 kg (44,092 lb). There were plans for 20 aircraft, but only nine aircraft were converted; two from Tu-154 model and seven from Tu-154B model. Trials were held in the early 1980s and the aircraft was authorized regular operations in 1984. By 1997 all had been retired.[14]
The Tu-154M and Tu-154M Lux are the most highly upgraded versions, which first flew in 1982 and entered mass production in 1984. It uses more fuel-efficient Soloviev D-30KU-154 turbofans. Together with significant aerodynamic refinement, this led to much lower fuel consumption and therefore longer range, as well as lower operating costs. The aircraft has new double-slotted (instead of triple-slotted) flaps, with an extra 36-degree position (in addition to existing 15, 28 and 45-degree positions on older versions), which allows reduction of noise on approach. It also has a relocated auxiliary power unit and numerous other improvements. Maximum takeoff weight increased first to 100,000 kg (220,462 lb), then to 102,000 kg (224,872 lb). Some aircraft are certified to 104,000 kg (229,281 lb). About 320 were manufactured. Mass production ended in 2006, though limited manufacturing continued as of January 2009.(photo link) No new airframes have been built since the early 1990s, and production since then involved assembling aircraft from components on hand.[15] Chinese Tu-154MD electronic intelligence aircraft carries a large-size synthetic aperture radar (SAR) under its mainframe.[16]
Cosmonaut Trainer. This was a Salon VIP aircraft modified to train cosmonauts to fly the Buran reusable spacecraft, the Soviet equivalent of the US Space Shuttle. The Tu-154 was used because the Buran required a steep descent, and the Tu-154 was capable of replicating that. The cabin featured trainee workstations, one of which was the same as the Buran's flightdeck. The forward baggage compartment was converted into a camera bay, because the aircraft was also used to train cosmonauts in observation and photographic techniques.[17]
Tu-154M-ON Monitoring Aircraft
Germany modified one of the Tu-154s it had on hand from the former East German Air Force into an observation airplane. This airplane was involved with the Open Skies inspection flights. It was converted at the Elbe Aircraft Plant (Elbe Flugzeugwerke) in Dresden, and flew in 1996. After two dozen monitoring missions, it was lost in a mid-air collision in 1997.[18]
The Russians also converted a Tu-154M to serve as an Open Skies Monitoring aircraft. They used the Tu-154M-LK-1, and converted it to a Tu-154M-ON. When the aircraft is not flying over North America, it is used to ferry cosmonauts around. China is also believed to have converted one Tu-154 to an electronic countermeasures aircraft.[19]
Design of this variant started in 1994, but the first aircraft were not delivered until 1998. It is an upgraded version with Western avionics, including the Flight Management Computer, GPS, EGPWS, TCAS, and other modern systems. The airplane could carry up to 157 passengers. The cabin featured an automatic oxygen system and larger overhead bins. Only three were produced, as payment of debts owed by Russia to Slovakia. Three aircraft were delivered in 1998 to Slovak Airlines, and sold back to Russia in 2003.[20]
A Tu-154 converted into a testbed for alternative fuels; it first flew in 1988 and was used until the fall of the Soviet Union, after which it was put in storage.
Initial designation of the Tu-154M.
Proposed stretched version of Tu-154.
Proposed shortened version of Tu-154.


Current operators[edit]

Belavia Tu-154M

As of September 2016, there are 50[21] Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft of all variants still in civil or military service. The remaining operators are:[21]

Airline In service Notes
North Korea Air Koryo 2
Russia ALROSA 4
Kazakhstan Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan 1
Russia Federal Security Service 2
Russia Gromov Flight Research Institute 1
Kazakhstan Kazaviaspas 1 Used by the Kazakh Ministry of Emergency Situations
China People's Liberation Army Air Force 7+ At least 7, might be up to 12–14 in service. 6 of them are of ELINT versions and 6–8 of them are airliners
Russia Russian Air Force 16
Russia Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs 4 Operated for the government
Russia Russian Navy 2
Slovakia Slovak Government Flying Service 1 Operated for the government
Russia Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center 1
Total: 52

As of 20 February 2011, in Iran, all the remaining numbers of the Tu-154 were grounded after two recent incidents.[22][23]

Former operators[edit]

Former civil operators[edit]

Afghanistan Afghanistan
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 People's Republic of China
 Czech Republic
  • Government of Romania

Former military operators[edit]

Polish military VIP transport Tu-154M Lux aircraft from the dissolved 36th Special Air Transport Regiment. This one crashed in heavy fog at Smolensk North Airport on April 10, 2010, killing all occupants, including the Polish President
Armenian Air Force
Bulgarian Air Force One 154B retired 1988; one 154M retired April 2010, replaced by A319 CFM
Cuban Air Force
Czechoslovak Air Force (passed on to successor states)
 Czech Republic
Czech Air Force (replaced by Airbus A319CJ)
 East Germany
East German Air Force (passed on to FRG)
German Air Force (taken over from East Germany; 1 lost in mid-air collision, the other one sold)
Mongolian Air Force
Polish Air Force – 1 Tu-154M was retired in 2011, 1 Tu-154M crashed in 2010.
 Soviet Union
Soviet Air Force (passed on to successor states)
Military of Turkmenistan – 2 Tu-154B-2 retired
Ukrainian Air Force
Military of Uzbekistan

Incidents and accidents[edit]

As of January 2011, since 1970 there have been 110 serious incidents involving the Tu-154,[26] and 69 hull losses, 30 of which did not involve fatalities.[27] Of the fatal incidents, five resulted from terrorist or military action (two other war-time losses were non fatal), several from poor runway conditions in winter (including one in which the airplane struck snow plows on the runway), cargo overloading in the lapse of post-Soviet federal safety standards, and mid-air collisions due to faulty air traffic control. Other incidents resulted from mechanical problems (two cases prior to 2001), running out of fuel on unscheduled routes, pilot errors (including inadequate flight training for new crews), and cargo fires; several accidents remain unexplained.

The Tu-154 is described as having an average (or better than expected) safety record considering its length of service and heavy use in demanding conditions where other airliners are unable to operate.[4] On January 2, 2011, Russia's Federal Transport Oversight Agency advised airlines to stop using remaining examples of the Tu-154 (B variant) until the fatal fire incident in Surgut had been investigated.[28] Its operation in Iran ceased in February 2011 due to a number of crashes and incidents involving the type (almost 9% of all Tu-154 losses have occurred in Iran). This grounding compounded the effects of US embargo on civil aircraft parts, substantially decreasing the number of airworthy aircraft in the Iranian civil fleet.[29] In 2010 there were two fatal losses of the Tu-154 due to pilot error and/or weather conditions (a Polish presidential jet attempting a rural airfield landing in heavy fog, see 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash, and a Russian-registered plane that suffered engine stall after a crew member accidentally de-activated a fuel transfer pump). Following these accidents, in March 2011 the Russian Federal Bureau of Aviation recommended a withdrawal of remaining Tu-154Ms from service.[30] In December 2010, Uzbekistan Airways also declared that it will cease to operate Tu-154s from 2011.[31]


Date Tail number Aircraft type Location Fatalities Description Refs
19 February 1973 CCCP-85023 Tu-154 Czech RepublicRuzyne International Airport 66/100 Aeroflot Flight 141 crashed 467 m (1,532 ft) short of the runway; the cause was not determined. [32]
7 May 1973 CCCP-85030 Tu-154 Soviet UnionVnukovo Airport 0/6 Force-landed during a training flight following loss of engine power and severe vibrations after the aircraft took off with the inner spoilers deployed. [33]
10 July 1974 SU-AXB Tu-154 EgyptCairo International Airport 6/6 Stalled and crashed during a training flight. [34]
30 September 1975 HA-LCI Tu-154A LebanonBeirut 60/60 Malév Flight 240 crashed in the sea on final approach in clear weather, allegedly shot down by one or two air-to-air missiles fired by either IDF or SDF forces. [35]
1 June 1976 CCCP-85102 Tu-154A Equatorial GuineaBioko 46/46 Aeroflot Flight 418 crashed into a mountain on final approach; radar failure was blamed. [36]
1976 CCCP-85020 Tu-154 Soviet UnionKiev 0 Rough landing, written off. This aircraft is now in the Ukraine Government Museum of Aviation. [37]
2 December 1977 LZ-BTN Tu-154A Libya near Benghazi 59/165 Crashed due to fuel exhaustion while searching for an alternate airport after diverting due to fog. The aircraft was leased from Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. [38]
23 March 1978 LZ-BTB Tu-154B Syrianear Damascus 4/4 Crashed into high ground on final approach. [39]
19 May 1978 CCCP-85169 Tu-154B Soviet Unionnear Maksatikha 4/134 Aeroflot Flight 6709 crashed in a field after all three engines failed after the flight engineer accidentally shut off the automatic transferring of fuel of the sump tank. [40]
1 March 1980 CCCP-85103 Tu-154A Soviet UnionOrenburg Airport 0/161 Landed hard and broke in two after the crew deviated from the glide path while on approach. [41]
8 July 1980 CCCP-85355 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionAlma-Ata 166/166 Aeroflot Flight 4225 stalled and crashed on climb out after entering a downdraft. This accident remains the worst in Kazakhstan. [42]
7 August 1980 YR-TPH Tu-154B-1 MauritaniaNouadhibou Airport 1/168 Ditched 300 m (980 ft) short of the runway. [43]
8 October 1980 CCCP-85321 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionChita Airport 0/184 Landed hard after coming in too high. [44]
13 June 1981 CCCP-85029 Tu-154 Soviet UnionBratsk Airport 0 Overran the runway on landing and broke in two. [45]
21 October 1981 HA-LCF Tu-154B Czech RepublicRuzyne Airport 0/81 Malev Flight 641 crashed on the runway and broke in two after deploying the spoilers at low altitude following a too-high approach. [46]
16 November 1981 CCCP-85480 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionNorilsk Airport 99/167 Aeroflot Flight 3603 crashed 470 m short of runway due to overloading and crew error. [47]
11 October 1984 CCCP-85243 Tu-154B-1 Soviet UnionOmsk Airport 4+174/179 Aeroflot Flight 3352 crashed after colliding with maintenance vehicles on the runway due to ATC error. ATC personnel received prison sentences of 12–15 years. This accident is the second deadliest in Soviet history and remains the deadliest on Russian soil. [48]
23 December 1984 CCCP-85338 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionKrasnoyarsk Airport 110/111 Aeroflot Flight 3519 crashed following double engine failure and in-flight fire. [49]
10 July 1985 CCCP-85311 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionUchkuduk 200/200 Aeroflot Flight 7425 stalled and crashed due to crew errors and fatigue. This accident is the deadliest in Soviet history, the deadliest in Uzbekistan, and the worst-ever accident involving the Tu-154. [50]
21 May 1986 CCCP-85327 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionDomodedovo 0 Deformation of fuselage due to crew errors during flight after the crew forgot to turn on the pitot heating system. [51]
18 January 1988 CCCP-85254 Tu-154B-1 Soviet UnionKrasnovodsk Airport 11/143 Broke in three following a heavy landing. [52]
8 March 1988 CCCP-85413 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionVeshchevo 9/84 Aeroflot Flight 3739 was hijacked by the Ovechkin family. [53]
24 September 1988 CCCP-85479 Tu-154B-2 SyriaAleppo Airport 0/168 Landed hard and left the runway after encountering light turbulence on approach. [54]
13 January 1989 CCCP-85067 Tu-154S LiberiaRoberts International Airport 0 Overran runway and crashed following a rejected takeoff due to shifting cargo and overloading. [55]
9 February 1989 YR-TPJ Tu-154B-2 RomaniaBucharest 5/5 Crashed on takeoff due to engine failure during a training flight. [56]
20 October 1990 CCCP-85268 Tu-154B-2 Soviet UnionKutaisi Airport 0/171 Failed to takeoff and overran runway due to overloading and center of gravity problems; written off. [57]
17 November 1990 CCCP-85664 Tu-154M Czech Republicnear Velichovky 0/6 Force-landed following a fire in the cargo hold and broke apart on landing. [58]
23 May 1991 CCCP-85097 Tu-154B-1 Soviet UnionPulkovo Airport 2+13/178 Landed hard short of the runway, collapsing the right landing gear and broke apart after coming in too fast in rain. [59]
14 September 1991 CU-T1227 Tu-154B-2 MexicoBenito Juarez International Airport 0/112 Cubana Flight 464 landed too late and overran the runway due to pilot error and poor visibility. [60]
5 June 1992 LZ-BTD Tu-154B BulgariaVarna Airport 0/130 Landed too late and overran the runway in bad weather. [61]
June 1992 RA-85282 Tu-154B-1 RussiaBratsk Airport 0/0 Burned out during refueling. A second Tu-154 (RA-85234) also burned out. [62][63]
20 July 1992 85222 Tu-154B Georgia (country)Tbilisi 4+24/24 Failed to take off due to overloading and center of gravity problems, overran the runway, striking the localizer building, and ended up in a ravine. [64]
1 August 1992 YA-TAP Tu-154M Afghanistan Kabul Airport 0/0 Destroyed during a mortar attack. The aircraft had been parked at the airport for repairs following an incident three months earlier. [65]
5 September 1992 CCCP-85269 Tu-154B-1 UkraineBorispol Airport 0/147 Emergency landing after the left main landing gear failed to extend. [66]
13 October 1992 CCCP-85528 Tu-154B-2 RussiaVladivostok Airport 0/67 Failed to take off and overran the runway due to overloading and center of gravity problems. [67]
5 December 1992 CCCP-85105 Tu-154A ArmeniaYerevan Airport 0/154 Veered off the runway on landing after the pilot mistook the runway edge lights for the center line lights. [68]
9 January 1993 85533 Tu-154B-2 IndiaIndira Gandhi International Airport 0/165 Indian Airlines Flight 840 crashed on landing after striking some installations next to the runway; the tail and right wing later separated and the aircraft came to rest upside down. The aircraft was leased from Uzbekistan Airways due to a pilot strike at Indian Airlines. [69]
8 February 1993 EP-ITD Tu-154M Irannear Tehran 2+131/131 Mid-air collision. [70]
Unknown Su-24
22 September 1993 85163 Tu-154B Georgia (country)Babusheri Airport 108/132 Shot down and crashed on the runway. The accident remains the worst in Georgia. [71]
23 September 1993 85359 Tu-154B-2 Georgia (country)Babusheri Airport Unknown Written off after suffering damage from mortar or artillery fire. [72]
25 December 1993 RA-85296 Tu-154B-2 RussiaGrozny Airport 0/172 Nosegear collapsed after landing in bad weather. [73]
3 January 1994 RA-85656 Tu-154M Russianear Mamony 1+124/124 Baikal Airlines Flight 130 crashed after an in-flight fire that started in the number two engine, caused by a starter failure. [74]
6 June 1994 B-2610 Tu-154M ChinaXian 160/160 China Northwest Airlines Flight 2303 broke apart in mid-air and crashed shortly after takeoff due to a maintenance error. The crash remains the worst in China. [75]
21 January 1995 UN-85455 Tu-154B-2 PakistanKarachi 0/117 Failed to take off and overran the runway due to overloading. [76]
7 December 1995 RA-85164 Tu-154B Russianear Khabarovsk 98/98 Khabarovsk United Air Group Flight 3949 crashed into a mountain following a loss of control after fuel was selected from the left wing tanks to counter a left wing-low attitude. [77]
29 August 1996 RA-85621 Tu-154M NorwayOperafjellet 141/141 Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801 crashed into a mountain on final approach due to navigation errors. This accident remains the worst in Norway. [78]
13 September 1997 11+02 Tu-154M Namibiaoff Namibia 33/33 Luftwaffe Flight 074 collided in mid-air with a USAF C-141 due to pilot and ATC errors. [79][80]
65-9405 C-141
15 December 1997 EY-85281 Tu-154B-1 United Arab EmiratesSharjah 85/86 Tajikistan Airlines Flight 3183 crashed in the desert due to pilot error and crew fatigue. [81]
29 August 1998 CU-T1264 Tu-154M EcuadorQuito 10+70/91 Cubana de Aviación Flight 389 failed to take off and overran the runway, crashing into a soccer field. Following problems before takeoff, the crew had forgot to select the switches for the hydraulic valves of the control system. [82]
24 February 1999 B-2622 Tu-154M ChinaRuian 61/61 China Southwest Airlines Flight 4509 lost control and crashed after incorrect nuts in the elevator control system fell off, due to improper maintenance. China removed the Tu-154 from service following this accident. [83]
4 July 2000 HA-LCR Tu-154B-2 GreeceThessaloniki 0/76 Malév Flight 262 touched down wheels-up while landing and skidded on runway, but was able to take off and land normally after a go-around. [84]
4 July 2001 RA-85845 Tu-154M RussiaBurdakovka 145/145 Vladivostok Air Flight 352 stalled and crashed on final approach due to pilot error. [85]
4 October 2001 RA-85693 Tu-154M Black Sea off Sochi 78/78 Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 was accidentally shot down by an errant Ukrainian S-200 surface-to-air missile. [86]
12 February 2002 EP-MBS Tu-154M Irannear Sarab-e Do Rah 119/119 Iran Air Tours Flight 956 struck a mountain on approach. [87]
20 February 2002 EP-LBX Tu-154M IranMashhad International Airport 0 Landed hard, suffering substantial damage. The aircraft was ferried to Vnukovo for repairs where the nose gear collapsed while the aircraft was being towed. The aircraft was written off and used for spare parts. [88]
1 July 2002 RA-85816 Tu-154M Germanyover Uberlingen 2+69/69 Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 collided in mid-air with DHL Flight 611 due to errors of communication between instruction from ATC and Traffic collision avoidance system. [89][90]
A9C-DHL 757-200
24 August 2004 RA-85556 Tu-154B-2 Russianear Gluboki 46/46 Sibir Airlines Flight 1047 crashed after it was bombed in mid-air by a suicide bomber, along with a Tu-134 on the same day. [91]
22 August 2006 RA-85185 Tu-154M Ukrainenear Donetsk 170/170 Pulkovo Airlines Flight 612 stalled and crashed after the crew attempted to fly over a storm front. The aircraft entered turbulence and later stalled. The aircraft entered a flat spin and then struck the ground. [92]
1 September 2006 EP-MCF Tu-154M IranMashhad International Airport 28/148 Iran Air Tours Flight 945 suffered a mishap while landing, possibly due to a blown nose gear tire. The aircraft swerved off the runway. [93]
30 June 2008 RA-85667 Tu-154M RussiaPulkovo Airport 0/112 The number one engine suffered an uncontained failure during takeoff and take off was aborted. The aircraft was parked at Pulkovo Airport after the incident and was broken up in August 2009. [94]
15 July 2009 EP-CPG Tu-154M Irannear Qazvin 168/168 Caspian Airlines Flight 7908 lost control and crashed following an engine fire. [95]
24 January 2010 RA-85787 Tu-154M IranMashhad International Airport 0/170 Taban Air Flight 6437 crashed on landing after the captain declared a medical emergency due to a seriously ill passenger on board. The aircraft was leased from Kolavia. [96]
10 April 2010 101 Tu-154M Russianear Smolensk 96/96 Crashed on final approach in thick fog on an airfield without ILS. President Lech Kaczyński and other high-ranking officials were on board and died in the crash. [97]
7 September 2010 RA-85684 Tu-154M RussiaIzhma Airport 0/81 Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise Flight 514 made an emergency landing at remote airfield after general electrical failure at 34,800 ft, overran the small runway and sustained minor damage with no injuries. In March 2011 it was flown back to Samara for structural inspection and rehabilitation. [98][99]
4 December 2010 RA-85744 Tu-154M RussiaDomodedovo Airport 2/170 Dagestan Airlines Flight 372 made an emergency landing after two engines failed shortly after take-off; full of fuel. Overran the runway and broke up into three. The accident investigation revealed that a crew member had mistakenly switched off a fuel transfer pump thereby causing fuel-starvation and subsequent engine flameout. [100]
1 January 2011 RA-85588 Tu-154B-2 Russia Surgut International Airport 3/124 Kolavia Flight 348 caught fire while taxiing for take-off. [101]

Preserved aircraft[edit]

  • CCCP-85020 (cn 71A020) at State Aviation Museum[102]
  • CCCP-85040 (cn 73A-040) Early versions of Tu-154. Preserved at Krivy Rig - Aviation Institute[103]
  • EW-85581 (cn 83A-581) Tu-154B-2 preserved on the grounds of Minsk National Airport in Belarus.[104]


[citation needed]

Measurement Tu-154B-2 Tu-154M
Cockpit crew Three/Four
Seating capacity 114–180
Length 48.0 metres (157 ft 6 in)
Wingspan 37.55 metres (123 ft 2 in)
Wing area 201.5 square metres (2,169 sq ft)
Height 11.4 metres (37 ft 5 in)
Maximum take-off weight 98,000 kilograms (216,000 lb) – 100,000 kilograms (220,000 lb) 102,000 kilograms (225,000 lb) – 104,000 kilograms (229,000 lb)
Empty weight 50,700 kilograms (111,800 lb) 55,300 kilograms (121,900 lb)
Maximum speed 950 km/h (510 kn)
Range fully loaded 2,500 km (1,300 nmi; 1,600 mi) 5,280 km (2,850 nmi; 3,280 mi)
Range with max fuel 3,900 km (2,100 nmi; 2,400 mi) 6,600 km (3,600 nmi; 4,100 mi)
Service ceiling 12,100 metres (39,700 ft)
Engine (x 3) Kuznetsov NK-8-2U Soloviev D-30KU-154
Max. thrust (x 3) 90 kN (20,000 lbf) each[105] 103 kN (23,148 lbf) each[105]
Max. fuel capacity 47,000 litres (10,000 imp gal; 12,000 US gal) 49,700 litres (10,900 imp gal; 13,100 US gal)

In popular culture[edit]

  • Tu-154's interior and exterior as the most common airliner appeared in many Soviet and Russian films.
  • Air Crew is the 1979 action film revolving around the exploits of a Soviet Tu-154 crew on an international flight, the first Soviet film in the disaster genre.

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



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  • Dmitriy Komissarov, Tupolev Tu-154, The USSR's Medium-Range Jet Airliner, (Hinckley, UK, 2007) ISBN 1857802411
  • Yefin Gordon and Vladimir Rigmant, OKB Tupolev, A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft, translated by Alexander Boyd, edited by Dmitriy Komissarov (Hinckley, UK, 2005) ISBN 1-85780-214-4

External links[edit]