Military Review

60 years ago made the first regular flight of the Soviet passenger liner Tu-104

June 17, 1955 made its first flight in the Soviet Union jet passenger aircraft Tu-104. This aircraft largely determined the further development of the passenger aviation on the planet, and its creation was an important milestone in stories world aviation. After about a year, 15 of September 1956 of the year (exactly 60 years ago), the Aeroflot Tu-104 airliner made the first regular flight en route Moscow - Omsk - Irkutsk. Thus began the history of domestic jet passenger traffic.

The first jet passenger liners Tu-104 began to arrive in the civilian fleet in May 1956 of the year, and already on September 15 the first regular flight en route Moscow-Omsk-Irkutsk was made. The pilot in this flight was piloted by E.P. Barabash. During 7 hours of 10 minutes with the interim transfer in Omsk, the plane managed to fly to Irkutsk, covering the distance in 4570 kilometers. October 12 1956 pilot B. P. Bugayev made the first international flight on a Tu-104 aircraft on the Moscow-Prague route, and soon Tu-104 planes took to the lines that connected Moscow to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Rome.

In those years, it was impossible to imagine that a country that had just rebuilt from the ruins after World War II would be able to make such a technological leap ahead of the countries of the West in its designs. From the 1956 year, when the British passenger jet De Havilland DH-106 Comet was suspended due to a series of air crashes, and until October 1958, when the American Boeing 707 jet was put into commercial operation, the Soviet Tu-104 jet remained the only jet passenger aircraft in the world. In September, 1957, the Tu-104, flew to New York from Vnukovo Airport, which, according to the Western press, "confirmed the priority of the Soviet Union in the development of jet aircraft."

The history of the jet liner Tu-104

In 1953, the OKB leadership, headed by the leader A.N. Tupolev, based on the positive experience in the design, testing and start of serial production of Tu-16 jet bombers, came up with a proposal to the USSR leadership on the creation of a passenger aircraft equipped with the Tu-16 serial turbojet engines - turbojet engines. Soon Tupolev himself prepared and made his proposal to the Central Committee of the CPSU. In the report, the attention of the state leadership was focused on the advantages of the modification approach to the design of the first Soviet passenger aircraft. Among the operational moments of the novelty stood out: high cruising flight speed (should have been three times higher than the flight speed of the main passenger aircraft of Aeroflot of those years Li-2 and Il-12); the ability to fly at high altitudes, without chatter and shaking; high passenger capacity and carrying capacity with a sufficiently high comfort. For the first time in the Soviet Union, it was a question of developing civil air fleet mass aircraft of the "liner" class, which could turn high-speed air transport into a mass vehicle.

At the same time, a significant economic gain, in the opinion of the Tupolev Design Bureau employees, should have been given precisely the modification approach to creating a passenger plane based on the Tu-16 long-range jet bomber launched by the Soviet industry. At the same time, it was intended to make full use of the accumulated experience of building, refining and operating a prototype bomber, which was to ensure the safety and high reliability of operation, so important for civil aviation aircraft. Also, the cost of sending the liner to mass production was significantly reduced, due to this its cost was reduced and the economic characteristics of the machine increased. The problems of training ground and flight personnel for the new passenger liner were alleviated, primarily through the use of specialists who had already been trained in the Air Force on military aircraft of similar design, operational and flight characteristics.

Even before making an official decision to build the aircraft, the Tupolev Design Bureau began work on its design. Resolution of the USSR Council of Ministers No. 1172-516 on the creation of a long-distance passenger high-speed aircraft Tu-16P (the designation by the Tupolev Design Bureau is the 104 aircraft, then adopted as official Tu-104, after it in the official designation of Tupolev passenger aircraft the four were always the last number).

The new passenger aircraft was a twin-engined turbojet nizkoplan with the location of the engines in the swept-wing root and one-fin tail. When creating the Tu-104, the designers of the Tupolev Design Bureau decided to leave part of the design of the Tu-16 jet bomber. In particular, the wing, tail, landing gear, cockpit layout and flight navigation instruments were borrowed from the combat aircraft. At the same time for the passenger liner redesigned fuselage and air intakes of the engines, achieving greater capacity. The designers of the design bureau created new units for the air conditioning system, shadowless interior lighting, electrical appliances for heating and cooking, and radio passenger cabins.

In the course of the work on the creation of the Tu-104 passenger liner, the designers paid special attention to ensuring the high reliability of its design, as well as increasing the service life of the aircraft’s glider and, in particular, of its pressurized cabin. Aware of the problems the British faced with the passenger Kometa, in the course of carrying out the program of building a Soviet jet airliner, its glider for the first time in its domestic practice underwent cyclic tests in the new specially built TsAGI hydro basin. Conducting these tests allowed the designers of the Tupolev Design Bureau to identify weaknesses in the design of the aircraft, to make the necessary improvements and to ensure the necessary durability of the airframe.

At the same time, for the Tu-104 aircraft, a search was carried out for rational layout arrangements for the arrangement of passenger cabins, utility rooms and kitchens. Work was being done on the design of comfortable passenger seats, the shade-free lighting of the liner’s salons, the color schemes of the aircraft’s interiors and the materials intended for lining and upholstery of partitions and chairs were selected. The interior of the passenger aircraft was originally designed from the premise that a sense of safety and comfort can be provided by creating a “home environment” inside the liner (the realization of the idea of ​​a salon-house). Hence there was a certain congestion of the interior of the aircraft with elements of the traditional imperial style, as well as the fractionality of the total volume and individual parts, the use of designs and forms of carriage architecture, a rich walnut and gold finish. However, all these excesses and features in the interior were characteristic only of the first prototype aircraft. Later, already in the serial Tu-104, the interior of the passenger compartment became much more “democratic”, approaching the generally accepted world standards of those years.

Work on the project of the first Soviet jet passenger aircraft went at a record pace: in December 1954, the state commission approved the layout of the future airliner, and in March 1955, the first sample of the Tu-104 was fully prepared at the Kharkov Aviation Plant in March. An experienced passenger aircraft was immediately transferred to the Zhukovskaya flight test and development base, where the process of preparing the aircraft for a series of flight tests began.

17 June 1955, the crew of test pilot Yu. T. Alasheeva performed the first flight on a new aircraft. As a result of tests that lasted until October 12 of the same year, the Tu-104 airliner was recognized as fully suitable for serial production and subsequent regular operation. 22 March 1956, a prototype Tu-104 with Soviet diplomats on board, flew to London, where N. S. Khrushchev, the first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, was at that time. The newest Soviet passenger jet aircraft was highly appreciated by foreign experts, who noted that the USSR had brilliantly coped with the task of developing a passenger jet aircraft. It became clear to the whole world community that the aviation industry of the Soviet Union is aimed not only at constantly updating its fleet of combat aircraft, but also at creating first-class passenger aircraft.

The release of the Tu-104 passenger aircraft was discontinued 5 years after the start of mass production of the machine. In the early-mid 1960-s in the Soviet Union, work began on the creation of second-generation passenger liners, equipped with more modern and economical turbofan engines. By that time, the firstborn of Soviet jet civil aviation had become morally obsolete. Despite this, the aircraft continued to operate and operated regular passenger flights up to the 1979 year. During production, the Tu-104 aircraft was repeatedly upgraded. Over time, the aircraft engines were replaced with more reliable and powerful ones, modifications of the liner were released with an increased number of passenger seats, and the radio engineering and flight-technical equipment was constantly updated. In total, three serial aircraft factories (No. 135 in Kharkov, No. 22 in Kazan and No. 166 in Omsk) collected more than 200 aircraft in versions of the Tu-104, Tu-104А and Tu-104Б, which differed from each other in the number of passengers carried 50, 70 and 100, respectively), as well as some elements of construction and equipment.

In the period from 1957 to 1960, the TU-104 managed to set 26 world records of payload and airspeed more than any other passenger liner of this class. The legendary aircraft was operated until the end of the 1970-ies, after which it was finally removed from Aeroflot regular flights. The last flight of the Tu-104 passenger aircraft made 11 on November 1986, when one of the surviving machines, flying out of the Kola Peninsula, successfully landed in Ulyanovsk, where the plane took its rightful place in the local civil aviation museum.

Along with another Soviet jet passenger aircraft of the first generation IL-18, the Tu-104 airliner for a long time became the main passenger aircraft of the Aeroflot company. For example, in 1960, a third of all passenger air travel in the Soviet Union was performed on a Tu-104 aircraft. In total, the fleet of Tu-23 passenger aircraft transported the 104 100 000 passengers during the 000 service year, flying flight hours in the 2 000 000 and flying around 600 000.

On the basis of the Tu-104, a new passenger liner for local airlines, Tu-124, was developed, which belonged to a transitional generation of passenger aircraft. In particular, he has already received dual-turbojet engines. However, this machine did not receive due popularity and was discontinued. At the same time, the experience of creating Tu-104 and Tu-124 jet passenger aircraft was subsequently used by the Tupolev Design Bureau when creating the Tu-134 passenger aircraft - a very successful airliner that has been in operation since 1963 of the year to the present day.

Performance characteristics of the Tu-104B (extended version with 100-local fuselage):

Overall dimensions: length - 40,06 m, height - 11,9 m, wing span - 34,54 m, wing area - 183,5 m2.
Take-off weight - 78 100 kg.
Commercial load - 12 000 kg.
The power plant - two TRD type RD-3M-500, thrust takeoff 2x8750kgs.
Cruising flight speed - 750-800 km / h.
Maximum speed - 950 km / h.
Practical ceiling - 12 000 m.
Flight range with full load 12 000 kg - 2120 km.
Number of passengers - 100 people.
Crew - 4-5 people.

Information sources:
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  1. D-Master
    D-Master 15 September 2016 07: 18
    "There was a time and there were cellars,
    It was the case and prices were reduced.
    And the channels flowed where needed
    And in the end, where necessary, they fell. "
    (V.S. Vysotsky)
    Now it seems like a miracle, but the country after the monstrous war was at the peak of technological development. Of course, Tupolev was a genius, without which the development of Soviet aviation was not conceivable. But only the system itself was built then, and the mobilized country allowed to make such breakthroughs. Strange as it is, the Berye sharashki and the factories in a martial law provided this breakthrough and laid the foundation of the great USSR, the fruits of which we use and sow the day.
    1. Vz.58
      Vz.58 15 September 2016 10: 35
      The first commercial jet powered aircraft, the de Havilland DH 106 Comet, began flying on May 2, 1952. It was created without "sharashki". It is true that Britain was not as defeated by WWII as the USSR
      1. AUL
        AUL 15 September 2016 16: 42
        In total, over the 23 years of operation, the fleet of Tu-104 passenger aircraft carried about 100 passengers, spending 000 flight hours in the air and completing about 000 flights.

        100 000 000/600 000 = 166, (6) people / flight
        Even taking into account the intermediate landings, a heavy load for a 50-70-100-seater airplane!
      2. Alf
        Alf 15 September 2016 17: 47
        True, Britain was not so defeated by World War II as the USSR

        This is only the first part. Do not forget that England did not face the threat of a new war, and she loomed before the USSR from the 46th year. And in Britain there was no war.
      3. Yuri from Volgograd
        Yuri from Volgograd 17 September 2016 22: 34
        Quote: Vz.58
        The first commercial jet powered aircraft, the de Havilland DH 106 Comet, began flying on May 2, 1952. It was created without "sharashki". It is true that Britain was not as defeated by WWII as the USSR

        The comparison is not correct, the position of the countries was unimaginably different.
        The USSR was squeezed worse than lemon. A friend of my father (father of 1947, a blessed memory to the pilot) told me that they were starving in childhood and adolescence, only they ate normally in the army.
        Our grandfathers and fathers were like flint, to modern generations those achievements are inaccessible to principle.
    2. nickname7
      nickname7 4 July 2017 12: 49
      The only author of the article, for some reason, does not specify one, very interesting characteristic of the aircraft industry of the USSR, is the world market share, the manufacture and sale of aircraft abroad.
      Union share was - 40% of the global world market. 40% Karl! And now, a former manufacturer is buying a second hand.
      It seems from the Boeing firm, they gave bribes to the Yeltsin government for the collapse of the pore.
      For reasons of bribery, gagging and stupidity, Roselita deprived herself and the country of income comparable to that of the oil industry.
      // Russia will not be able to take even the declared 5 percent of the global market for civil aircraft //
      1. nickname7
        nickname7 4 July 2017 14: 30
        Since then, the Posnesovets ’elite decided to break up the union, leaving the ethical and moral side of the question why the party nomenclature was sold so cheaply, because the West had not yet expected the collapse of the union, and it was possible to squeeze out favorable conditions for the Russian Federation to surrender and sell it at a premium, guaranteed by the West -
        while maintaining the aviation industry and global market share.
        Conservation merchant fleet,
        The return of the territories of the Russian Federation issued for temporary use to Ukraine, etc.

        The Russian Federation could have been a completely different country if it had not been for the simple losers, all of these “tagged” and “gaydarochubaysy”, mediocrely sold and squandered with such difficulty accumulated, political, technical, territorial resources.
        The Yeltsin center should be destroyed, and in its place it is necessary to build a tombstone with the inscription - "Shame on Yeltsin and all liberals, not because they sold, but shame because they sold cheaply."
  2. Fitter65
    Fitter65 15 September 2016 07: 18
    [quote] On June 17, 2015, the first Tu-104 jet passenger aircraft in the Soviet Union made its flight. / quote]
    Precisely in 2015 and precisely in the Soviet Union? After all, in 2015, the Soviet Union did not seem to be there anymore ?! I understand that many can make mistakes, but not when writing an article that talks about a landmark event for the country and such mistakes ... request
    1. WUA 518
      WUA 518 15 September 2016 07: 26
      Sergey welcome. I did not cover the problem of "pickup". But this problem haunted the plane for about three years, there were several accidents.
      1. corporal
        corporal 15 September 2016 13: 21
        Quote: WUA 518
        there were several disasters.

        ... in total there were 37 accidents with Tu-104 type aircraft, that is 18% of the number of airliners produced. This is the worst figure among all Soviet serial passenger airplanes. In all, 104 people died in disasters associated with the Tu-1140.- from the wiki.
        So it’s illogical to sing the praises of this Tupolev’s craft.
        1. pafegosoff
          pafegosoff 22 September 2016 00: 07
          I confirm that in the seventies, at the flight school, I heard for the first time on the melody of a funeral march: Tu-u one-hundred-four-s-th s-th l-th-s-th s-a-amole ... Use the services a-aeroflo-ota ...
          Later, when I was working at the airport, I heard from a classmate who graduated from IATU how, when he was on vacation in Omsk, in February 1976 his friend was in a disaster. The description was colorful and would take the place of a short story.
        2. Arikkhab
          Arikkhab 30 January 2017 09: 23
          the same de Havilland DH 106 Comet, on 114 issued copies, had 26 accidents (i.e. 29.6%), of which 13 accidents (14.9%) with 426 fatalities. that is, statistics are not much better
          Wiki is "a little" cunning, translating data on "accident" with the Tu-104 - without sharing the accident and disaster (as done for the same de Havilland DH 106 Comet)
          Although the plane was actually a crash, it wasn’t something that stood out from the general statistics on the first jets in the world
  3. avg-mgn
    avg-mgn 15 September 2016 07: 21
    Moderator, correct the 2015 date, all the same in 1955!
    At one time, I had to fly 104 repeatedly as a passenger. In addition to speed, compared with the IL-14 (with its endless landings), or IL-18, there are no positive emotions in the memories. It’s clear that this is the day before yesterday and you can’t compare, say with the TU-134 and 154m, this grandfather, but then it seemed that something was not completed and for the passenger it could be better and smarter. Anyway, thank you Tupolev Design Bureau, and for the TU-114, too, it was somehow more comfortable on it.
    1. FID
      FID 15 September 2016 09: 19
      All your negative feelings are connected with the SCR (air conditioning system), with its subsystem SARD (automatic pressure control system) ... Now, the SARD begins to lower the pressure, when the hatches on the ground are closed, earlier, the SARD was switched on when the "circle" height was reached ... Therefore, it hit my ears and caused a lot of unpleasant feelings ...
      1. Serg 122
        Serg 122 15 September 2016 12: 31
        On a par with other Soviet jet passenger plane first generation IL-18

        Did I miss something? What kind of "new jet IL" have suddenly appeared?
        1. tima_ga
          tima_ga 16 September 2016 19: 18
          Yes, the "jet IL-18" also cut the eye, well, let it be a typo, but about the first generation ... All the same, the first generation of passenger silts, I would consider the IL-14
    2. Vz.58
      Vz.58 15 September 2016 10: 27
      I did not fly on a Tu-104, but I flew on an IL-18. I was about 9 years old, I guess. The most disgusting impression was from visiting the tool at the propeller level. Cracking in the ears remained for a long time. But, they said that the IL-18 is a very reliable machine. The entire Soviet leadership flew on it. And Gagarin flew to Moscow in Vnukovo on the IL-18.
      1. tima_ga
        tima_ga 16 September 2016 19: 20
        The 18th is a truly reliable, economical workhorse. Ershov speaks of him with great warmth in his books
  4. Cat
    Cat 15 September 2016 07: 36
    Interestingly, as the husband exhibits, the Tu 104 and Tu 114 are preserved somewhere?
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. WUA 518
      WUA 518 15 September 2016 07: 49
      Quote: Kotischa
      Interestingly, as the husband exhibits, the Tu 104 and Tu 114 are preserved somewhere?

      In Monino, and Ulyanovsk.
      1. FID
        FID 15 September 2016 09: 20
        The 104th is at the congress from Kiev to Vnukovo .... Great, Sasha!
        1. WUA 518
          WUA 518 15 September 2016 09: 27
          Hi Seryozha. Yeah, I wrote below.
      2. Bersaglieri
        Bersaglieri 15 September 2016 21: 52
        In the picture, not Tu-114, but Tu-116 (aka Tu-95 Salon)
        The Tu-114 is a low wing, however. And the fuselage was redone.
        1. Argon
          Argon 16 September 2016 02: 44
          And I am inclined to believe that in the photo there is a training Tu-95 in a "skin" a la Aeroflot.
    3. Vladimirets
      Vladimirets 15 September 2016 08: 17
      Quote: Kotischa
      Interestingly, as the husband exhibits, the Tu 104 and Tu 114 are preserved somewhere?

      Tu-114, I remember, it used to be in Domodedovo. They say they have already broken, Herods. recourse
      1. WUA 518
        WUA 518 15 September 2016 08: 28
        Quote: Vladimirets
        They say they have already broken, Herods.

        Yes, 10 years. 104th stands on the Kiev highway, in front of Vnukovo.
    4. Vz.58
      Vz.58 15 September 2016 10: 41
      We have preserved 3 Tu-104. Two in museums, Prague-Kbeli and Zruch u Plzne, and one made a restaurant in Petrovocich u Usti nad Labem.
  5. guzik007
    guzik007 15 September 2016 09: 24
    In 7 hours 10 minutes with an intermediate transfer in Omsk, the plane managed to fly to Irkutsk,
    The syllable touches. He managed, managed! As if it was not a planned flight range, but a desperate dashing attempt.
    1. qwert
      qwert 15 September 2016 09: 51
      Quote: guzik007
      The syllable touches. He managed, managed! As if it was not a planned flight range, but a desperate dashing attempt.

      Well, there are, there are irregularities in the article and much is left behind the scenes. Not perfect, but timed to date ... Thanks to the author, I reminded. He reminded of what is worth being proud of and what is worth remembering more often.
  6. cedar
    cedar 15 September 2016 09: 46
    He flew on it, just along his first route, Moscow-Omsk-Irkutsk. December 31, frost for forty, fog, nothing is visible below, circled over Irkutsk for a long time. I thought we’ll go to the reserve and Khan of the New Year’s meeting with his future wife. Crew well done! We landed to the common joy, where it is necessary and as it should. One word - Soviet AEROFLOT!
  7. ava09
    ava09 15 September 2016 10: 43
    (c) Along with other first-generation Soviet jet passenger aircraft Il-18 (s)
    Thanks to the author for opening his eyes - it turns out that the IL-18 was a jet aircraft, not a turboprop ...)
    1. Sergej1972
      Sergej1972 15 September 2016 12: 16
      Are turboprop aircraft not one of the varieties of jet aircraft?
      1. jjj
        jjj 15 September 2016 14: 53
        Quote: Sergej1972
        Are turboprop aircraft not one of the varieties of jet aircraft?

        They are, but publications on VO require more thoroughness to the nuances
  8. uskrabut
    uskrabut 15 September 2016 12: 01
    Thanks to the author, interestingly informative. I would like to read about other domestic aircraft. Maybe Sergey will decide on a series of articles?
  9. Bashibuzuk
    Bashibuzuk 15 September 2016 12: 34
    I did not fly on a Tu-104, it did not happen. Although I saw them.
    And so, he began with IL-18, and happened on the Tu-134, An-24 and 26, Tu-154, Il-86, Il-62. Now there are all kinds of Boeing and Airbasah.
    And of all the planes, the most memorable are the Tu-134 and IL-62. But for me they have remained the coolest aircraft.
    Tu-104 stood in Vnukovo, in Domodedovo Il-18, in my opinion, stood for a long time, in Bykovo An-24 at one time. Where did everything go?
    There, where youth is, it seems.
    1. tima_ga
      tima_ga 16 September 2016 19: 26
      I also like the whistle. In the late 2000s, I specially chose flights for them when I was planning business trips. Then they had a lot of yutes and kolavia flying
  10. Altona
    Altona 15 September 2016 14: 30

    You can see this plane in the movie "713 Requests to Land". The cast includes Vladimir Vysotsky and his future wife Lyudmila Abramova.
  11. THE_SEAL
    THE_SEAL 15 September 2016 15: 35
    Article plus.
  12. andrewkor
    andrewkor 15 September 2016 17: 47
    Flight Novosibirsk-Omsk, Tu-104,1963., We go to the second round before landing. The pilot, seeing the former military man, as he had laid a couple of turns, seemed to me with fear at 45%, half of the passengers took care of myself, including myself !!!! 1973, IL-18, Moscow-Barnaul, 6 hours opposite the screws, hell flour with my height 192cm., But DEMBEL was worth it !!!
  13. Bersaglieri
    Bersaglieri 15 September 2016 17: 57
    The main problem of the Tu-104 is a herbal showroom. In the first years of operation there were problems (eliminated only to the last modification)
    1. avt
      avt 16 September 2016 17: 55
      Quote: Bersaglieri
      The main problem of the Tu-104 is a herbal showroom.

      If !!! Our first jet, turned out of a bomber, got an expensive price!
      Quote: Vz.58
      I did not fly on a Tu-104, but I flew on an IL-18.

      Likewise. Childhood memories - some kind of home, cozy airplane inside, well, unlike the "shed" An - 10A, but my ears fell as soon as the engines started spinning laughing and night landing in Moscow !!!! good
  14. Old
    Old 31 October 2016 18: 40
    And even now it was possible to "give coal" to the country, if not for bureaucratic theft and inaction of the authorities in this regard. That's where the brake is!