WINGED "GRANT" DOMESTIC AVIATION
To date, the Ministry of Defense, the Federal Security Service and other power structures have several dozen of this type of aircraft in operation. The main reasons for the refusal of production of "154-th" were not only the development of the resource and the obsolescence of his model, but also the low fuel efficiency of the engines. At the plant, only servicing of flying carcasses is now being carried out. However, the company is upgrading the Tu-154 aircraft of the Russian Air Force as part of their major overhaul - new systems and equipment are being installed on the “Tupolevs”.
At one time, "Tupolev-154" replaced the Tu-104 and An-10, and later ousted and old-timer of the domestic passenger aviation IL-18 (today dozens of such "sludge" also continue to be used in the Air Force). The first flight of the Big Carcass, as the Soviet pilots soon nicknamed the small carcass (the Small Carcass was called the Tu-134, taken out of production in the 1989 year), took place the 3 of October 1968 of the year, but only four appeared on the medium-length Aeroflot routes a year later. Repeatedly modernized, “154-y” flew to many airports of the USSR, as well as more than 80 cities in the world. Mass production (three to five copies per month) was stopped in Samara in 1998. Since then, only a few cars have been “completed”.
However, the operation of many aircraft of this type in Russia and some countries of the world is still ongoing. So, nowadays about 100 units of Tu-154 are flying in Russia, and the largest foreign operator of this aircraft is Kazakhstan, where “on the wing” 12 of such machines. Five “Big Carcasses” are available in Belarus and Tajikistan, three each - in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and China.
The longest non-stop route on which the Tu-154 was used is Moscow-Neryungri (this is in Yakutia, 5200 km); Boeing 737-700 is flying on it now. And the shortest is Tashkent – Namangan: just some 189 km, for such an aircraft flying at a speed of 900 km per hour, this is not the distance: it barely took off — and already the landing. But recently, presidential pool journalists flew Tu-154 to Ryazan (180 km), where Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the modernization of military education. However, it was a single similar flight.
UNIQUE LANDING IN A DEATH SITUATION
Several interesting stories are connected with the Tu-154. The most recent happened to the old-time passenger aircraft 29 April 2011, and it is connected with the air force board. For some reason, the RA-85563 board was not in use for a decade and was standing in the hangar, suddenly there was a need in it, and it was decided to overtake it for repair in Samara. As soon as the Tu-154B-2 took off from the Moscow-based Chkalovsky military airfield (800-I Air Force Base of the Russian Defense Ministry), something wrong happened to him. From the ground one could see how the liner began to swing right and left, it began to bounce. This was noticed from the ground, they aimed at it with some video recording tools that someone had, expecting that “dull-witted” was about to fall, and these records were posted on the Internet. The plane, however, did not collapse, and journalists who painted the case "in verse and color" immediately dubbed it dancing or tumbling.
On the ground, it turned out that the aircraft had an automatic on-board control system (ABSU): either the manual control of the hangar idle for 11 had fallen into disrepair for years, or the on-board engineer had incorrectly connected one of the batteries before departure. When the ABSU was checked before departure, it did not cause any complaints.
Anyway, the airliner became uncontrollable, and the pilots had to land it due to manipulations with the engines and ailerons. Here the plane was swinging in the air, like on a swing - it fell on one or the other wing, losing altitude. This bumpiness continued for 13 minutes, during which time several approaches were made. “Above Schelkovo, we were especially hard hitted,” the crew commander Yury Rodionov later said. - And so it was that I recognized the Globus store.
The Moscow military prosecutor’s office, investigating the incident, finally stated that the crew, forced to stop the flight mission, “due to high professionalism and high skill, put the plane on the second runway on the Chkalovsky airfield, avoiding casualties among military personnel and the local population”. In this case, the pilots "did not receive injuries, the aircraft has no technical damage."
When the trial was over, the pilots — Air Force Commander Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Rodionov, Navigator Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Petukhov, Flight Engineer Major Igor Tarasov and Assistant Commander Captain Ivan Khalyapin — were presented by the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force to state awards. All four were awarded the Order of Courage.
They also wrote that several civilian airlines soon after this incident offered Rodionov to fly from them. And he readily agreed, especially since, they say, they began to look askance at him at the air base: who knows, what if he really didn’t check that ABSU itself. However, this information was not officially confirmed: the Air Force reported that Lieutenant Colonel Rodionov did not submit a report of dismissal from military service.
The most unique case of the Tu-154 was 7 September 2010. Udachny (Yakutia) flying to Moscow from the RA-85684 board after three and a half hours of flight suddenly had a power failure, which led to the cessation of the operation of the fuel pumps and partial loss of control of the aircraft. The connection with the ground was also broken. Under these conditions, the crew went down and intended to bring the car in trouble to the river Izhma. The benefit of the pilots was noticed by the airport of local airlines in the village of the same name (Komi Republic). However, seven years before it was closed, it was used only as a helipad, and its airstrip was significantly shorter than what was needed for the Tu-154.
The weather was also not favorable: low clouds, cross wind, other factors that increased the risk of landing. But there was no other choice. Having shown unparalleled skill and courage, the pilots put the still de-energized "carcass". She drove away far beyond the takeoff, but still none of the 72 passengers, as well as all nine crew members, suffered.
Such a successful landing of an emergency vehicle in such conditions was regarded by Russian aviation specialists as a miracle. The aircraft commander Yevgeny Novoselov and the second pilot Andrey Limanov were awarded the title of Hero of Russia for this feat with the award of Gold Stars, and all other crew members, including flight attendants, were awarded the Order of Courage. By the way, the plane, on which two engines were replaced in Izhme due to branches hitting them during a hard landing, was again “put on the wing” six months later and continues to be operated now.
HOW “GREAT BIRDS” DROWED
You can say, "Tupolev-154" played a major role in the famous first Soviet disaster film "The Crew". In it, as in the real “hopeless” cases described above, everything ended successfully for passengers and the heroic crew. But in reality, due to the mass character of the car, a number of tragic states of emergency are connected with it.
In total, 72 of this type of aircraft was lost in accidents and serious accidents in different countries, 3172 people died. The most significant loss in the domestic and one of the largest in world aviation occurred on July 10 of the year 1985. The overloaded board number 85311, performing a regular flight from Uzbekistan along the Karshi – Ufa – Leningrad route, fell at night from the height of 11 600 meters into a flat spin and crashed into 30 km north-east of Uchkuduk. The victims of the fall, including nine crew members, were 200 people (including 52 children).
It is also memorable how the 10 of April of 2010 of the year at the Tu-154 crashed near Smolensk, the Polish delegation led by the country's President Lech Kaczynski. The published data on the causes of the disaster indicate that the pilots of the Polish side of the number 1 showed unprecedented carelessness, went to all conceivable and inconceivable violations of safety rules. Recall that they performed landing at zero visibility, "by touch", ignoring the repeated signals from the technician about a dangerous approach to the ground. And in general, according to the conclusions of the Polish side, the crew was so ill prepared to fly that it should not have received permission for it.
And with another “154th” catastrophe happened on earth - a catastrophe for the most part moral. For 40 years he stood in front of the former Aviation and Cosmonautics pavilion on the territory of VDNH-VVC in Moscow Tu-154, which was an airplane museum and was one of the symbols of the exhibition. They knew him, they went to him, they loved him. Over the years, millions of people visited the cabin and the cabin of the liner, they could "steer", which was especially liked by the children. In September 2008, this board 85005 was publicly barbarously destroyed for several days under the pretext of freeing up the occupied space for the construction of an office and entertainment center. There were a lot of indignation, but to save historical the copy failed, it was cut and handed over for scrap.
Alan Kudinov, then deputy head of the recreational and leisure complex of GAO VVTs OJSC, stated that "in theory, the achievements of the Russian aircraft industry should stand, and this is a monument, monuments are not the place." And the place here, in his own words, is “Sukhoy-Superjet-100”. Maybe he is right, but still ... It was not for nothing that Gurgen Grigoryan, who was the general director of the Polytechnic Museum at that time, retorted: “From my point of view, the destruction of the Tu-154 is a manifestation of such a level of lack of culture and boorish shameless attitude towards people who cannot do not overwhelm.
WHO GOES FOR CHANGING
Tu-154, nicknamed in NATO for some reason, "Carefree", also serves the cause of military security. In 90-s, two cars were re-equipped as part of the Open Skies program and still carry out observation flights over the territories of the states parties to the treaty.
Perhaps the winged veteran will still plow the sky for 10 years. What kind of car is he replacing? It is reported that this will be the new wide-body MS-21 aircraft, which so far only exists in the layout. The model was presented at the MAKS air show in August in Zhukovsky near Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev got acquainted with him, who was assured that MC-21, as finished products of the Russian aviation industry, will be finally certified and will be commissioned in the 2017 year. It is created by the Irkut Corporation (specializes in the production of Su-30 and Su-27 fighters, as well as the Be-200 amphibian aircraft). Presenting the novelty, Mikhail Pogosyan, head of the United Aircraft Building Corporation, noted at that time that the Tu-154 had developed its time and the practice of its operation showed that it was socially the most demanded liner. But now the airline rush to get rid of it as soon as possible. More economical and modern aircraft, they still have to buy in the West.
The future domestic successor to the history of the "Big Carcass" is created in several versions. The most common of them is designed for 180 passengers, and its flight range will be 3,5 – 4 thousand km. The plane is still in layout, but today, according to Poghosyan, there are 21 orders for the MS-256. Its advantage is that it is much wider than the Boeing 737: two people can freely disperse in the aisle. It is also important that the new product will be 20% cheaper due to reduced fuel and maintenance costs, as well as due to new materials. This will allow airlines to reduce ticket prices by 15%. We wait and find out.