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Tupolev Tu-104

tu-104b
Tu-104B


With an urgent Aeroflot need in the early 1950s for a modern airliner of greater capacity, range and speed than in-service aircraft, the Tupolev design bureau developed as the Tupolev Tu-104 a minimum-change civil version of the Tu-16 bomber, basically by introducing a new pressurised fuselage.

The first Soviet jet airliner was the Tu-104, which utilised the wings, engines, undercarriage and tail unit of the Tu-16 bomber in order to obtain a production jetliner in the minimum possible time. The navigator even had access to a bomber-style glazed nose.

The prototype made its first flight on 17 June 1955 and the type entered Aeroflot service in September 1956. Introduced first on the Moscow-Irkutsk route, the 50-passenger Tu-104 was powered by two 6750kg thrust Mikulin AM-3 turbojets and immediately reduced flight times by more than half, bringing transformation to the airline's medium-range routes. In March 1956 the prototype visited Londons Heathrow Airport, and the aircraft was in regular service by that September. 

 

Tup-Tu-104

 

The powerplant was later uprated to the 8700kg thrust Mikulin AM-3M, which also powered the improved Tu-104A featuring a revised cabin for 70 passengers. About 20 Tu-104s were built before production switched to the stretched, 70-seat Tu-104A.

Continuing development of the Mikulin engine encouraged development of the lengthened fuselage (by 1.21m) Tu-104B, with standard seating for 100 passengers. This entered service on 15 April 1959. A four-engined derivative, the 100-seat Tu-110, was flown in prototype form only, but its larger fuselage was combined with standard Tu-104 wings to produce the Tu-104B. The Tu-104B was basically a stretched and re-engined version.

A handful of Tu-104Gs were produced for crew training duties by the simple expedient of converting Tu-16 bombers, without any real passenger accommodation.

 

On 15 February, 1961, at an altitude of 10 km, the first in the Soviet Union observation of the solar eclipse was made from a Tu-104.

 

When production ended the following year about 200 Tu-104s of all versions had been built, these serving Aeroflot reliably until 1981. The designations Tu-104D and Tu-104V were applied to Tu-104As with in-service modifications to accommodate 100 and 85 passengers respectively, without the fuselage stretch. Six aircraft supplied to the Czechoslovakian airline CSA were basically Tu-104As seating 81 passengers, and small numbers of Tu-104s have been used by the WS for cosmonaut training and as personnel transports. One, with a pointed nose, served as a weather research aircraft.

The Tu-104E was used to set a 2000km closed circuit record while carrying a 15-tonne payload. The NATO reporting codename for the Tu-104 was 'Camel'. At least one aircraft was converted on the production line to serve as the Tu-110 prototype, with four engines in the wingroots. It was assigned to the VVS after rejection by Aeroflot despite superior economy, field length requirements, performance and handling.

 

 Tup-Tu104-03

 

Tu-104A
Engines: 2 x 19,180 lb. (8,700 kg.) thrust Mikolin AM-3M turbojet.
Length 126.3 ft. (38.50 m.)
Wing span 113.3 ft. (34.54 m.)
Max. T.O. Weight 166,450 lb. (75,500 kg.)
Max cruise 560 m.p.h. (900 km.p.h.)
Cruise alt: 39,000ft. (12,000 m.) fully loaded.
Range: 2,610 miles (4,200 km.) with 17,640 lb. (8,000 kg.) payload.

Tu-104B
Engines: 2 x Mikulin AM-3M-500 turbo-jets, 95.1kN
Max take-off weight: 76000 kg / 167552 lb
Empty weight: 41600 kg / 91713 lb
Wingspan: 34.54 m / 113 ft 4 in
Length: 40.05 m / 131 ft 5 in
Height: 11.9 m / 39 ft 1 in
Wing area: 183.5 sq.m / 1975.18 sq ft
Ceiling: 11500 m / 37750 ft
Range w/max.payload: 2650 km / 1647 miles
Crew: 5
Passengers: 50-100

tu-104-ld
Tupolev Tu-104

 

 

 


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