Tupolev Tu-154

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Overhead view of Tu-154 airliner, operated by Aeroflot at Moscow airport.

The Tupolev Tu-154 (NATO reporting name Careless) is a Russian medium-range trijet airliner. It remains the standard airliner for domestic routes in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union and to a lesser extent in eastern Europe and Iran.

The Tu-154 was developed fom the twin-engined Tupolev Tu-134 to replace the jet-powered Tupolev Tu-104, plus the Antonov An-10 and Ilyushin Il-18 turboprops. It is sometimes called the "Tu-134 with everything thrice." It is designed to operate from austere gravel airfields, to be able to fly at high altitudes above most Soviet Union air traffic, and for takeoff performance.


Design features

Tu-154M, operated by , at Moscow airport.
Tu-154M, operated by KMV Avia, at Moscow airport.

Its construction is sturdy, with 14 big low-pressure tyres enabling it to land on snow-covered unpaved runways without sustaining serious damage. Initially it had three rear-mounted Kuznetsov NK-8-2 jet engines, arranged like the engines on the Boeing 727, giving it a relatively good thrust-to-weight ratio. It has triple bogie main undercarriage units which retract into wing pods, and a T-tail empennage. These features make Tu-154 a reliable and economical workhorse. Close to 1000 have been built with requests even today for resumption of production.

Statistically, the Tu-154 has one of the poorest safety records. However, Tupolev 154's chequered safety record owes more to errors than technical problems.

For individuals used to Boeing or Airbus airliners, the cabin of the Tu-154 can seem cramped. The impression is of an oval interior, with a lower ceiling than is common on western airliners.

An Aeroflot Tu154 between Moscow and Ekaterinburg in 2005 was arranged with 3x3 seating, with even less legroom than the most tightly packed budget US airlines. In order to stand upright, it was necessary to fold down the next seat forward.

The underseat space was dominated by a large round bar, making it impractical to place much of anything under the seat in front of you. The overhead bin was too small for much other than coats and purses. One should plan luggage carefully, bearing these facts in mind.


Many variants of this versatile airliner have been built. Apart from the normal differences between weights and powerplants, the Tu-154 even has a couple of completely esoterically fuelled versions! Like its western counterpart, the Boeing 727, many of the Tu-154s in service have been hush-kitted, and some converted to freighters.

Tu-154 / Tu-154A / Tu-154B

The Tu-154 entered service with Aeroflot in 1972. Three variants, all powered by Kuznetsov, have been built. The initial Tu-154, the heavier Tu-154A with more powerful engines, and the Tu-154B with a further increase in maximum takeoff weight. Tu-154S is a freighter version of the Tu-154B.

Tu-155 / Tu-156

One of the more radical projects based on this aircraft is the methane-powered Tu-155 and Tu-156. The Tu-155 prototype uses methane fuel for its central engine, while in the Tu-156 all three engines are adapted for methane burning.


Currently, the Tu-154M is the production standard which first flew in 1982. It uses more efficient Aviadvigatel turbofans. It is far more economical, quiet, and reliable than previous versions. Aeroflot consistently achieves dispatch reliability above 99% with the Tu-154M, which compares favorably with current western airliners.

Specifications (Tu-154M)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Capacity: 158-164
  • Length: 47.60 m (157 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 37.55 m (123 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 11.40 m (37 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 201.5 m² (2,168 ft²)
  • Empty: 55,300 kg (122,000 lb)
  • Loaded: kg ( lb)
  • Maximum takeoff: 90,000 kg (200,000 lb)
  • Powerplant:Kuznetsov NK-8-2 turbofans; kN ( lbf) thrust


  • Maximum speed: 975 km/h ( mph)
  • Range: 5,280 km ( miles)
  • Service ceiling: 12,100 m ( ft)
  • Rate of climb: m/min ( ft/min)
  • Wing loading: kg/m² ( lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight:

Related content

Related development: Tu-134

Comparable aircraft: BAC Trident - Boeing 727 - Hawker-Siddeley Trident

Designation sequence: Tu-143 - Tu-144 - Tu-148 - Tu-154 - Tu-155 - Tu-156 - Tu-160 - Tu-204 - Tu-214

Related lists: List of airliners

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Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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