|Tu-134 of Kosmos in 2008|
|First flight||29 July 1963|
Soviet Air Force
numerous commercial airlines
|Number built||852 (850 + 2 prototypes)|
|Developed from||Tupolev Tu-124|
The Tupolev Tu-134 (NATO reporting name: Crusty) is a twin-engined airliner, similar to the French Sud Aviation Caravelle and the later-designed American Douglas DC-9, and built in the Soviet Union from 1966 to 1984. The original version featured a glazed-nose design and, like certain other Russian airliners (including its sister model the Tu-154), it can operate from unpaved airfields. One of the most widely used aircraft in former Warsaw Pact countries, the number in active service is decreasing because of noise restrictions. The model has seen long-term service with some 42 countries, with some European airlines having scheduled as many as 12 daily takeoffs and landings per plane. In addition to regular passenger service, it has also been used in various air force, army and navy support roles; for pilot and navigator training; and for aviation research and test projects. In recent years, a number of Tu-134s have been converted for use as VIP transports and business jets. A total of 852 Tu-134s were built of all versions (including test bed examples) with Aeroflot as the largest user; by 1995, the Tu-134 had carried 360 million passengers for that airline.
Design and development
Following the introduction of engines mounted on pylons on the rear fuselage by the French Sud Aviation Caravelle, airliner manufacturers around the world rushed to adopt the new layout. Its advantages included clean wing airflow without disruption by nacelles or pylons and decreased cabin noise. At the same time, placing heavy engines that far back created challenges with the location of the center of gravity in relation to the center of lift, which was at the wings. To make room for the engines, the tailplanes had to be relocated to the tail fin, which had to be stronger and therefore heavier, further compounding the tail-heavy arrangement.
During a 1960 visit to France, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was so impressed by the quiet cabin of the Caravelle, that on 1 August 1960 the Tupolev OKB received an official directive to create the Tu-124A with a similar engine arrangement. The requirement was also driven by the need to replace slow, aging piston-engined Il-14s on domestic routes. In 1961, the Soviet state airline, Aeroflot, updated its requirement specifications to include greater payload and passenger capacity. The first Tu-124A prototype, SSSR-45075, first flew on 29 July 1963. Then, on 22 October 1963, the British BAC One-Eleven, which had a similar layout, crashed with the loss of all crew. The aircraft had stalled shortly after takeoff and entered pitch-up: The high-mounted tailplane became trapped in the turbulent wake produced by the wings (see deep stall), which prevented recovery from the stall. As a result, the tailplane on Tu-124A was enlarged by 30% for greater control authority. Since Aeroflot's requirements dictated a larger aircraft than initially planned, the Soloviev design bureau developed the more powerful D-30 low-bypass turbofan engines. On 20 November 1963, the new airliner was officially designated Tu-134.
Design curiosities of the Tu-134 included a sharp wing sweepback of 35 degrees, compared to 25–28 degrees in its counterparts. The engines on early production Tu-134s lacked thrust reversers, which made the aircraft one of the few airliners to use a brake parachute for landing. The majority of onboard electronics operated on direct current. The lineage of early Soviet airliners could be traced directly to the Tupolev Tu-16 strategic bomber, and the Tu-134 carried over the glass nose for the navigator and the landing gear fitted with low-pressure tires to permit operation from unpaved airfields. Serial production began in 1966 at the Kharkov Aviation Production Association, and production of the Tu-126 was discontinued. The Tu-134 was designed for short-haul lines with low passenger traffic. Originally the aircraft had 56 seats in a single class configuration, or 50 seats in a two-class configuration. In 1968, Tupolev began work on an improved Tu-134 variant with a 72 seat capacity. The fuselage received a 2.1-metre (6 ft 11 in) plug for greater passenger capacity and an auxiliary power unit in the tail. As a result, the maximum range was reduced from 3100 kilometers to 2770 kilometers. The upgraded D-30 engines now featured thrust reversers, replacing the cumbersome parachute. The first Tu-134A, converted from a production Tu-134, flew on 22 April 1969. The first airline flight was on 9 November 1970. An upgraded version, the Tu-134B began production in 1980, with the navigator position finally abandoned, and seating capacity increased to 96 seats. Efforts subsequently began to develop a Tu-134D with increased engine thrust, but the project was cancelled.
In September 1967, the Tu-134 made its first scheduled flight from Moscow to Adler. The Tu-134 was the first Soviet airliner to receive international certification from the International Civil Aviation Organization, which permitted it to be used on international routes. Due to this certification, Aeroflot used most of its Tu-134s on international routes. In 1968, the first export customers, Interflug of East Germany and LOT Polish Airlines purchased the Tu-134. In spring, 1969, the Tu-134 was displayed at the Paris Air Show.
From 1972, Aeroflot began placing the Tu-134 in domestic service to Baku, Yerevan, Kiev, Kishinev, Krasnodar, Leningrad, Omsk, Riga, and Sochi from Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. In its early years, the Tu-134 developed a reputation for reliability and efficiency, especially when compared with previous Soviet designs. However, after the establishment of tougher noise standards in the ICAO regulations in 2002, the Tu-134 was banned from most western European airports for its high noise levels. As late as early 2006, 245 Tu-134s were still in operation, 162 of which were in Russia. However, after a fatal accident in March 2007, and at the instigation of Russian Minister of Transportation Igor Levitin, Aeroflot announced that it would be retiring its fleet, and the last Tu-134 was removed from service on 1 January 2008. However, some are still in operations with Aeroflot subsidiaries on local routes within Russia. The Tu-134 also found a new life as a business jet with many having an expensive business interior installed. High fuel and maintenance costs are increasingly limiting the number used today. In June 2011, as a response to RusAir Flight 9605 which resulted in 47 fatalities, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev ordered preparations for taking the Tu-134 out of use by 2012. Many Tu-134s have been preserved as memorials at airports throughout the former Soviet Union.
- The glass nosed version. The first series could seat up to 64 passengers, and this was later increased to 72 passengers. The original designation was Tu-124A.
- Second series, with upgraded engines, improved avionics, seating up to 84 passengers. All Tu-134A variants have been built with the distinctive glass nose and chin radar dome, but some were modified to the B standard with the radar moved to the nose radome.
- The glass nose was replaced.
- Second series, powered by two uprated Soloviev D-30 turbofan engines.
- Most recent version.
- Second series, 80 seats, radar moved to the nose radome, eliminating the glazed nose. Some Tu-134B models have long-range fuel tanks fitted under the fuselage; these are visible as a sizeable bulge.
- Space shuttle work model.
- Cosmonaut training version.
- Bomber aircrew training version.
- Naval version of Tu-134UBL. Only one was ever built.
- Navigation training version, fitted with a Tu-22M radar in the nose.
- Crop survey version.
As of 5 July 2011 a total of 233 Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft (all variants) remain in airline service. Major operators include:
- Air Koryo 2 (the final Tu-134 was delivered to this airline)
- Aero Rent 2
- Aeroflot-Plus 3
- Alrosa-Avia 2
- Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise 2
- Centre-South 10
- Izhavia 4
- Jet air group
- Katekavia 2
- Kosmos Airlines 2
- Polet Airlines 1
- Rossiya Airlines (government fleet) 6 + 4 stored
- Sirius-Aero 3
- UTair Express 26
- Georgian International Airlines 1
- Ukraine Air Enterprise 4
- Marsland Aviation 1 (operated for Dove Air) 
Former civil operators
- Ariana Afghan Airlines
- Balkan Bulgarian Airlines
- CSA Czech Airlines
- Estonian Air
- Transair Georgia
- Malév Hungarian Airlines
- Atyrau Airways
- Euro-Asia Air
- Kazair West
- Kyrgyzstan Air Company - 1 crashed on December 28, 2011
- Kyrgyzstan Airlines
- Lithuanian Airlines
- Imperial Air 
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Samara Airlines
- People's Air and Air Defence Force of Angola
- Armenian Air Force - 1 stored
- Azerbaijan Air Force - former operator
- Belarus Air Force - former operator
- Czech Republic
- Czech Air Force - former operator
- Czechoslovakian Air Force - Passed on successor states
- Bulgarian Air Force - former operator
- German Air Force - former operator, taken over from East German Air Force after German reunification
- Georgian Air Force - former operator
- East Germany
- East German Air Force - former operator
- Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan - 2 use to passenger trasport
- Moldovan Air Force - former operator
- North Korea
- North Korean Air Force
- Polish Air Force. Operated 2 from 1972 to 1977 (later LOT) and 2 from 1977 to 1992. Retired, replaced by 2 Tupolev Tu-154M.
- Russian Air Force – 1449th Air Base located at Tambov
- Russian Naval Aviation
- Russian Coast Guard
- Russian Presidential Transport Flight
- Soviet Air Force
- Soviet Naval Aviation. Passed on successor states.
- Soviet Space Agency
- Soviet Internal Troops – Prisoner Transport Service
Accidents and incidents
Some 69 Tu-134 have been destroyed in accidents and wars, of which 35 were non-fatal incidents (in one of the remaining 34 fatal incidents no one on the plane died).
|Date||Tail number||Crash Site||Casualties||Brief description|
|14 January 1966||СССР-45076||Near Chkalovsky Airport||8/8||Crash of second prototype in flight testing.|
|23 May 1971||YU-AHZ||near Rijeka, Croatia||78/83||Aviogenex Tupolev Tu-134 crashed on approach to Rijeka Airport located on the island of Krk, rough landing in bad weather conditions.|
|16 September 1971||HA-LBD||Kiev, Ukraine||49/49||Malev Airlines Flight 110 crashed near Boryspil International Airport, Kiev in bad weather, following two missed approaches, after a generator failure caused the crew to switch to batteries.|
|30 June 1974||СССР-65668||Amman||7+2/84||Failed takeoff, crashed into buildings.|
|9 January 1976||DM-SCD||Leipzig||27/34||Pilot failed to check rate of descent, crashed on landing. Later sentenced to 5 years in prison for negligence. Other crewmembers sentenced to three years.|
|10 July 1977||CCCP-65639||Helsinki (hijacking)||0/74||A scheduled flight from Petrozavodsk to Leningrad was hijacked by Gennadi Sheludko and Alexandr Zagirnyak who tried to divert it to Sweden, but the plane landed in Helsinki instead. The hijackers surrendered the next day and were extradited to the Soviet Union.|
|16 March 1978||LZ-TUB||Near Sofia, Bulgaria||73/73||Balkan Bulgarian Airlines flight crashed on climb out from Sofia Airport near the village of Gabare, Bulgaria.|
|22 May 1979||65301||Near Liepāja||4/5||Overloaded plane failed landing in poor weather|
|11 August 1979||СССР-65816, СССР-65735||Near Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine||96/96 + 84/84||Two Aeroflot Tu-134s collided near Dneprodzerzhinsk, Ukraine.|
|17 June 1982||CCCP-65687||Severomorsk, Russia||18/19||A test aircraft operated by the Soviet government crashed during landing. The pilot had ignored warnings that he was descending too fast, collided with radio tower|
|30 August 1983||CCCP-65129||Alma-Ata||90/90||Pilot ignored altimeter, crashed on landing|
|18 November 1983||CCCP-65807||Tbilisi||8/NA||Failed hijacking: plane destroyed when commandos stormed cockpit.|
|10 January 1984||LZ-TUR||Sofia, Bulgaria||50/50||Balkan Bulgarian Airlines Tupolev Tu-134 crashed on approach to Sofia Airport.|
|1 February 1985||CCCP-65910||Minsk, Belarus||58/80||The crew failed to de-ice the wings before takeoff, causing a crash.|
|3 May 1985||CCCP-65856||near Lviv||15+ 79/79||Mid-air collision with military An-24|
|2 July 1986||CCCP-65120||Syktyvkar, Russia||54/94||An uncontrolled fire in the rear cargo hold led to a crash.|
|19 October 1986||C9-CAA||Mbuzini, South Africa||34/44||Mozambican Presidential Jet crashed on approach during a thunderstorm due to failure of the ground proximity warning system.|
|20 October 1986||CCCP-65766||Kuybyshev, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia||70/94||A very hard landing caused the landing gear to collapse and the aircraft to break into several pieces. Pilot sentenced to six years in prison.|
|12 December 1986||CCCP-65795||Berlin, East Germany||72/82||After being cleared to land on runway 25L at Berlin Schönefeld Airport, the Aeroflot flight from Minsk proceeded to approach runway 25R which was closed for construction. While attempting to switch to the correct runway, the aircraft struck trees and crashed.|
|27 February 1988||CCCP-65675||Surgut, Russia||20/51||Crew error while transitioning from ILS approach to visual landing resulted in the aircraft crashing to the right of the runway.|
|9 September 1988||VN-A102||Bangkok, Thailand||76/90||Vietnam Airlines Flight 831 crashed while attempting ILS approach in poor weather when the captain failed to execute a missed approach at the decision altitude.|
|13 January 1990||CCCP-65951||Pervouralsk, Russia||27/72||A fire in the cargo hold resulted in an emergency landing.|
|27 August 1992||CCCP-65058||Ivanovo, Russia||84/84||Crashed short of the runway while attempting ILS approach.|
|21 September 1993||CCCP-65893||Sukhumi, Georgia||27/27||In September 1993, three Transair Georgia aircraft were shot down in Abkhazia.|
|9 September 1994||CCCP-65976||Zhukovskydisambiguation needed, Russia||7/7||Mid-air collision with Tu-25M bomber during training flight|
|24 June 1995||CCCP-65617||Lagos,Nigeria||16/80||Overran runway in rainstorm|
|5 December 1995||4K-65703||Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan||44/82||A maintenance error led to a double engine failure when the aircraft was taking off, causing the crash.|
|3 September 1997||VN-A120||Phnom Penh, Cambodia||65/66||Vietnam Airlines Flight 815 descended below its approach path on a non-precision approach. Despite warnings from the other crew members that the craft was too low, the captain continued the approach, resulting in the crash.|
|24 August 2004||RA-65080||Buchalki, Russia||44/44||Forty-one minutes after taking off from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, the aircraft disappeared from radar. Witnesses reported seeing an explosion in the sky, and wreckage was located shortly thereafter. Later investigation revealed that the aircraft had been destroyed by terrorist bomber, along with Tu-154 airliner on the same day.|
|17 March 2007||RA-65021||Samara, Russia||6/57||A UTair Tu-134 crashed about 400 metres short of the runway in poor weather due to air traffic control error. The aircraft then bounced and inverted.|
|20 June 2011||RA-65691||Petrozavodsk, Karelia, Russia||47/52||After technical problems trying to land in heavy fog, and unable to reach Petrozavodsk Airport, RusAir Flight 9605 tried to land on a road 2 km from the airport at 1955 UTC (2355 MSD). The plane flipped and caught fire as it struck the ground. There is speculation that the pilot may have mistaken the motorway for the runway |
|28 December 2011||EX-020||Osh, Kyrgyzstan||0/79||This plane belonged to the Kyrgyzstan Air Company. A hard landing in marginal weather conditions led one wing to shear off. The aircraft went off the runway where it turned over on one of its sides. A fire then started with no casualties.|
Source: Aircraft Accident Database
Data from OAO Tupolev
- Crew: 3–5 + 3–4 flight attendants
- Capacity: 72–84 passengers
- Payload: 8,200 kg (18,075 lb)
- Length: 37.10 m (121 ft 8 in)
- Wingspan: 29.00 m (95 ft 1 in)
- Height: 9.02 m (29 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 127.3 m² (1,370.24 ft²)
- Empty weight: 27,960 kg (61,640 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 47,600 kg (104,940 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Soloviev D-30-II turbofans, 66.68 kN (14,990 lbf) each
- Fuselage diameter: 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in)
- Fuel capacity: 13,200 l (2,900 imp gal; 3,500 US gal)
- Maximum speed: 950 km/h (485 kn, 559 mph)
- Cruise speed: 850–900 km/h (405 kn, 466 mph)
- Range: 1,900–3,000 km (1,025 nmi, 1,180 mi)
- Ferry range: 3,200 km(1,890 nmi, 2,175 mi)
- Service ceiling: 12,100 m (39,040 ft)
- AeroTransport Data Bank
- "Aviation Safety Network – Imperial Air Peru". http://aviation-safety.net/database/operator/airline.php?var=6010. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev 134A YU-AHZ Rijeka Airport (RJK) — 2 photographs
- Авиакатастрофы самолётов Ту-134 (Russian)
- "ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev 134A CCCP-65795 Berlin-Schönefeld". http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19861212-0. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- (Russian) http://web.archive.org/web/20110623190731/http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/169237.html
- "Tu-134 passenger plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan". Vestnik Kavkaza. 2011-12-28. http://vestnikkavkaza.net/news/society/21387.html. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Aviation Herald Report". http://avherald.com/h?article=4486342a.
- "AirDisaster: Aircraft Accident Database". http://www.airdisaster.com/cgi-bin/aircraft_detail.cgi?aircraft=Tupolev+TU-134. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- "Tupolev Tu-134". http://tupolev.ru/Russian/Show.asp?SectionID=144. Retrieved 2006-05-10.
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