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Tupolev Tu-134

Tu-134 of Kosmos in 2008
Role Airliner
Manufacturer Tupolev
First flight 29 July 1963
Introduction September 1967
Status Active service
Primary users Aeroflot (historical)
Soviet Air Force
numerous commercial airlines
Produced 1966–1984
Number built 854 (852 + 2 prototypes)[1]
Developed from Tupolev Tu-124

The Tupolev Tu-134 (NATO reporting name: Crusty) is a twin-engined airliner 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 political intention and 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 854 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 1
  • Operational history 2
  • Variants 3
  • Operators 4
    • Civil operators 4.1
    • Former civil operators 4.2
    • Military operators 4.3
  • Accidents and incidents 5
  • Specifications (Tu-134A) 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Design and development

Tu-134UBL cockpit

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.

Looking through the nose of an Aeroflot-Nord Tu-134 (2009)

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 prototype British BAC One-Eleven, which had a similar layout, crashed with the loss of all crew while testing its stalling properties. The aircraft had entered pitch-up: the high-mounted tailplane became trapped in the turbulent wake produced by the wings (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-124 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 3,100 kilometers to 2,770 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.

Operational history

In September 1967, the Tu-134 made its first scheduled flight from Moscow to 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.
Tupolev Tu-134A with its radar and glass nose
Tu-134UBL "Volga" from 1449th Airbase in Tambov city
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.


Tu-134Sh "Marina Raskova" on the ramp of 1449th Air Base Tambov

Civil operators

As of July 2014 a total of 18 Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft (all variants) remain in airline service.[2] Major operators include:

 North Korea
  • Air Koryo 2 (the final Tu-134 was delivered to this airline)

Former civil operators

Tupolev Tu-134 of Yugoslav airline Aviogenex at Manchester Airport in 1985.
 Soviet Union/ Russia
Tupolev Tu-134A of Ceskoslovenske Aerolinie on charter flight to Pisa Airport in 1975.
  • Georgian International Airlines
  • Transair Georgia
 East Germany
 Yugoslavia/ Serbia

Military operators

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 transport
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.
 Soviet Union
Syrian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force

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 Flight 130 crashed on approach to Rijeka Airport located on the island of Krk, rough landing in bad weather conditions.[6][7]
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 1973 СССР-65668 Amman 7+2/85 Aeroflot Flight 512 aborted takeoff, overran the runway, and crashed into a building.
1 September 1975 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 March 1979 CCCP-65301 Near Liepāja 4/5 While operating a cargo service, the overloaded plane crashed on 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 15/16 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, crashing Aeroflot Flight 5463 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 of Aeroflot Flight 2306.
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 of Aeroflot Flight 6502 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, Aeroflot Flight 892 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.[8]
27 February 1988 CCCP-65675 Surgut, Russia 20/51 Crew error while transitioning from ILS approach to visual landing resulted in Aeroflot Flight 7867 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 27/71 A fire in the cargo hold resulted in an emergency landing of Aeroflot Flight 6246.
27 August 1992 CCCP-65058 Ivanovo, Russia 84/84 Aeroflot Flight 2808 crashed short of the runway while attempting ILS approach.
21 September 1993 CCCP-65893 Georgia 27/27 In September 1993, two Transair Georgia aircraft were shot down in Abkhazia and one was destroyed on the ground.
9 September 1994 RA-65976 Zhukovsky, Russia 8/8 Mid-air collision with Tu-22M bomber during photographic chase flight
24 June 1995 RA-65617 Lagos, Nigeria 16/80 Overran runway in rainstorm
5 December 1995 4K-65703 Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan 52/82 A maintenance error led to a double engine failure when Azerbaijan Airlines Flight 56 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 [9]
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.[10][11]

Source: Aircraft Accident Database[12]

Specifications (Tu-134A)

Data from OAO Tupolev[13]

General characteristics
  • 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)


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Production list Ту-134 на
  2. ^
  3. ^ ST-MRS
  4. ^ "Aviation Safety Network – Imperial Air Peru". Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  5. ^ Aviogenex at, retrieved 13-12-2014
  6. ^ ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev 134A YU-AHZ Rijeka Airport (RJK) — 2 photographs
  7. ^ Авиакатастрофы самолётов Ту-134 (Russian)
  8. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev 134A CCCP-65795 Berlin-Schönefeld". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  9. ^ (Russian)
  10. ^ "Tu-134 passenger plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan". Vestnik Kavkaza. 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  11. ^ "Aviation Herald Report". 
  12. ^ "AirDisaster: Aircraft Accident Database". Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  13. ^ "Tupolev Tu-134". Retrieved 2006-05-10. 

External links

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