Tu-154 B (model). Mosfilm studio, Moscow. Took part in the Soviet disaster film “The crew”

The Tupolev Tu-154 (NATO reporting name: “Careless”) is a three-engined, medium-range, narrow-body airliner designed in the mid-1960s and manufactured by Tupolev. A workhorse of Soviet and (subsequently) Russian airlines for several decades, it carried half of all passengers flown by Aeroflot and its subsidiaries (137.5 million/year or 243.8 billion passenger-km in 1990), remaining the standard domestic-route airliner of Russia and former Soviet states until the mid-2000s. It was exported to 17 non-Russian airlines and used as a head-of-state transport by the air forces of several countries.

The aircraft has a cruising speed of 850 km/h (460 kn; 530 mph) and a range of 5,280 km (3,280 mi). Capable of operating from unpaved and gravel airfields with only basic facilities, it was widely used in the extreme Arctic conditions of Russia’s northern/eastern regions, where other airliners were unable to operate. Originally designed for a 45,000-hour service life (18,000 cycles), but capable of 80,000 hours with upgrades, it was expected to continue in service until 2016, although noise regulations have restricted flights to Western Europe and other regions.

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