Browsing Tag: Tupolev

Our chariot, EY-85748, on the ground at Minsk National Airport. - Photo : Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Our chariot, EW-85748, on the ground at Minsk National Airport – Photo : Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

From the [AR]vault: This story was originally published on June 8, 2015.

The Tupelov Tu-154 is a classic airliner that many AvGeeks admire, but unfortunately it will no longer be able to fly with-in continental Europe. I was lucky enough to snag a seat on the last flight, a Tu-154M on Belavia to Minsk (MSQ).

You see, many in Europe were getting upset with the rare Soloviev D-30 engine gracing their passenger airports. The noise and the environmental impact did not make many friends. It is too bad, because it’s not like the 737-800 is replacing the Tu-154M on a one-to-one basis with every airline operating them at a speed comparable to that of light anyway. Why even bother other than to make a point?

My friend, who happens to divide his time between Paris and Minsk, runs an aviation enthusiast tour company and asked if I wanted to join a group to give the Tu-154 a send-off from Europe. I packed my things and ended up in Geneva (GVA) on May 29th, 2015.

RA-64518 preparing for the long journey to Komsomolsk-na-Amure on the ramp at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

RA-64518 preparing for the long journey to Komsomolsk-na-Amure on the ramp at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Preface: As I was stepping off my flight onto a hard stand at Domodedovo, I learned that Aeroflot was purchasing Transaero. What that will mean for Transaero is unclear at this time. What I can assume, however, is that Aeroflot’s dislike of oddball fleet types puts Transaero’s three Tupolev Tu-214s in extreme danger and that makes me sad. It also made the fact that I have now flown on a Tu-214 that much more important. The things that I had to do to get that flight — they might cause the standard AvGeek to go mad!

An Air Koryo Tu-154B-2 parked on the ramp at FNJ. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.

An Air Koryo Tu-154B-2 parked on the ramp at FNJ – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I have a strange and obsessive love for the Tupolev Tu-154. How obsessive, you ask? Well, take a look at my model cabinet. That’s right. I own every possible Tu-154 model out there. I even have a few custom ones on order.

No one can say I don't love the Tu-154. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

No one can say I don’t love the Tu-154 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

I seek out 154s to fly on; I have three lined up this year.

So, what makes this plane so awesome? Well, I was going to do an article last year about what it was like to fly on an 154M, but then Jacob flew on a better M on almost the same day. So we’ll have to wait for the 154Bs later this year (the older, rarer version of the 154).

Until then, let’s discuss the history of this aircraft.