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Tu134 Flight Report

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  • Tu134 Flight Report

    A brief trip report of a flight I did last week during a trip to Russia.

    Sunday 24th August - the group had arranged to charter a Tu134 (RA-65097) of Primair so it was an early start to get to Moscow - Domodedevo
    airport to start the day trip to Ekaterinburg in Siberia.

    After a bit if waiting for the tickets/boarding passes to be issued we made our way onto a bus to take us to the aircraft which was on a remote apron.

    Seat numbers had been allocated but nobody took any notice of them and so I was lucky enough to get row 1 window on the left side.

    Once we were all settled in (68 of us) we were pushed back and the engines started. I have only been on one other soviet made aircraft (Tu154) so I had some of idea how noisy it was going to be - even being sat at the front.

    We used a lot of power to get moving as we taxied for take off. Safety brief was exactly that - very brief with no mention of any o2 masks should the cabin pressure fall.

    Held for minute while final checks were made and with a lot of noise we started rolling down the runway. After what seemed a very long run (timed at 50 seconds) we got airborne and made a much more shallow climb than western built aircraft. The flaps and gear were raised very quickly after take off giving the normal feeling of 'sinking' for a few moments. After a few turns settled down for the climb to approx 10,000 metres (russian aircraft use metric for altitiude) for the 2 hour 10 min flight to Ekaterinburg in Siberia.

    During the flight we were served with a snack which consisted of a 'swiss roll' type cake, small tub of jam and a piece of chocolate. Tea / coffee / oj and water were the drinks on offer. This was not served until we had reached cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign switched off.

    During the flight we were allowed into the cockpit to take pictures (which I will post when processed) The aircraft was operated with a 4 man crew, 2 pilots / radio operator / navigator (seated in the glass nose of the Tu134)

    The internal layout of the aircraft was quite different to that of a western aircraft - we boarded through the smallish main door on the left side and turned right to the cabin. Opposite the door was the toilet with others at the rear of the aircraft. To the left was the galley and some storage space with a passage leading to the cockpit door which was to the right side of the aircraft.

    The flight passed quickly and soon we started the descent into Ekaterinburg - power off and down we went.

    The 134 has no leading edge lift devices - it is after all a early jet (RA-65097 was built in 1978 has has seen service with the Gromov Research Institute and the United Nations) so a lot of power is used during the approach with flaps and u/c being deployed much later than on western aircraft (imho) Despite the different techniques we made a smooth landing and with a lot of breaking and reverse thrust stopped and taxied to our parking stand. (local time 2.10pm)

    As we taxied in we could see a few tv camera's - all pointing in our direction and we realised that they were for us - apparently the fact that a group of 'foreigners' had charted a plane to visit Ekaterinburg was a bit of interesting news. Fortunately our russian guide was the only one able to communicate with them although as I was first off the plane did wonder if I was going to get on tv.

    We boarded a couple of buses to take us on our ramp tour where we were allowed to take pictures of Tu154/IL76/ etc that were present.
    We then went for a pre-arranged lunch.

    The rest of the afternoon was spent a a small airfield called Yktus (about 30 minutes away) and again were allowed to photograph the aircraft here (including An2, Mil2, Mil8, Yak 40, An74) (all pics taken from this trip I will submit here soon)

    We returned to the airport around 6.30pm for the flight back to Moscow which was a copy of the outward flight apart from one thing - the weather!
    During the flight back it became very bumpy and the descent was like a roller coaster with a lot of movement and lots of power being required.
    As the Tu134 is an old design with early jets (which are low in power) it was a little unnerving to say the least. I was sat by the overwing exit this time and could hear/feel the many power changes being made during the approach. I could also see ice building up on 4 of the screws at the bottom of the exit door (inside the cabin) We also appeared to hold as we did do a lot of turns during this time. Again the gear and flaps were 'late' in being deployed as we turned onto a very short final approach (flaps seemed to have few positions in/out) and once out the aircraft needed a lot of power to maintain the approach. As we crossed the airport boundary full power (or close to it) was applied (i did think we were about to go around) but we made a very flat but smooth landing which was greeted by a round of applause.

    After heavy breaking and use of reverse thrust - we turned off the runway and waited for the 'follow me' truck to show us to our parking spot.

    It was a good day out on an interesting aircraft - we were well looked after by the crew.

    I could also post a report on how I got to Moscow but a combination of SAS MD80's is not quite as interesting as this.
    (can post those details if they would be of interest)