Tupolev Tu-104

The Tupolev Tu-104 (NATO reporting name: Camel) was a twin-engined medium-range turbojet-powered Soviet airliner and the world's first successful jet airliner. Although it was the fourth jet airliner to fly (following, in order, the British de Havilland Comet, Canadian Avro Canada C102 Jetliner, and French Sud Caravelle), the Tu-104 was the second to enter regular service (with Aeroflot) and the first to provide a sustained and successful service (the Comet had been withdrawn following a series of crashes due to structural failure). The Tu-104 was the sole jetliner operating in the world between 1956 and 1958.[1] In 1957, Czechoslovak Airlines CSA, (now Czech Airlines) became the first airline in the world to fly routes exclusively with jet airliners, using the Tu-104A variant. In civil service, the Tu-104 carried over 90 million passengers with Aeroflot (then the world's largest airline), and a lesser number with CSA, while it also saw operations with the Soviet Air Force. Its successors include the Tu-124 (the first turbofan-powered airliner), the Tu-134 and the Tu-154. At the beginning of the 1950s, the Soviet Union's Aeroflot airline needed a modern airliner with better capacity and performance than the piston engined aircraft then in operation. The design request was filled by the Tupolev OKB, which based their new airliner on its Tu-16 'Badger' strategic bomber. The wings, engines, and tail surfaces of the Tu-16 were retained in the airliner, but the new design adopted a wider, pressurised fuselage designed to accommodate 50 passengers. The prototype

SSSR-L5400) first flew on June 17, 1955 with Yu.L. Alasheyev at the controls at Kharkov plant in Ukraine. It was fitted with drag chute to shorten landing distance by up to 400 metres (1,300 ft).[1] The arrival of the Tu-104 in London during a 1956 state visit by Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev totally surprised Western observers who, at the time, thought the Soviets lacked the advanced technology required to build a commercial airliner with such performance.[1] By the time production ceased in 1960, about 200 had been built. The Tu-104 was powered by two Mikulin AM-3 turbojets placed at the wing/fuselage junction (similar to the de Havilland Comet). The crew consisted of 5 people: two pilots, a navigator (placed in the glazed "bomber" nose), a flight engineer and a radio operator (the radio operator was later eliminated). The airplane raised great curiosity by its lavish "Victorian" interior called so by some Western-hemisphere observers due to the materials used: mahogany, copper and lace.[1] Tu-104 pilots were trained on the Il-28 bomber, followed by mail flights on an unarmed Tu-16 bomber painted in Aeroflot colors, between Moscow and Sverdlovsk. Pilots with previous Tu-16 experience transitioned into the Tu-104 with relative ease. The Tu-104 was considered tricky to fly, as it was heavy in the air, and had poor response to controls, with a tendency to stall at low speeds. Experience with the Tu-104 led the Tupolev Design Bureau to develop the Tupolev Tu-124, designed for local markets, and subsequently the more commercially successful Tu-134