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This day in history special. First flight of the Tupolev TU134 29/7/1963

The heading pretty much says it all. The easily recognisable soviet airliner had initially started as an upgrade to the TU124 but once it emerged from the factory it had become an all new design in the style of similar sized current western airliners the DC9 and BAC1-11 with all three having a T-Tail and two rear mounted engines.

However this is where, unlike other Soviet designs, the similarity ended. Its thin and angular style and swept back wings and tail planes gave it a unique look particularly with the initial versions having a glass nose.

The first TU134 took to the skies on July 29, 1963 with Aeroflot taking the first delivery in September and putting the aircraft into service in the same month.

Tupolev introduced an uprated 134A with improvements to the avionics and more powerful engines and the introduction of weather radar meant that the nose now lost its traditional glazed finish, entering service in 1970. This version also did away with the need for a parachute braking system.

The ‘Crusty’ as NATO designated it went on to become one of the most widely used in Soviet countries. The 134 was the first Soviet airliner to receive international certification from ICAO. Aeroflot and the Soviet Air Force were by far the biggest users but Tupolev received export orders from a number of airlines including Interflug, LOT and CSA.

Of the 854 built a considerable number went on to have long and productive lives with secondary airlines as well as conversions to VIP transports. Although numbers are dwindling there are still a number in use today.

First Facts 134 134A

Launched 00/10/62 00/00/68

First Flight 29/07/63 22/04/69

First Delivery 00/09/67 Aeroflot Aeroflot

Entered Service 00/09/67 09/11/70 Aeroflot


Length 34.34m (112ft 8in) 37.05m (121ft 7in)

Height 9.14m (30ft 0in) 9.14m (30ft 0in)

Wingspan 29.00m (95ft 2in) 29.00m (95ft 2in)

Typical/Max seats 64/72 84/96

This is taken from my first book 'Flying Firsts' which details

the first flights of many different airliners. Take a look by clicking/tapping on the image below.


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