Another Russian built Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft has crashed, similar to the Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154M which crashed near the city of Smolensk, Russia, last April 10, 2010 killing all 96 people on board including Polish president Lech Kaczynski. Ironically, for classified code purposes, the NATO reporting name for the Tupolev Tu-154M is “Careless”.
According to the Russian news agency Interfax, a South East Airlines, IATA code N2, still referred to by its former name of Dagestan Airlines, Flight 372, a Tupolev Tu-154M, registration RA-85744, was forced to make an emergency landing at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport (DME) on Saturday, December 4, 2010 after losing power in two of its three engines. The Tu-154 had originated from Vnukovo International Airport (VKO), 17 miles southwest from the center of Moscow, with 160 passengers and 8 crew members on board.
Reports indicated that the aircraft landed long, which resulted in the plane sliding off the runway and breaking into pieces, killing two persons and injuring 56 others.
Dagestan Airlines is headquartered at Uytash Airport (MCX) in Makhachkala, Republic of Dagestan, located in the southern most part of Russia, and flies only on domestic routes. It is among the world’s oldest carriers, established in 1927. Last reports show that it had 809 employees, and operated 5 aircraft, 4 Tupolev Tu-154M, and 1 Tupolev Tu-154B2.
The Tupolev Tu-154 is a three-engine medium-range airliner designed in the mid 1960s and manufactured by Tupolev, a publicly traded Russian aerospace and defence company, headquartered in Moscow. The Tu-154M is the most highly upgraded version, and first flew in 1982, entering mass production in 1984.
The aircraft has new double-slotted, instead of triple-slotted, flaps, with an extra 36-degree position, in addition to existing 15, 28 and 45-degree positions on older versions, which allows reduction of noise on approach. It also has a relocated auxiliary power unit (APU) and numerous other improvements. Manufacture continued through 2006, and there was still limited manufacturing as of January 2009. As of June 10, 2010, about 200 Tu-154 aircraft remain in service, operated by 28 airlines.
It has been a “workhorse” of Soviet and Russian airlines for several decades, providing service to over a sixth of the world’s land mass and carrying about half of all passengers flown by Aeroflot (SU) and its subsidiaries, about 137.5 million passenger per year.
The Tu-154 carries a crew of 3-4, and can seat 114-180 passengers at a maximum speed of 510 knots, a maximum range of 4,100 miles, and a service ceiling of 39,700 feet. It uses three very powerful Soloviev D-30KU-154 engines, each generating 23,148 foot pounds of thrust. The aircraft is comparable to the Boeing 727 or the British made Hawker Siddeley Trident.
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