Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Tupolev Tu-134

The USSR’s Short-Range Jet Airliner


by Dmitriy Komissarov



S u m m a r y

Title: Tupolev Tu-134 – The USSR’s Short-Range Jet Airliner
by Dmitriy Komissarov. Aerofax Series
Published by Midland Publishing
ISBN: 1857801598
Media and Contents: Soft cover; 184 pages plus covers
Price: GBP£19.99 online from Ian Allen Publishing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Thorough coverage of this important Soviet airliner
Recommendation: Recommended for Russian Aviation Enthusiasts

Reviewed by Ken Bowes

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron



This Aerofax title “Tupolev Tu-134” is probably of much narrower interest than most, particularly to Western readers.

That aside author Dmitriy Komissarov has put in a sterling effort documenting this aircraft in its many civil and military guises. The design of the Tu-134 dates back to the 1950s when the USSR looked to enter the age of jet transport. With the Tu-124 (an airliner variant of the Tu-16) under its belt and impetus given to the program by Premier Nikita Khruschev’s flight in a French Caravelle, the Tupolev Bureau embarked on a design for a similar short haul airliner in 1960. This aircraft became the Tu-134. In this book Komissarov details the complicated design process with the many hurdles that needed to be crossed before production began in earnest. He then proceeds to cover the many variants and production processes, laying the foundation for later chapters dealing with the specific civil and military use of the major sub-types. The Tu-134 was not without experimental developments and these too are dealt by the author. One of the more interesting developments was the T-134UBL which was used as a crew trainer for Tu-22M Backfire and later Tu-160 Blackjack crews to preserve the life of the actual bombers. The Backfire nose grafted on this variant is unmistakable.  

The author has chosen to break the book into themed chapters rather than a chronological approach. This is in common with most volumes from this series. Hence the reader progresses through chapters on versions and variants, unrealised projects, service life, CIS operators of the Tu-134, foreign operators and finally a technical analysis of the airframe itself. These chapters provide a short description of each subtype, supported by many black and white and colour photographs. Each chapter is well illustrated, with many drawings, artists’ concepts and photographs supporting the detailed text. It was pleasing to note a higher than average number of colour photos in this volume, probably due to the adage that the key attraction of airliners is their colourful livery.

This book will appeal to those with an interest in Russian aviation. One particular highlight is the many general arrangement drawings of the major sub-types that are included. These are a handy way to identify the many non-standard aircraft modified for military or trials use. Hard core facts and figures fans will get their teeth into the performance statistics and the comprehensive production list, which attempts to document the service lives of each airframe by construction number. Also included is a detailed appendix on attrition of the type, with detailed discussion and photographs covering the accidents involving this aircraft. Overall a very interesting read on a somewhat out of the ordinary (for me) subject.

The book consists of 184 pages printed on glossy paper between cardboard covers.


Thanks to Simon of DLS Australia for the review sample

Review Copyright © 2004 by Ken Bowes
This Page Created on 07 October, 2004
Last updated 08 October, 2004

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page