The Tu-154 is probably the best known civil aircraft from the Soviet age, as it was and still is used by numerous airlines on short and medium haul flights including to Western Europe.
The career of this airplane began in the late 1960s. The Tu-154 was supposed to replace an amount of three aircraft models all at once (IL-18, An-10 and Tu-104). Not quite coincidentally, the result reminded of the Boeing 727 in its appearance – an aircraft of this type that had crashed near Berlin had been seized and investigated closely before. Still, the Tu-154 was adjusted to the rugged demands of Soviet aviation of course. The twelve-tire main gear runs even on Siberian gravel strips without problems.
In 1972, the first Tu-154 went into service. Since 1984, the Tupolev Tu-154M with Soloviev D-30KU engines instead of the quite guzzling Kusnezow NK-8-2 is built. Apart from a rationalized flight deck for three men, this version offers up to 180 seats. As the Tu-154M still fulfils European noise regulations, this aircraft can still be seen on many Western European airports today.