YouTube – Tupolev Tu-114
4 x 14,795 hp ea.
177 ft. 4 in.
167 ft. 6 in.
The Tupolev Tu-114 is the world’s fastest turboprop passenger plane. It entered service with Russia’s Aeroflot in 1961 and remained operational through 1975. On April 9, 1960 the Tupolev Tu-114 set the still standing world speed record for its class of 545.07 mph.
The aircraft was known for its comfort, safety and reliability. When first flown they were the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
Unique for aircraft at the time was its interior. It featured two levels. On the lower level were the kitchen and cargo area. Above that was passenger seating.
Tupolev Tu-114 aircraft flew regular scheduled passenger service between Moscow and New York. Later flights were also regularly scheduled between Moscow and Cuba. Japan Air Lines flew them between 1965 and 1969.
As with many Russian civilian aircraft the Tupolev Tu-114 was developed from a military version. Based on a bomber design, it incorporated a number of innovations. The aircraft used a completely new fuselage of increasing diameter permitting more passenger space.
By airline standards of the time the main cabin of the aircraft was very large. It could hold up to 220 passengers. The wing was mounted low on the fuselage for better cabin floor layout.
Things were not as good for the crew. The nose of the aircraft was basically unchanged from the crowded layout of the bomber.
Flying the Tupolev Tu-114
Dmitry Naryshkin emailed us to say – “Thank you for your page about my favorite aircraft, the Tupolev Tu-114. I was privileged to fly it soon after it entered commercial service. Perhaps you will take an interest in my experiences with the aircraft.
Flying the Tupolev Tu-114 was a combination of old and new. It was a large aircraft, and the exterior needed to be checked out before each flight. That included flight controls, pitot tubes, tire condition, flap extensions, etc. The cockpit pre-flight checklist is then completed.
Now it is time to start the large, powerful engines. Unlike a jet, there is vibration and quite a bit of noise in the cockpit as the four engines come to life. However, once idling, they do smooth out.
Steering the Tupolev Tu-114 to the main runway is similar to steering a large jet aircraft. The aircraft is taxied to the end of the runway once permission to takeoff is obtained. Flaps are set to 20 degrees for takeoff. The aircraft accelerates quickly with V-1 at 143 kts., V-R at 155 kts., and V-2 at 164 kts. The flaps are retracted at 195 kts. at an altitude of 800 feet.
Once cruising altitude is reached, one can relax a bit. Checking out the aircraft’s responses to control inputs will find that it takes a bit of muscle to move about the sky. Response is about what you would expect from a large passenger aircraft of the 1960’s. That is slow and predictable. The Tupolev Tu-114 will stay on course with little work from the pilot. Good, because it would cruise at over 415 kts. Stalls, should one want to try, are straight ahead, without a wing drop, with plenty of warning. Recovery is merely having sufficient altitude to get air going over the aircraft’s wings for it to fly again.
Before landing, the checklist is observed. Landing the Tupolev Tu-114 requires getting its speed reduced to 195 kts. for flaps and landing gear. Initial flaps are set at 30 degrees, and once the aircraft is on final approach at 165 kts. they are further extended to 50 degrees. At that time a little forward pressure should be applied to the elevators as the aircraft tends to balloon a bit.
With the flight controls as heavy as they are, one has a tendency to input too much correction. This can lead to a less than perfect landing approach, if not careful. Once on the runway, the engines are reversed and the brakes applied for a smooth landing.”
Thank you, Dmitry, for sharing your experiences flying the Tupolev Tu-114 with us.
A total of 32 Tupolev Tu-114 aircraft were produced.