True, the USSR
was a command economy and internally not very competitive, but no amount of state-backing was able to transform the Il-62 or Il-86 into the legendary success that became the 154. As in the USA, some aircraft were destined to sell better than others. The laws of physics are universal.
Out of curiosity, does the 154 have the range to fly Moscow-New York, and would I be right in thinking it flies the trans-Siberian Moscow-Vladivostok route too? What penalties would the 727 have had to pay if Boeing had stretched its range to rival that of the 154?
Size is not responsible for the relative failure of the L-1011 and DC-10 (in fact, they had the advantage of greater flexibilty over the 747); the larger 747 has sold around 1,100. The MD
-11, as we all know, lost to its twin (777/A330) and 4-engined rivals (A340). Food for thought about the 727 requiring 3 engines:
-on the 727's 1st flight in 1963, the centre engine surged on take-off. Air flow to the #2 engine is very turbulent.
-one of the 727's successors, the MD
-80, was also powered by JT
-8Ds, but only required 2 of them to carry only slightly fewer passengers. The JT
is -60s technology. The 727 could just have well flown on 2, especially the -100.
In spite of the success of the 727 and the 154, neither McDonnell Douglas in the US, Airbus in Europe, nor Ilyushin in the USSR
opted to challenge the trijet designs directly. It just mystifies me how Boeing and Tupolev were so lucky with a design few others had much faith in.
The last Tu-154 was completed in 2001 I think, but yes, their are 10 airframes (and 3 orders) which, Roubles permitting, will be finished in the not too distant future. Aircraft production in the Russian Federation is a joke at present: only 10 Il-96s, 4 Il-114s and 18 Tu-204/214s have been produced in the last decade, with outstanding orders for 20 Il-96s, 13 Il-114s, 21 Tu-204/214s and 24 Tu-334s. A Moscovite snail could reach Vladivostok in the time it takes to complete an airliner in Russia these days!