Topic Author
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Russian Airliners

Fri Mar 19, 1999 2:27 pm

It's not that the Russian airliners are that bad. They're really not. With enough airflow a brick can fly. Shorts has shown us that. It's their maintenance thats scary. The enforcement of regulations is non existant. The government chartered a 767 for yeltsin to fly around in. That says something. It's hard to obtain statistics about russian aircraft losses because they are only operated by communist governments. Thats another good indication they suck. The piece de' resistance is the desintigration of the Concordski at the paris air show. OOps.
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RE: Russian Airliners

Fri Mar 19, 1999 3:17 pm

"With enough airflow a brick can fly"

I see F-4's from the JASDF (Japanese Air Self Defense Force) everyday taking off and proving that theory. Those jets are noisey as anything. I can barely hear the JAS A300 or MD-80's that use the runway here as well. The F-4....well it rocks my office.

As far as the Russian aircraft goes, it definatly is the maintance that is worrysome.
When I was working in Alaska (Eielson AFB) about two years ago they had an Antonov An-124 that was visiting. The plane had some sort of mechanical problem and the USAF had to get the aircraft metal shop to actaully fabricate parts for the plane to get running again because the Russians had no way to get parts for it. The plane sat around for 2-3 weeks. (Of coarse the USAF loved telling everyone how "thier people" fixed it!)

Topic Author
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RE: Russian Airliners

Fri Mar 19, 1999 3:54 pm

The F4 is a perfect example Lenny. When I was in Santa Domingo A few months back I walked over to a russian transport that was parked on the airfield and had a look. The tires were completely worn. I mean the threads of the belts were showing. I never would take a plane in that condition. If you blow a tire on takeoff you could ignite it and retract it into the wheel well.

RE: Russian Airliners

Fri Mar 19, 1999 6:30 pm

Yes i agree with you...They are built like tanks...However from a cabin freindly point of veiw they really suck...As well like you mentioned the maintainence is very scarey! I flew on a TU-154 from Helsinki to Sofia it was on Balkan Bulgarian airlines, never again!! But in defense of the TU-144 Concordski, it was leaked out that the cause of that crash was some French or British military aircraft was flying too close to get a clear shot of the -144's retractible noseplanes...fearful of this spying the pilots on the concordski pulled up, stalled it and couldn't recover

Re: Russian Airliners

Fri Mar 19, 1999 11:29 pm

Flown them for so long and not a single scratch..

this is not the maintenance issues, thats the class of the pilot that counts.

Re: Russian Airliners

Sat Mar 20, 1999 12:15 am

I think that we hear all these horror stories about rssian planes. I think look micky mousey and I would not fly in one.
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Re: Russian Airliners

Sat Mar 20, 1999 2:11 am

I am with Iain. I wouldn't fly on russian aircraft either.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
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Re: Russian Airliners

Sat Mar 20, 1999 3:37 am

What is this a dump on Russian aircraft day???

I love that story about the maintainece people in Anchorage.

I the problem with russian aircraft is that their people and companies seem to be more succeptable to economic pressures then here in the west. By that I mean that there is less money available for parts. Also there seems to be much more pressure to fly unairworthy aircraft then in the west.

Some true stories.

When I was working for Alaska we had and Aeroflot IL-76 freighter come in for a fuel stop in ANC and torch the number three engine on landing. They freighter crew new that there wasn't another engine around and needed to get back to either Vladivostok or Magadan. I can't remember which. Any they decided to fly it out. They crew went down to the local Home Depot and bought two sheets of plywood. They got their hands on a jigsaw and cut the sheets of plywood in a circle that would just fit inside the engine intake. They then made sure that it was securely attached with duct tape and then made about the longest takeoff ground roll I have ever seen an aircraft make at Anchorage. That's what happens when you have three engines and a full load onboard.

Then there was the IL-62 that came in to do fishing boat crew changes. There were a couple of things that I noticed about that airplane. First the Cargo bin doors all had locks on them and we had to wait for the Navigator to come down with the keys. The second thing I noticed was the amount of rivit work that was on the wings. Looking from the outside it appeard that that airplane uses a center section type wing with outboard panels like the DC-3. The reason I say this is that there was a row of rivits about two inches accross that went accross the bottom of the wing just outboard of the main landing gear. They also stick out into the airflow about and inch. There is also a huge cuff that runs along the outer leading edge of the wing. In all these don't add up to very good charicteristics. The only maintaince thing I noticed with that airplane is that they apeared to have either a leaky water service or lav. and there was a layer of ice from it built up on the fuselage. The Flight Engineer got a large rod and preceded to knock the ice of the fuselage. Other then that these crews seemed to be very conceincious of the weight and balence and the loading schedual and usually the Flight Engineers where out asking for ladders to check the oil in the engines.
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RE: Russian Airliners

Fri Sep 10, 1999 4:27 am

This is an old thread, but I found it interesting enough to pick up. I lived in Russia for 4 1/2 years, from 1992 to 1996. I've learned enough facts about Russian/Soviet airliners to be pretty specific about their strengths and shortcomings. I've flown on the TU134, the TU154, the IL62 and the IL86, and other than their rather primitive accommodations, I've had no complaints, and would not hesitate to fly on any of these again. As far as strenths, the airliners typically are built like tanks. Very solid, durable airframes. Their landing gear is also designed for landings and take-offs from unpaved landing strips in varying conditions. The Ilyushin IL86 widebody even has lower lobe passenger doors for entry and exit from the plane through the bottom of the fuselage, eliminating the need for jetways or stairways so that it can be used at primitive airports. And speaking of the IL86, there has never been a single crash since its introduction in 1980. With most Russian jets, their biggest problem lies in engine maintenance, reliability and fuel economy. Most Russian commercial aircraft engines require frequent servicing and overhaul, by comparison with Western engines. They guzzle fuel, spew exhaust and are noiser than even the old JT3s on a 707. In particular, the IL62 has had problems with uncontained engine failure, and its four engines in pairs at the tail guarantee that if one engine spews its guts out, then another will surely be lost, and the controls will probably be affected. Russia is very new to the high-bypass turbofan arena, having designed only two - the Perm/Soloviev PS90A (for the IL96-300 and TU204-100) and the Lotarev D18T (for the AN124). The PS90A was so unreliable at the outset, I've seen IL96s at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport with at least one engine off the wing every time I've been there (2 - 3 times per year since 1992 and twice this past summer). I've heard these engines have a tendancy to shut down in flight. Even once, an IL96 on rotation at SFO lost two engines just as it was rotating, and the pilot had to do some fancy footwork to keep that bird from wiping out. The D18T is somewhat better, but not much. Many of the Russian commercial aviation industry's problems will be solved or alleviated due to joint operations with Western companies. The newest airliners, the IL96M, the TU204-124 and the IL114, are being equipped with Western engines and avionics, and fitted with Western-built cabin interiors, while being produced at half to a third the cost of their Western counterparts. Hopefully, these types will find customers worldwide, ensuring their continued production and success.
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Re: Russian Airliners

Sat Sep 11, 1999 7:26 am

Personally, if I had a hesitation about flying on a Russian aircraft, it would be more to do with the inflight service than safety. The aircraft are well built, have VERY competent pilots (it stands to reason when you think about it - which is harder to fly, a 767 or an IL62). As for President Yeltsin, he may have used a 767 once, but his normal aircraft is an IL96. (Mind you, a 767 can look quite like an IL96 after a few Vodkas. Oops, sorry Boris . . )

It would be very unfair to dismiss Russian aviation and I believe that with a little western finesse and technology, they could go a long way. I must clarify finesse; I mean refinements in passenger service and competition; Russian aircraft were buitl to fill a market and competition didn't enter into it. The IL96 and TU204 and 334 look like fine aircraft and I have no doubt that with a little marketing assistance and some brave airline, they could become quite successful. I hope they do. Despite Russia's problems, never underestimate the VAST amount of technical expertise in Russian aviation.
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RE: Russian Airliners

Sat Sep 11, 1999 8:44 am

I would not hesitate to fly most Russian airlines, and I have no problems with the equipment (when maintained, which in truth it usually is) and certainly the pilots are heroes every day of their working lives, in conditions that are at least as difficult as the raw data approaches that Jetpilot was doing in Fine Air DC8s in South America (but in blizzards and unbelievably severe icing). Those planes can withstand anything (except for the Il62's above-mentioned unfortunate engine grouping). And while maintanance is not great, it is the best they can afford, the mechanics and their families fly on these planes - if there are shortcomings it's not because they're lazy or inept. And 737s or A320s with the same maintanance omissions would fall out of the sky within weeks. I wonder what Russian aviation will be like in twenty years, considering their vast technical expertise and resources.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
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RE: Russian Airliners

Sat Sep 11, 1999 9:13 pm

I'm looking foward to make their São Paulo - Tunis - Moscow flight someday. I have already heard from friends that the plane (IL-96-300) is quite confortable (ok, in 1st class!), the ticket price is also very cheap (to make this flight in 1st class is cheaper than to fly Business class to Lisbon) and I wouldn't be afraid of fly it.

About security problems, if we all look closely, in these last 4 years 90% or more of the major crashes involved top airlines and top planes, and not Russians! So, I think we all should abandon the prejudice against Russian things and remember that Cold War is finished!

kaitak and cedarjet, I agree 100% with your opinions! I also have heard that their pilots are excellent and I do believe that some new planes such the IL-96-300 (which is my preferred) and Tu-214 would have big markets to enter if Russian economic and politic situation were better. Airlines such CUBANA, LOT, Balkan, CSA,... (despite Aeroflot and Transaero, of course) could buy and fly these planes; and I'd like very much to see this happening, since it's very sad to see the Russian/ CIS aerospacial industry in death process.

I'm going to prepare a topic where I'd like to discuss the future of Russian/ CIS airlines and industries. I hope I put it online on the next two weeks; and I hope you (Ilyushin96M, kaitak, cedarjet and many others) could give your opinions!


TP343, São Paulo, Brazil.
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RE: Russian Airliners

Sun Sep 12, 1999 1:26 am

Bravo, TP343!!! One of my more favourite subjects, and I've had lots of experience on Russian airliners. Looking forward to your posting! I also want to say, I don't think Boris Nikolayevich ever flew in a 767, though Aeroflot does have two of them. I think it was one of their A310-300s. The 763s are too busy. ;-) Now the Russian government uses a VIP IL96-300 to fly Yeltsin around in. Also, and here is an interesting caveat...the 20 + Ilyushin IL96M/T aircraft on order and currently in production are backed by a loan from the U.S. government for purchase of their PW2337 turbofans and Rockwell/Collins avionics. The security for the loan is the planes. Should Ilyushin and Aeroflot default, the planes will be repossessed. If they were, and sold at auction, I wonder what airline in the West would purchase them? They are sure to be excellent long-range aircraft, with the highest standards of onboard safety equipment, modern cabins and the like. Just an interesting little tidbit I thought I'd throw out there. :-)
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RE: Russian Airliners

Sun Sep 12, 1999 2:52 am

I don't know much about the airliners, but it's common knowledge that their fighters are the best designed in the world. Amazing maneuverability and durability. To deploy a single F-15 requires hundreds of people and parts and perfect runways. Not so with Sukhois and MIGs. The F-15 has the only undefeated aerial combat record in the world, but that might be different if it had flown against Russian pilots. It's the avionics that make the difference, but the designs themselves are recognized as being superior. The airliner designs look great. As usual the designs are almost identical to their western counterparts. The one looks like a 727, the other like a 767, another EXACTLY like a 340. It would be great to see Boeing strengthen its ties to Russian aerospace. I know the new SST project is dead AGAIN, but these people know their stuff. Look at MIR, the only orbiting space station for 10 years, kept together with a pair of pliers and super glue. Simply unbelievable. Would Airbus be nervous if Boeing sold and marketed the new Russian quad with western engines and avionics? Anyone know the range and other specs compared to the new 345/6? Is it true that some/all Russian jetliners have rigid airframes so that the wings don't bend much during turbulence?
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RE: Russian Airliners/wings Bending

Tue Sep 14, 1999 2:22 am

Wingman - Having flown in several Russian jetliners, I've noticed much less flex in their wings than in many Western ones. As well, most of them have an anhedral rather than a dihedral (the wings slope downward in relation to the fuselage). In turbulence, the wings tend to wobble more at the wingtips, though. Maybe that is a function of their design. Regarding the new Ilyushin IL96M and IL96T, Boeing was actually lobbying the U.S. government NOT to loan Ilyushin the money to purchase the PW powerplants and the Rockwell/Collins avionics. The new IL will provide Boeing with unwanted competition in this market segment. However, it's now a done deal. Besides, even if the newer ILs and TUs were not equipped with Western engines and avionics, Russian and CIS carriers would probably order them anyway, as they are about 1/3 the cost of a new Western equivalent. The newest long-range IL widebody, the aforementioned IL96M, carries 385 passengers in three classes (not sure of layout yet, as the plane has yet to enter service). It has a range of approximately 11,000 km (about 6,000 miles, I think) and is powered by four PW 2337 turbofans. Not only will it have the Western engines and avionics, it will also be fully-equipped with Western aircraft interior fittings, including passenger service units and entertainment systems. Bravo, because the older ILs are no joy to fly in due to lack of comfort and entertainment. If anything, the new IL would compete more with the 767-400 and Airbus A330. It won't come close to the A340-500 and -600, but could be developed to do so.

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