TaromA380
Topic Author
Posts: 275
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:35 am

Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 10:13 pm

Hello everybody.

It's a fact. All medium & heavy soviet-made PAX aircrafts, from the '60s - '70s, till the Il-62, Tu-154 and later IL-86, had a glass nose with a special navigator seat, which reminds the nose of a bomber.

Tu-104:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jakob Dahlgaard Kristensen
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Palo



Tu-114:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Joeri Turk
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sergey Riabsev



Tu-124:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © YU Ming
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Maartenw



Tu-134:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Piotr Obleg
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Marlene Leutgeb



Il-76:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Roel van der Velpen
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Janis Bitenieks



An-12:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Luc Van Belleghem
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Fyodor Borisov



Now I wonder what's the idea of this glass nose. Of course, the theory says that it's the navigator's place. Ok, ok, the man standing there could do some navigation, but remember we are already in the '60s and '70s and navigation is rather instrumental than visual. Plus, I don't see any western airliner to have glass nose for the navigator ! This is perplexing me.

I suspect the soviet glass nose's role was also the spying of the western territory inflight. And maybe the possibility to convert the frame to a bomber, in the case of war, but this is a little SF ; however, many russian airliners were derivate from homologous bombers.

So, what's truly hiding behind those glass nose ?
 
backfire
Posts: 3467
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 10:46 pm

Quoting TaromA380 (Thread starter):
Of course, the theory says that it's the navigator's place.

It's not just a theory - it's a fact. Take a look at this photo, and you can clearly see the navigator in the nose of this Tu-134:

http://myaviation.net/search/photo_search.php?id=00415163&size=large

You point out yourself that Soviet commercial aircraft paralleled military designs. So it wasn't unexpected to find military-style features - such as a glass nose for the navigator - in Soviet commercial aircraft. As technology progressed the glass nose was eliminated in favour of systems such as weather radar.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:48 pm

Up to recently,Estern Russia only had electronic NAV aids along the Transsiberian railway connecting the big cities. Navigation outside this corridor required a navigator to look at the ground to compare landmarks with a map.
Also all Russian commercial transports were designed to be used as military transports in case of war. The landing gear was much stronger than in the Western counterparts, so that they could e.g. land on unprepared runways.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
TaromA380
Topic Author
Posts: 275
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:35 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:48 pm

Yes, but why put the navigator there ? It's a cool view seat, but it makes non sense for a civil modern plane, even in the '60s. All navigation process was entirely instrumental since the '40s.

When the soviets adapted the bombers, to built the civil equivalent, they redesigned the entire fuselage, but kept the nose glass. I think there was something in their mind.


Edit: moreover, the soviet air space was full of radars, so I don't quiet believe the theory about visually searching the railways to find the way eastwards.

[Edited 2005-09-11 16:52:30]
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:18 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 2):
Navigation outside this corridor required a navigator to look at the ground to compare landmarks with a map.

One of my ex students had been an Aeroflot pilot. He said he even carried a navigator in the AN-2

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Michael Mantoudis


which would probably require a whole day just to fly out of sight of the departure airport.

Another gentleman I knew, who bought and sold Soviet aircraft for some years told me that many soviet airliners were not only capable of being militarized but could actually be converted to bombers without too much down time. Can't vouch for that but he was pretty familiar with them.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
backfire
Posts: 3467
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:24 am

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 3):
moreover, the soviet air space was full of radars

You might be surprised to find how poorly covered by radar the Soviet Union was.
 
TaromA380
Topic Author
Posts: 275
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:35 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:58 am

Well, perhaps most of the radars were installed at frontiers. The internal air space, especially over Syberia, is *huge* and maybe not well covered by radars.

But c'mon, I want a testimony from an ex-soviet pilot, saying they were succeeding at finding their way due to the navigator, who was permanently looking through binoculars at terrain relief !

SlamClick reported two posts above about some possible conversion to (light?) bombers, that make more sense to me, thought I would like to know some details of such a tehnical challenge. But if it's true, it would be an amazing aspect of civil aviation's history.
 
DC8FriendShip
Posts: 235
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:35 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:27 am

Its hard to believe that the Soviets were so far behind the west in terms of technology. I got to tour the flight deck of an AN-124 just a few years ago, and it was like a step back in time. Analog gauges, tube equipment and four flight crew, pilot, co-pilot engineer and navigator. It was also hot and cramped, despite being a large aircraft. Still cool, though!
Come fly the Friendly Skies of United
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:37 am

One reason the Russians stuck so long to vacuum tube equipment is that this equipment is immune against the voltage spikes caused by an electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear explosion. The same pulse would fry any transistor equipment, if it wasn't especially hardened (very high effort!).

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
caboclo
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 12:34 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 7:19 am

I really love this pic. They're definitely using modern navigation equipment here.  rotfl  See on the table?

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sven De Bevere

Freight dogs have more fun
 
IL76TD
Posts: 280
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2004 1:02 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 11:56 pm

We operate IL-76. They still fly with a navigator today. All of them. In fact, most countries flight crew validation will only be approved if the crew has a navigator with a valid license. Yes, in our aircraft we have modern Garmin GPSmap units for both the pilot, copilot, and navigator, as well as laptop based FliteMap and Jeppview software for all three.

The main reason for the glass nose was locating runways and/or drop zones (paratroopers and airdrops).

You have to remember that russia has some pretty crappy weather, and during the winter some places are whiteout conditions pretty non-stop. The nose windows allow a navigator to easily scan for a runway, landmark, or other item while the captain and copilot focus on flying. The IL-76 does have weather radar. For instance, IL-76 aircraft are regularly allowed to land at Kabul airfield during winter storms while western types are advised that the airport is closed and diverted. As Kabul has until recently been a VFR only airport the ability to land there in winter has been a key facet of IL-76 traffic there.

Remember, the IL-76 and antonov-12 were both designed to be the front line supply aircraft (airdrop) as well as a firebomber. Being able to locate drop zones easily was a key element in their development.

I can easily tell you that the nose glass was never developed with 'spying on western territory' in mind.
 
TaromA380
Topic Author
Posts: 275
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:35 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:30 am

Okay for the Il-76 and An-12, but what about the others ? How would you make paradrop from a Tu-104, Tu-114, Tu-124, Tu-134 ?

And about spying, maybe this wasn't the first objective, but it was a nice opportunity during that cold war time. Why shouldn't it be ?
 
User avatar
TripleDelta
Crew
Posts: 1026
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:13 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:17 am

As previous posters have mentioned, it's simply there to provide excellent ground visibility, i.e. for navigation. Despite, as you said, most navigation in the 60s being instrumental, it had one mayor point evident in its name - it had to have instruments. When you fly from New York to LA, you'll pass over I'd bet a minimum of 20 VORs. Going from Moscow to Vladivostok, you'd encounter 2. And that's a trip of 11 time zones.

Visual navigation has always been the backbone of all navigation and most of us GA loonies who think GPS is not fun, fly visually. If I can eyeball my way around from 9,000 ft with just a road map, compass and a stopwatch, a navigator with binoculars, detailed maps and a host of visual navigation instruments (as well as professional knowledge of dead reckoning) can surely find his way in the upper flight levels. There were instances where an experienced navigator in the Tu-134 guided the plane more accurately than a 727 with all of its INS, Doppler and VOR thingies.

In itself, radar vectoring would be impractical at best. Russia is a big big country and covering it all with dozens upon dozens of radars would be a bit pointless for the few aircraft that would fly transcontinental. Due to the radio horizon phenomenon, a primary radar setup has an effective operational radius of about 200 NM, giving it an operational diameter of about 400 NM. And take in the width of the former USSR and see how many radars you'd need to cover just one line of flight.
No plane, no gain.
 
sovietjet
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:32 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:07 am

Tupolev was a very old fashioned and stubborn designer. He often didn't like to explore the newest technology and would rather stick with the old and proven. The Tu-134 was effectively the first passenger aircraft of his to eliminate the glass nose(not the -154). Some interesting facts: the Tu-134 is the world's only remaining airliner still using DC power instead of AC, also the first Tu-134s up until the Tu-134A had no APU. They also had no thrust reversers and used a parachute on landing. Why all this? Because Tupolev likes to use what already works on previous airplanes. You will notice this old fashioned trend only with Tupolev's aircraft. It was hard to convince him to remove the glass nose on the -134 and when they finally did, crews still flew with a navigator anyways. Until the Tu-134B came out did they finally remove the navigator. Also since the Tu-134 came from the Tu-124 which came from the Tu-104 which came from the Tu-16 bomber the roots of the glass nose go far back. Same with Tu-114 because it came from the Tu-95.
Now comes the time when someone would say "well then what about the An-12 and Il-76?" Remember that both the An-12 and Il-76 were military aircraft from the beginning later made as civilian (the An-10 for example is a passenger version of the An-12 and retains the glass nose). Of course they would have the glass nose. Notice that all Soviet "brand new"(that is, not derived from military planes) civil aircraft don't have the glass nose. Example: Il-18, Il-62, An-24, An-14, Yak-40, Yak-42. The Il-18 and Il-62 are older than the Tu-134 but started without the glass nose. On the other hand planes like the An-22(military) have the glass nose again.
 
sovietjet
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:32 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:09 am

Forgot to add, Aviogenex ordered a first generation Tu-134(short) without glass nose I think in 1970. When the Tu-134A came out customers had the option of glass nose or not. Many still ordered the glass nose because navigators needed to keep their jobs.
 
User avatar
TripleDelta
Crew
Posts: 1026
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:13 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:43 am

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 14):
Aviogenex ordered a first generation Tu-134(short) without glass nose I think in 1970. When the Tu-134A

Correct, though they also operated a glass-nose example (YU-AHH, the only one I think).

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Williams
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Keith Blincow


The metal nose looks almost like an aftermarket addon.
No plane, no gain.
 
sovietjet
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:32 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 5:15 am

TripleDelta, actually it was YU-AHS not YU-AHX that was the short Tu-134. Here:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Dave Jones



Notice it's shorter, engines have no reversers, no APU. The one you posted(YU-AHX) is a Tu-134A.
 
User avatar
TripleDelta
Crew
Posts: 1026
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:13 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:23 am

I stand corrected. It must have been fun flying those early versions into tighter airports... especially packing the chute afterward? I gather that that was the responsibility of the flight engineer(s).
No plane, no gain.
 
sovietjet
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:32 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:54 am

The parachute wasn't used outside the Soviet Union.
 
TomFoolery
Posts: 423
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 9:10 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:03 am

I have heard stories where in the post WWII days up to the 70's that disruptions in electric service throughout rural Soviet Union as well as other utilities were ratehr common, and it was not taken lightly when air service (sometimes only weekly in some places) was cancelled just because the local radar was out. This is probably just one small factor, but I'm sure it is one of a number of factors.
tom
Paper makes an airplane fly
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:00 am

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 12):
When you fly from New York to LA, you'll pass over I'd bet a minimum of 20 VORs. Going from Moscow to Vladivostok, you'd encounter 2. And that's a trip of 11 time zones.

A Finnair pilot that flew Convairs between Helsinki and Moscow in the 1950s states: (my translation): "Navigation was by radio beacons, which vere very powerful"
Unless they later dismantled them, there were more than 2 in existence.

http://www.virtualpilots.fi/hist/WW2...ory-KyostiKarhilaHaastattelu2.html
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:01 am

Back in the 1950s they used NDBs, which are notoriously unreliable (due to various influences).
Somewhere I still have a map of the Soviet Union from the 1980s an it only shows radio nav aids along a corridor following roughly the Transsiberian Railway and in some bigger garrison towns in northern Siberia. Most of the country was navigation by Mk1 Eyeball only. The visual instruments a navigator used for visual navigation would e.g. include an optical drift meter and a ground scan radar pointing downwards.


Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:53 pm

Navigating via the USSR was tricky as late as the 1980s.

Many Western airlines which managed to operate East of Moscow on Trans Siberia routes even had to make use of Aeroflot navigators onboard to help with enroute communications. There also was no such thing as off airway flying as one had no idea of the location of navaids nor emergency alternate fields might be, nor the reaction of the military if you strayed slightly.
It was an interesting sight to see a Russian Aeroflot navigator be comfortably be seated and enjoying life onboard a western B747.
I know of one major European airline that basically treated Trans Siberian ops as ETOPS flights, with no suitable airports between Moscow until reaching the Russian Far East by Khabarvosk.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
User avatar
TripleDelta
Crew
Posts: 1026
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:13 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:04 pm

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 20):
Unless they later dismantled them, there were more than 2 in existence.

I meant that as a figure of speech  bigthumbsup .

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 20):
A Finnair pilot that flew Convairs between Helsinki and Moscow in the 1950s states: (my translation): "Navigation was by radio beacons, which vere very powerful"

That is true, however that was in the western region of Russia. This is a relatively benign environment, as compared to Siberia, is far more densely populated and a huge percentage of the population of the former USSR was in this area. Moscow was in the area, as well as Leningrad which were both important cities with many people traveling to and from them and naturally needed a developed aviation infrastructure - plus the logistical issues were much simpler on account of the gentler terrain and the number of permanent settlements that could host the navaid.

The number of people flying across Siberia, or to communities far away from major centers, was much lower and probably didn't warrant the difficulties and logistical support needed for a developed navaid network in the Siberian taiga.
No plane, no gain.
 
mandala499
Posts: 6459
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2001 8:47 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 5:10 pm

Privyet!
Are you guys talking about one of my jobs?


LOL

Looking at the ground measuring drift is something I enjoy... Though I would have liked to have that glass nose to make my job a lot easier! Those driftmeters are from the WWII bomb aiming devices...

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 5:14 pm

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 23):
The number of people flying across Siberia, or to communities far away from major centers, was much lower and probably didn't warrant the difficulties and logistical support needed for a developed navaid network in the Siberian taiga.

If they could build and operate radio beacons west of Moscow, what would have kept the government from building them east of Moscow? Planes did and still do depart to all directions. People are again citing from something that does not exist, and making bizarre assumptions.

MD11Engineer, so this map somewhere was your only source on the radio beacons? Where did you get the data on the questionable reliability of the (Soviet) NDBs?

Quoting Laxintl (Reply 22):

Many Western airlines which managed to operate East of Moscow on Trans Siberia routes even had to make use of Aeroflot navigators onboard to help with enroute communications.

That would have been sensible, since the Soviet controllers' formal requirements did not include any English skills. Nothing to do with navaids.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:21 pm

The map was from the official IAP for the Soviet Union. I forgot to add "East of the Ural Mountains". The European part of the Soviet Union was quite well equiped with VORs and other Navaids, but Siberia was empty except for a corridor connecting the big cities.

NDBs in general (no matter which nationality) are quite unreliable due to the fact that the radio waves of this wave length region are subject to various influences from the sun, atmosphere and ground conditions.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
User avatar
TripleDelta
Crew
Posts: 1026
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:13 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 8:14 pm

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 25):
If they could build and operate radio beacons west of Moscow, what would have kept the government from building them east of Moscow? Planes did and still do depart to all directions. People are again citing from something that does not exist, and making bizarre assumptions.

Read my previous post:

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 23):
This is a relatively benign environment, as compared to Siberia, is far more densely populated and a huge percentage of the population of the former USSR was in this area



Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 23):
plus the logistical issues were much simpler on account of the gentler terrain and the number of permanent settlements that could host the navaid

Dragging power wires through Siberian forests isn't quite as easy as dragging one from a local power grid as in the west. The density of settlements from which power can be drawn at minimal cost (and from which a maintenance crew could be based) is far greater than the one in Siberia. Would you rather put a VOR on the south tip of Greenland where there are coastal settlements, or drag wires, resources and people all the way to the north pole for the few comparatively aircraft that cross it?
No plane, no gain.
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:46 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 26):
The map was from the official IAP for the Soviet Union. I forgot to add "East of the Ural Mountains". The European part of the Soviet Union was quite well equiped with VORs and other Navaids, but Siberia was empty except for a corridor connecting the big cities.

A somewhat crucial piece of information missing originally, wouldn't you say?Unless I had jumped on you, the public would have remained mis-informed over your post!

"In 1994 Siberia had an estimated population of 25,116,000. Overall, the region is sparsely inhabited, with an average population density of two persons per sq km (five per sq mi). The population is concentrated mainly along the Trans-Siberian Railroad in southern Siberia, and in the southwest, where the climate is relatively mild. Most major cities lie along Trans-Siberian Railroad. From west to east, these include Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Novokuznetsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok. Yakutsk and Yeniseysk are located farther north, on the Lena and Yenisey rivers. "
http://www.nsu.ru/aiesec/english/fortrainees/siberia.php

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 26):
NDBs in general (no matter which nationality) are quite unreliable due to the fact that the radio waves of this wave length region are subject to various influences from the sun, atmosphere and ground conditions.

To repeat my question: what is meant by "unreliable" here? Increased downtime, poor accuracy, poor repeatability, or what? You're an engineer, not me, where's the hard data?

To TripleDelta:
I'd place the beacon right next to the airport, where there's power. Siberia was, and is, by no means short of various modes or power and transmission lines, unlike Greenland you took as an example.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:27 pm

NDBs are notorious for their low accuracy. They are affected by solar flares, lightning and the contours of the surrounding countryside (coast lines, mountains etc.). This comes from the wave length band they are operating in. This is the reason why they have been replaced in many places with more accurate VORs and in many places are currently being phased out.
Many modern aircraft have the ADF receivers only installed as an option and many operators chose not to use them anymore.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
User avatar
TripleDelta
Crew
Posts: 1026
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:13 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Tue Sep 20, 2005 11:34 pm

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 28):
I'd place the beacon right next to the airport, where there's power. Siberia was, and is, by no means short of various modes or power and transmission lines, unlike Greenland you took as an example.

But then again, how many airports are in Siberia, apart from those that gravitate toward the Trans-Siberian RR, and what are the distances between them? More importantly, how many airports are within 200 NM of that planned route of flight? Moscow - Vladivostok is close to 6500 km and a good 9-10 time zones. Other routes to destinations near Kamchatka will probably skim through the arctic circle, though those toward southern destinations will skim though more populated areas of the southern USSR states, as well as China.

The only solution to these distances would be in LF, MF or HF radio equipment, that is then again as suspectible to wx interference as the NDB is.
No plane, no gain.
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:18 am

Quoting TripleDelta (Reply 30):
The only solution to these distances would be in LF, MF or HF radio equipment, that is then again as suspectible to wx interference as the NDB is.

Normal radio equipment is not a navaid. Navaids and communication aids are two totally different categories.

As far as I understand someone's undertone was that the Soviet radio beacon system was, in addition to being of less than adequate scope (which was discussed) also somehow substandard, perhaps even unsuitable for the job. MD11Engineer has now that the "reliability" issue is in fact a "low accuracy" issue. When this is also being termed "notorious", could we finally have something substantiated on the NDB issue, especially whether the NDB was a factor in any mishaps (within the Soviet Union)?

Specifically, I'm reading this from:
http://www.lwca.org/library/articles/kh6sr/artndb1.htm

"But, it [the NDB] is simple, reliable, and inexpensive, so it's very important in remote areas such as northern Canada, A simple receiver, called an Automatic Direction Finder (ADF), has a compass indicator which tells which direction an NDB lies from the craft. The tuning is manual, and so is the NDB identification. Nautical and aeronautical charts show which "dots-and-dashes" identifier lies at what location. "

A modern NDB transmitter:
http://www.nusaweb.com/prod05.htm
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Wed Sep 21, 2005 9:49 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 21):
Most of the country was navigation by Mk1 Eyeball only. The visual instruments a navigator used for visual navigation would e.g. include an optical drift meter and a ground scan radar pointing downwards.

Would these ever have been certified for civilian navigational use anywhere?
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:34 pm

Sure. Have you ever been on airliners of the 1940s-1950s? The driftmeter was essentially a periscope coupled with a gyro, a development from the WW2 bomb sights. It allowed a navigator to aim at a point on the ground and to directly measure wind drift (over featureless ground, like an ocean, he would drop a flare and use the floating flare as a point of aim). The ground scan radar was a development of the the British WW2 H2S bomb aiming radar. These were used on western airliners up to the early 1960s.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
cfcuq
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:55 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:57 pm

Glasnost ?  bigmouth 
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:31 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 33):
Sure. Have you ever been on airliners of the 1940s-1950s? The driftmeter was essentially a periscope coupled with a gyro, a development from the WW2 bomb sights. It allowed a navigator to aim at a point on the ground and to directly measure wind drift (over featureless ground, like an ocean, he would drop a flare and use the floating flare as a point of aim). The ground scan radar was a development of the the British WW2 H2S bomb aiming radar. These were used on western airliners up to the early 1960s.

Well, learning something new. I've never seen them mentioned in any aviation literature. Probably a number of the 1940-50s airliners then do have the belly hatch or pipe & dome for the observation as well as the downward looking radar? I may just have overlooked it in the pictures.
 
MD11Engineer
Posts: 13916
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:25 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:57 pm

I used to work on a DC-4. It still had the drift meter installed beside the navigator's panel. As I said, it was a periscope with a built in directional gyro, going all the way down to the bottom of the fuselage. IIRC, the driftmeter was made by Sperry.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
User avatar
TripleDelta
Crew
Posts: 1026
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:13 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:05 am

Quoting Eilennaei (Reply 31):
Normal radio equipment is not a navaid. Navaids and communication aids are two totally different categories

Wrong paraphrasing on my side. I meant "radio" as in the device on board the aircraft. A radio is generically used for both communication and navigation devices, so I hoped that it would be clear from the context for the post.
No plane, no gain.
 
User avatar
Francoflier
Posts: 3725
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2001 12:27 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:11 am

A former colleague of mine, who in 1998 (give or take 1 year) ferried an aircraft from Russia all the way to Central America going eastbound, told me about the quasi inexistence of VOR's in Russia, apart from a few in the bigger cities.

Apart from those, there were a lot of NDB's spread over the territory, which were the main radio nav source for x-coutry flying. In fact, If you climb aboard a Russian airliner (or aircraft in general) of that era, you can notice those huge ADF and no VOR equipment (unless it's a retrofit).
I guess the nav guy had the job cut out for him, especially for those flights deep within Russia territory. The glass nose was probably very useful for him.

Now as to why those Russian aircraft have so many crewmembers, I was once told by a Cuban pilot that back in the communist era, the government had to give every citizen a job, something to do. Assigning 5 crewmembers in each aircraft (pilot, copilot, radio, engineer, nav) was a great way to keep all those komrads busy... It's not like Aeroflot had to worry about salaries anyway.

Even the smaller AN-2 (as said above) or Yak-40 carried an extra engineer or navigator, who had nary a place to sit down...
I'll do my own airline. With Blackjack. And hookers. In fact, forget the airline.
 
eilennaei
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:41 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:33 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 36):
I used to work on a DC-4. It still had the drift meter installed beside the navigator's panel. As I said, it was a periscope with a built in directional gyro, going all the way down to the bottom of the fuselage. IIRC, the driftmeter was made by Sperry.

That would certainly explain the invisibility, thanks! Apart from being installed, were they ever certified for the civilian use (the DC-4 started as a military carrier) and used in practice? What about the downward-looking radars? Where do I find civilian stuff from the 40s-50s with a belly "radome"?
 
stirling
Posts: 3897
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 2:00 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Sun Oct 02, 2005 6:12 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 8):
One reason the Russians stuck so long to vacuum tube equipment is that this equipment is immune against the voltage spikes caused by an electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear explosion. The same pulse would fry any transistor equipment, if it wasn't especially hardened (very high effort!).

In was not until the late 1980's that the USAF did away with the AQS-38 bombing/navigation system on the B-52. It was an engineering feat to produce a comparable solid-state system as reliable as the old "Beer-Can" set. Called as such because of the racks upon racks of Potentiometers in A can....hardened, reliable, and relatively easy to diagnose.
Not sure what the new bombing/navigation developed by Sperry was called that made it onto the Gs and Hs and later the B-1B. After my time.
Delete this User
 
Alessandro
Posts: 4962
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2001 3:13 am

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:21 pm

Quoting TaromA380 (Thread starter):

It's a fact. All medium & heavy soviet-made PAX aircrafts, from the '60s - '70s, till the Il-62, Tu-154 and later IL-86, had a glass nose with a special navigator seat, which reminds the nose of a bomber.

The Tu-144 didn´t have glassnose. Il-62, Tu-154 was made during the 1960ies.

[Edited 2009-01-25 09:25:16]
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
azimuth361
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:28 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:36 pm

The Fisher pen company spent millions developing a pen that writes in space. The Soviets used a pencil.

An American aircraft carrier uses an expensive and complicated catapult system to launch planes. The Soviets built a ramp.

An American plane uses VOR and GPS technology to guide their flight. The Soviets put a guy up front with a map and binoculars.

Seems pretty easy for me to understand and I'm not even a pilot.
 
boacvc10
Posts: 469
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:31 pm

RE: Why Did Soviet Airliners Have Glass Nose?

Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:16 pm



Quoting Caboclo (Reply 9):
rotfl See on the table?

No, I'm looking with awe at the picture of the Navigator's significant other, or just your average stunning russian beauty  Smile

BOACVC10
Up, up and Away!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: RL777, UltimateDelta and 8 guests