CCCP-42397 Tupolev TU-104A of Aeroflot
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Always drew a lot of attention from by many in its heyday, then eventually bowing out to the more modern TU-154's on the short to medium haul routings
DIH Adds: the Loading Staff found the TU104 a less than easy Aircraft to Load and Unload (the only time I rendered one particular Head Loader speechless, was when I had occasion to advise him he had loaded the wrong aircraft).
Those of us who as part of the job, visited the Cabin (which reminded me of the Films of the Orient Express, rather than an Aircraft Interior) were always treated with unfailing courtesy, fizzy drinks and badges. A visit through the Pressure Door to the Flight Deck and the five man crew (Captain, F/O, Navigator and Radio Operator - Who had the best English), even when delivering the occasional note from the MOD advising them they had been naughty (again) by overflying RAF Airfields or other Bases, one would still be made welcome. Unless you took one of the Female PSA's with you, in which case you were ignored completely!
However on the Simferopol rotations we would get our own back by ignoring the Flight Deck Crew, as Aeroflot seemed to roster its most attractive and charming Air Hostesses on that route!
As for operations, well firstly the Tu 104 fuel consumption made the Comet look frugal, which meant that a technical stops were often made enroute to Gatwick. This in turn meant that we would sometimes see the actual Weight and Balance Loadsheets slipped into the Passenger Manifests by the staff at the tech stop. The Trim envelope on the Aircraft was very narrow compared with any other type I dealt with. I wish I could remember some of the other detail, but too much time has passed.
We on the other hand did not do the Loadsheet outbound, just handing the crew a load weights statement.
When a TU 104 had to pop the braking chute (a semi-routine operation), this would cause some disruption, while it was recovered. This use of a braking chute made the TU 104 unique in my experience, although it appears that very early Tu 134 Aircraft did have it fitted, I never saw it used.
Aeroflot Station Managers of that era were amongst the most diplomatic one had to deal with. They also had problems which others did not have to deal with, such Aeroflot charter flights not appearing due the Aircraft to being put on standby for possible Troop Movements. It didn't happen often, but when it did, they couldn't talk to Moscow and in turn they wouldn't talk to us!
All History now and Aeroflot today is a totally different organisation.
Another Tupolev TU104A Picture in this Album:
CCCP-42415 Tupolev TU-104A of Aeroflot
Aeroflot Web Site - English Available
Aeroflot - Wikipedia Entry
Tupolev TU-104 - Wikipedia Entry
Tupolev TU-104 - Aerospace Web