From Russia With Love The Tupolev Tu-334. Designed to replace the Tu-134, the Tu-334 was a short and medium-range aircraft produced with the intention of being in service all over the world. This aircraft was, unfortunately, scrapped, after Russian aircraft companies decided in 2009 to discontinue the program.
When the Yak-42s and Tu-134s began to age, the Tupolev Tu-334 was announced. This project was based on a shortened fuselage from the Tu-204 and designed with a smaller wing. This aircraft, however, had engines and the T-tail mounted on the fuselage’s rear, not underneath the wings. Even though development was moving quickly, and some prototypes were produced, the project was scrapped.
In 2009, the Tu-334 was cancelled. This occurred after the United Aircraft Corporation was formed. Instead of working on the Tu-334, the corporation decided to focus on the Irkut MC-21, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, and the Antonov-148.
Development on the Tu-334 began in earnest in the 1990s, but funding issues caused the development to slow. Even though there was a prototype in early 1995, this was only a mockup with some systems installed.
The first functional Tu-334 flew in early 1999, with agreements being in place a few years later for MiG to take over the production of this plane. On December 30, 2003, there was a Russian certificate.
More budget problems arose, resulting in the production being delayed.
Orders and Deliveries
By December of 2006, there were seven airlines who had placed firm orders for the Tu-334. Additionally, there were 24 other airlines that had issued letters of intent for a total of 297 planes.
One of the first airliners to order the Tu-334 was Atlant-Soyuz Airlines. Other airlines quickly followed suit, but unfortunately by January of 2009 no reported progress was made on the production of the Tu-334.
This meant that since the plane was years behind schedule and since there were only two of these aircraft flying a decade after they first took to the air, the plane came under great scrutiny. This scrutiny resulted in the cancellation of the project, allowing companies to turn their focus to other aircraft that not only were more developed, but also already taking to the air.
The original Tu-334 was designed to fly 72 passengers. Twelve were to be in first class, while 60 were in tourist class. The other option was to have 102 passengers in a single high-density cabin.
Other variants of this aircraft include the Tu-334-100C, which was a passenger and freight combination. The Tu 334-120 had powerful Rolls-Royce BR715-55 engines.
Other planner variants included the Tu-334-1—D, which was a stretched and extended version. The Tu-334-120D had Rolls Royce BR-715-55 engines. The Tu-336 was proposed to use liquid natural gas. Finally, the Tu-354 is a further stretched version.
There is not a lot of information available about the flight deck of the Tu-334. There was enough room on the plane for two or three crew members, and the pilot had a comfortable space with updated equipment. Thanks to the improved systems that offered control and safety, this plane was relatively easy for the pilot to fly.
Designed to be roomy and to allow for various configurations, the Tu-334 featured a comfortable cabin. The passengers could easily sit four or six abreast with a center aisle that was still wide enough for crew and passengers to easily navigate the plane.
The plane was designed to prevent a lot of noise in the cabin, which would make it comfortable for passengers to travel in this plane. Additionally, the Tu-334 featured comfortable seats that allowed for plenty of space for passengers to spread out.
The Tu-334 engines were mounted on the sides, not under the wings. These were twin 73.6kN ZMKB Progress D436T1 turbofans, offering plenty of power to allow the max take-off weight of 47,900 kg.
This plane had a cruising speed of 820 km/h with a range of 3,150 km. It could easily and quickly reach its cruising altitude of 35,000 ft. With a total length of 31.26 m, height of 9.38 m, and wingspan of 29.77 m, this aircraft offered plenty of space for comfortable travel.
The landing gear on the Tu-334 was the typical retractable tricycle type landing gear. Additionally, there was nose landing gear that also retracted to help during take-off and landing.