To the first flight of the Tu-204 aircraft

The first Tu-204 aircraft. Photo by © Tupolev Design Bureau archive

On 2 January 1989, the first flight of the prototype of the Tu-204 medium-haul passenger aircraft took place. The aircraft with the number 64001 was taken to the sky by the crew under the command of test pilot Andrey Talalakin. The 32-minute flight was completed without any faults.

Tupolev Design Bureau began work on a promising long-range airliner in 1973. For almost ten years, research work was carried out, during which various layout solutions were worked out, including a three-engine version of the aircraft. As a result, a family of aircraft with 160-220 seats in a single-class layout with two engines on pylons under the wing was born.

The decision of the Military-Industrial Commission and the USSR Council of Ministers was issued in 1979. Unified D-90 (PS-90) engines, similar to those used on the Il-96-300, were chosen as the powerplant. Up to 1986, the aircraft was designed in a three-engine version, but after revision of the engine design with an increase in thrust to 16 tonnes, it was decided that the aircraft would have two engines. Its distinctive features were a digital control system and high degree of dual-circuit engines.

The construction of two prototypes was completed in 1988. The bulk of factory testing was completed by December 1993, and three production aircraft were involved in flights. The first production aircraft was produced in August 1990. From March to December 1993, operational tests were carried out, and in 1994 the TU-204 was issued an airworthiness certificate.

According to plans, it was planned to build 530 Tu-204 of different modifications until 2000, but only about 90 aircraft were produced. In 2022, amid the imposition of anti-Russian sanctions, it was decided to resume serial production of Tu-214 aircraft and restore the airworthiness of previously built Tu-204s.