Saturday, August 4, 2007

My russian aviation adventures

Fifteen years ago, in the summer of 1992, I had the opportunity to fly the Tupolev 154 as a flight engineer. I was flying with an Aeroflot crew based in St-Petersburg, Russia. This was part of a flight training program that also included theoretical studies at the Russian Academy of Civil Aviation in Aviagorodok (near St-Petersburg) and practical exercises on a flight simulator.

The Tu-154 did not have a glass cockpit like modern aircrafts, so the flight crew had to be skilled in aerodynamics as well as aicraft systems and engines. For someone who wanted to learn about airplanes, this was the right airplane to fly. The Tu-154 was powered by three Kuznetsov NK-82 turbofans and was a very reliable airplane at the time. The Tu-154 seats about 160 passengers and flight crew of three or four. I was seated on the flight engineer deck. My role was to control and monitor the aircraft's engines and systems (hydraulic, electrical, pneumatic, air conditioning, and APU) during normal, abnormal, and emergency situations. Each flight started with a visual inspection of the exterior of the airplane followed by some systems and engines checks inside the cabin.

The Tu-154 flight manual was a good guide and I was fortunate to have a very professional and experienced instructor during the simulator training. The flights took me to the following cities:

  • Anapa
  • Mourmansk
  • Dnepr
  • Kiev
  • Moscow
  • Simferopol
  • Volgograd
  • Krasnadar
  • Sotchi

All these flights were uneventful and gave me the chance to discover the russian countryside. It was a pleasure to fly with the rest of the crew. They were interested in learning few english and french words from me. My first 6 months in Russia were spent learning to speak, read, and write in the russian language. The total immersion helped learn the language very quickly and I was able to take all the aviation courses and read the aircraft technical documentation in russian.

I wanted to revive my memories of flying the Tu-154 with a PC-based flight simulator. While surfing the web, I found a web site for Project Tupolev Tu-154B2 which is a flight simulator for the Tu-154. In the simulator, the flight engineer panel is very detailed and realistic. It is divided in sub-panels for engine parameters, hydraulic system, electrical system, etc.

Instructions are provided on how to get the engines and systems started, but clearly, my previous knowledge about the aircraft was very helpful. The simulator comes with an english user guide, but the flight deck is completely in russian.

The simulator can be downloaded from the Project Tupolev Support Site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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