Central Air Force Museum, Monino
A really special plane at the museum is in fact an airliner the Soviets called the Rossiya. CCCP-L5611 (cn 5611) was the fastes turboprop powered plane at the time and had a huge range of 10.900 kilometers. It continues to hold the official title of fastest propeller-driven aircraft since 1960 as well as a number of other World Records.
Tupolev designed the aircraft based of the Tu-95 bomber. Only 33 of this aircraft were built. The aircraft on display in the museum was the first Tu-114, which was first flown to the West in 1958 when it visited Brussels for the World Exhibition. It later carried Nikita Khrushchev on his first trip to the United States. It entered operational service with Aeroflot in 1961. After a short life all aircraft got scrapped by Aeroflot in 1977 when service was taken over by jet powered airliners like the Il-62. The Tu-114 was used until 1991(!) by the Russian Air Force.
During the 1960s the West started the development of the supersonic transport or SST. The Americans designed the Boeing 2707 and a Anglo-French corporation developed the Concorde. The Boeing was never completed, but the Concorde turned out the be the only successful SST for decades to come. With the Cold War raging, the Russians wanted a SST of their own.
The race was on and the Tu-144 prototype first flight was on 31 December 1968, two month before Concorde. The design was very similar to that of Concorde and allegations were frequently made that Soviet espionage services had stolen Concorde plans.
Being a unreliable aircraft the Tu-144 wasn’t a success. The noise during flight was so devastating, transporting passengers was nearly impossible.
CCCP-77106 in the museum was the first production aircraft. This Tu-144S had made a total of 320 flights with almost 600 flying hours. This aircraft did the first SST landing on a dirty runway when she was retired to Monino.
More on the Tu-144 in our aircraft factsheet.
The weirdest plane in the collection is in fact a test vehicle used in the development of a spaceplane. The EPOS project started in 1965 and was halted 4 years later. It was resurrected in response to the Space Shuttle program in the US. Prototype Nr. 11 made its first sub-sonic flight in 1976. Flight tests, totaling eight in all, continued sporadically until 1978. The program was cancelled if favor of the Buran project.
The Ye-150 family was a series of prototype single-seat fighter/interceptor aircraft built from 1955. The Ye-152M was a converted Ye-152-2 with canard wings and a single R-15-300 engine. The canards are now removed, but the mounts can still be seen on the front fuselage.
The Ye-166 titles on the aircraft at Monino are fake. The three stars signify the world records set by its sister ship, the Ye-152-1.
Bartini Beriev VVA-14
Another weird one is the VVA-14 Ekranoplane. The aircraft was designed to use ground effect to fly at high speeds just above the sea surface as an anti-submarine aircraft. It could also fly at altitude and make use of runways as a normal aircraft would.
CCCP-10687 (real registration CCCP-19172) is the only surviving prototype of the two made during the 70s. It sits in the museum in dismantled and poorly state.
Lavochkin developed the La-250 as a high altitude interceptor during the 50s. It got the nickname Anakonda due to it’s shape and critical flight characteristics. Five prototypes were build, first flight was on 16 July 1956. But after crashes the program was cancelled and lessons learned where used on the Tu-128 development.
In 1965 Sukhoi OKB started with the development of a supersonic all-weather attack aircraft, later called the Su-24 Fencer. The first prototype, T-6-1 was completed in May 1967 and flew on 2 July. It had a delta wing with 4 RD-36-35 lift engines mounted in the fuselage to give it STOL capability. This design was dropped in later prototypes because the significant loss of flight distance as the lift engines occupied space normally reserved for fuel. The later design (T-6-2) uses a variable geometry wing design and two Saturn turbojets. The Su-24 is very similar in design compared to its Western rival, the F-111.
The S-26 was an experimental fighter able to operate from soft airfields with low density ground, for instance snow. This all-ski variant (17 red) on display at the museum was ready for production, but never commenced. Experience gained was used to develop the Su-7BKL which had a ski/wheel configuration. This aircraft (15 red) is also on display with skids on the back undercarriage.
In 1969 the Soviets learned from the American F-X program which resulted in the F-15. Two PFI (Prospective Frontline Fighter)programs were started in the Soviet Union: The MiG-29 (Lightweight PFI) and the Su-27 (Heavy PFI). The prototype called T-10-1 (10 blue) emerged in 1977 and had a delta wing construction, podded engines and a twin tail. The development saw considerable problems with a fatal crash in December 1978. The design was radically altered and the T-10S made its first flight in April 1981. Another crash caused more delays, and the production Su-27 not went into service until 1984.
An upgrade to the Su-27 was initially called the Su-27M, later designated the Su-35. This first prototype (701 blue) made its maiden flight on 28 June 1988, piloted by Sukhoi test pilot Oleg Tsoy. One of the most obvious changes was the addition of canards and additional pylons under the wings. 11 prototypes were build, including one (Su-37) with thrust vectoring capabilities.