Niall McMahon

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Tupolev 154

2010-04-12

Niall McMahon

The Polish aircraft which crashed at the weekend was a Tupolev 154, one of two similar aircraft used by Poland's president. Designated 101 and 102, they were delivered in 1990. Some reports in the media suggest that the age of the aircraft was a contributing factor in the crash; comments on the BBC's Have Your Say website explicitly propose that this is something to do with a lack of sophistication. There is at least some west European and American snobbery involved here. The modified Boeing 707 aircraft, which served as an Air Force One as recently as 1998, was in service for 36 years. The first of the current 747s used as Air Force One was delivered in 1990, the same year as the Tu-154 that crashed. The Tu-154 has a normal technical safety record, all things being equal, comparable to the similar Boeing 727. These reliable aircraft were maintained to a high standard and flown by air force pilots. It is possible, although unlikely, that a technical fault alone downed the aircraft.

More details about the aircraft are available in Polish at the Gazeta website.

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