Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Tu-154


#1

Hello all,

Long time member of Flight Aware, first time poster.

I just got back from a trip to DC (“the other Washington”, as it’s referred to where I’m from). On the trip to and from Dulles to see the Udvar-Hazy center, I ran across this interesting sight (pardon the astoundingly craptastic iPhone shots taken from a moving Metro bus).

http://simav8rproductions.smugmug.com/photos/i-LGGwBFw/0/S/i-LGGwBFw-S.jpg

http://simav8rproductions.smugmug.com/photos/i-fcJDhwR/0/S/i-fcJDhwR-S.jpg

Tail number RA-85655. Research shows that it is operated by the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (as indicated by the livery). I found some info stating that it’s their zero-G trainer, but that wouldn’t explain what it’s doing at Dulles. Anyone know any more about this aircraft? It’s been spotted at a bunch of locations, many of which seem to have little to do with Russian spaceflight.

I have recently become fascinated by Russian/Soviet aircraft, so it was cool to see something other than a museum-owned MiG-15 or MiG-21. Being a spaceflight enthusiast, this particular aircraft was an especially great find :mrgreen: .


#2

Was it parked at the Annex or at Dulles? Maybe folks over from the Russian Space Program?


#3

Not sure what you mean by “the annex”. Dulles isn’t an airport I know much about. Referencing Google Earth, I’m pretty sure it was parked in the jet GA ramp east of the main terminal (next to the end of runway 19L, running parallel to Windsock Drive).


#4

The “annex” is another name for Udvar-Hazy. Was wondering if maybe it was a “donation!” Probably not. Wonder that the range of that bird is.


#5

Approximately 2,000 miles. That, of course, is in regular airline service. This aircraft’s mileage may vary.


#6

According to Wikipedia, that’s a good approximation for the TU-154B-2. The TU-154M is 4100 miles with max fuel and 3280 fully loaded.

Star City to Dulles is 4890. Anyone searched for a TU-154 into IAD?


#7

This is used for aerial surveillance flights under the Open Skies Treaty.

state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/03/186738.htm

Pete