....a much changed and improved aircraft in
1958. This version, identified as the Comet 4, was not really
competitive with the new generation of jet transports coming into
use at that time, and only 74 were built.
The commercial success of the Comet was
limited, but it was the first jet transport and represented a
large step forward in our concepts of air transportation and its
utility. It is unfortunate that the pioneering work of the
designers and builders of the Comet was not rewarded with greater
success. The Comet, in highly modified form, survives today as a
marine reconnaissance aircraft known as the Nimrod. An interesting
account of the development of the various versions of the Comet is
contained in reference 169.
The Tupolev Tu- 104 is the second of the
pioneer jet transports. This aircraft was first flown on June 17,
1955, and went into scheduled airline operations in 1956 on the
Moscow-Omsk-Irkutsk route. In 1957, an improved version of the
aircraft, the Tu-104A, captured a number of records for speed,
altitude, distance, and load-carrying capability. The Tu-104
transport was developed from the "Badger" bomber and utilized the
same wings, tall surfaces, engines and inlets, landing gear, and
fuselage nose section as the earlier bomber aircraft. Figure 13.4
depicts a Tu-104B, and the data in table VII are for this version of the aircraft.
As can be seen in figure 13.4, the Tu-104B
is a low-wing aircraft with a conventional tall arrangement and a
wing incorporating pronounced sweepback. The transparent nose
adopted from the bomber version of the aircraft is clearly visible
in the photograph. The two engines that power the Tu-104 are
located in nacelles that are faired into  the wing roots.
This arrangement is somewhat similar to that employed on the
Comet; however, the nacelles are larger and the circular inlets
extend forward of the leading edge of the wing, as contrasted with
the leading-edge inlets on the Comet. The two main landing-gear
struts are fitted with four-wheel bogies and retract
rearward into pods on the wing. The aircraft has a seating
capacity of 100 passengers arranged in a 5-abreast configuration.
The sweepback angle of the aspect ratio 6.5 wing is 40° from
the root to about the midsemispan position and is 37.5° from
there to the tip. Each wing has two large fences located in the
streamwise position on the top surface of each wing. One of these
is at the position where the sweep angle changes, and the other is
farther outboard. As indicated in chapter 10, these fences help control the boundary layer and,
hence, improve the stalling characteristics of the wing. Lateral
control is provided by conventional ailerons that are operated
manually; manual longitudinal control is also used. The rudder is
actuated hydraulically. The wings are equipped with trailing-edge
Fowler-type flaps and have no leading-edge devices. A Fowler flap
is similar to the double-slotted flap shown in figure 10.25(b),
but without the small segment between the wing and the main
portion of the flap.
The Tu-104B is powered by two Mikulin
turbojet engines of 21 385 pounds thrust each. The engines are
equipped with thrust reversers, although some of the early models
did not have this equipment. These early aircraft employed two
braking parachutes to assist in stopping the aircraft on landing.
Insofar as can be determined, no other commercial transport
aircraft (except early versions of the Tupolev...