CCCP-L5400   Tupolev Tu 104                                       (no c/n given)


                                Not surprisingly, the only shot I have of a Soviet registered aircraft from the 1950s era is this excellent
                                image of the prototype Tu 104 taken by Jennifer Gradidge on the occasion of its first flight into London
                                Airport in the spring of 1956.  I say not surprisingly, since, as a young air cadet, I did write to Aeroflot
                                for photographs but, of course, received no reply.   The Tu 104 was actually the first jet airliner to enter
                                airline service and its 1956 appearance shocked western observers.  They had no idea that the Soviets
                                were so far advanced with their civil airliner development, albeit they were variants of military aircraft.
                             .  The machine above was the forerunner of some 200 Tu 104s built.