In the history of Soviet aviation, there were a variety of aircraft that differed not only in technical characteristics. They were also treated differently by both the command and the pilots. And among the large number of popular modifications, there are those that were not just out of favor - they generally tried to bypass them, or at least fly them as rarely as possible. Such was the Tu-22 bomber, which the pilots gave a very apt nickname for its reputation - "Cannibal".
The Soviet long-range heavy supersonic aircraft designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau was put into service in 1962, and since then, until the end of its operation in the late nineties, a trail of ill fame followed it. The safety of this model has always been in great doubt due to numerous emergencies, sometimes with human casualties.
Tu-22 was given the gloomy nickname "Cannibal" due to the high accident rate. According to Novate.ru, every fourth bomber of this model was lost as a result of accidents, and this began with the design prototypes at the testing stage. Statistics claim that Tu-22s were broken regularly several times a year throughout the entire service life, on average - from three to six units.
Of course, such fame could not allow even experienced pilots to calmly sit at the wheel of the "Cannibal". However, he still remained in service for quite a long time - more than thirty years. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the fact that the Tu-22M and Tu-22M1 models, which were going to replace the emergency bomber, also turned out to be full of flaws and did not suit the command. True, after long delays, the Tu-22M1 still began to be mass-produced. And he did not succeed in completely ousting the "Cannibal".
Another reason that the aircraft, for all its shortcomings, continued to be in service, was that most of them were identified just during its operation. For example, when landing, the landing gear began to shake, which seriously complicated the pilot's work. In addition, even the engines caused problems. It turned out that they were poorly placed, which made the car poorly controlled at high speeds.
Of course, the car was repeatedly refined, and in a sense, it helped - Tu-22s began to crash less often. But the reputation of the bomber was already irretrievably lost, and it was not possible to completely get rid of the problems. Therefore, when in the mid-nineties the "Cannibal" was finally taken out of service, many pilots breathed a sigh of relief.
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