Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Aeroplane Bar Letka - Tupolev 104 - Olomouc

The “aeroplane bar” in Olomouc is quite a landmark. Situated near the Billa supermarket and the swimming pool it used to be a popular hangout for the local communist elite during the 1970's, and is still pretty much the same as it was then, just a little tattier, with warm canned beer, music so bad it puts a smile on your face, a dance floor in what used to be the cockpit (apparently also a bed up there somewhere), and not many communists (often no customers at all). It's open from 9pm until 7am, and you need to ring a buzzer and wait for somebody to come and let you in.

The bloke in the blue polyester suit doesn't seem to work there any more but it's still oozing with it's own unique character. The seats are from the original plane, just oriented around the tables.

The aeroplane itself has an interesting history. It's a Soviet made Tupolev 104, one of the worlds earliest jet airliners. Around 200 were built from 1956 until production ceased in 1960. Most of them saw service with Aeroflot and the Soviet Air force, but as this one is parked up in the Czech Republic it is presumably one of the six 104A's which were operated by Czechoslovak Airlines beginning in 1957, flying routes from Czechoslovakia to Paris, Brussels and Moscow. Being one of only six it may perhaps be the only one left in the Czech and Slovak Republics. From 1956 until 1958 the Tupolev 104 was the only jet airliner in service in the world. The large jet engines were mounted where the wing connected with the fuselage. The plane's interior was interesting in that it was fitted out in a pseudo Victorian manner using copper, lace and mahogany.
A couple of interesting variants were produced, including the 104AK, which was used for cosmonaut training, and the 104LL which was used for heavy air to air missile tests. It was used by Aeroflot until 1979, and the Soviet air force until 1981, when it was deemed to be unsafe.


Francie said...

That was very interesting Mr Q! Must have been very flash when it first started flying. The Olomouc plane really should be more famous than it is. And it probably would be if it weren't so dreadful to go to.

I remember the first time I went there, one girl from Canada said "oh, how cute, they've glued down the flower vase so that it doesn't move during turbulance". Then it came unstuck in her hand and we all realised at once that it wasn't glue but that the table had probably not be cleaned in years and it was just sticky. Eeeew...

Have had some of my best nights out there though, rockin' the plane dancing in the cockpit. (There really is a bed right up there in the nose and we have had it on good authority that 'stuff' happens there!!!)

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