Russian woman dreams of restoring historic Soviet jet airliner

For nearly three decades, an old Soviet airliner lay abandoned on a small airfield deep inside Siberia.

Years of neglect under the harsh Siberian climate had reduced the Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-104A to little more than a decaying wreck.

Until Maria Karmanova came into the picture.

On hearing about the old Tupolev rusting away at her local aerodrome at Berdsk, near Novosibirsk, she set herself the challenge of restoring it to its former glory.

Karmanova, 31, holds a doctorate in mathematics and works at the Sobolev Institute of Mathematics in Akademgorodok, one of Russia’s so-called “science cities.”

The Tupolev Tu-104 was one of the most legendary airliners of its time.

Launched in the mid-1950s, the Tu-104 was briefly the world’s only operational jet airliner — a symbol of Soviet technological prowess at a time when Western aircraft manufacturers were still struggling to come up with a viable jet airliner.

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