We have been following the ongoing development of the Tupolev Tu-134 for Microsoft Flight Simulator, a fascinating project that offers something new in comparison to the typical western airliners. We have seen the aircraft slowly coming to life through a series of detailed videos, always in Russian, that in any case provide us, western simmers, with a glimpse of how a soviet-era airplane operates and how detailed this simulation is being built for MSFS.
In an effort to know more about this project and get some additional insight for our readers, who have shown a surprising amount of interest in it, we reached out to Alexey Klyuchko (also known as KAI 31), developer of the aircraft, with some questions about the current progress and what his plans are for the near future.
Throughout this exclusive interview, you will learn a bit more about the developer’s overall ambitions, some specific details about what is planned and also some promising bits about how western pilots will be able to enjoy the product. Disregard the language barrier, as Alexeys’ words are often quite beautiful and poetic, and he clearly has a lot of passion for his aircraft. It’s a small tale of affection from a developer who is looking forward to much more than simply making a cheap virtual airplane to fly in a simulator. He wants future simmers who will eventually fly his airplane in MSFS to feel a deeper connection with aviation and to touch a piece of history.
Thank you Alexey for the opportunity to know more about your Tu-134.
Could you tell us more about your purpose with this aircraft? Are you looking to create a complex simulation?
In my opinion, the purpose of computer flight simulators is not only to introduce users to aviation. The most important thing at the same time is to give the opportunity not just to fly in the sky, but also to get maximum pleasure from it, this is knowledge and skills that can enable users to touch the beautiful and interesting world of aviation, learn the work of pilots and navigators, flight support services and interaction of the entire complex related to flights and not only. Knowledge of aviation disciplines gives understanding, development and understanding of the very essence of flight. Another very important factor for me is the preservation of history, the opportunity to introduce people not just to museum exhibits and descriptions of aircraft, but also to get an idea of how pilots flew or fly, how navigation was carried out, to feel the atmosphere not only visually but also to feel the individual situation of each particular aircraft, its features, specifics of behavior. In the main priorities of my project, I just put all this as the main thing, the flight is not on a computer in a computer, but so that each user can say with confidence for a flight performed on a model that he performed, within the limits of the possibilities, of course, the work of a pilot or navigator, using his knowledge and skills and received the necessary satisfaction and impressions from this. And of course, this requires the maximum possible implementation and compliance of the model with the prototype, so I try to implement everything to the maximum and analogy as much as possible.
We have been following your progress over the past year. How are you doing? Is the development going well?
Thank you for your interest, this is a very important and positive moment for the project as a whole. Interest and support are very important in order to cope with such a difficult and time-consuming task as creating and studying a seriously developed model. Development is underway, both for the project and the author. To implement all my plans on my own, I had to master several programming languages, I studied and constantly improved the skills of 3D modeling, creating and processing graphics, plus, of course, a deep study of the prototype and all possible documentation for it. The project was created to port and improve the Tu-134A-3 model from SCS from FS-2004 to FSX and then grew into creating its own model for P3D-x64 and an even more advanced model for MSFS. For the past 7 years, there has been a constant development, and all the successes are obvious, they can be traced and compared by the videos on my channel and the stories in the VKontakte group.
What variants of the Tu-134 do you plan to release?
The Tu-134 has more than 70 modifications. It is planned to create several main ones: first, Tu-134A-3, the next stage is Tu-134B-3, then Tu-134-UBL and then a modification that allows you to equip all options with a VIP salon. Perhaps there will be individual layouts and individual modifications to order or if possible, but this is after the construction of all the main models.
The plane attracted the attention of Western MSFS users. Do you think a pilot from the west will be able to use your plane?
It is very pleasing that the model attracts users not only of the country in which the prototype was developed and operated, but also foreign users. There are virtual pilots from other countries who have purchased a model for P3D-x64 and I communicate with many of them, so I can say that yes, the model quite adequately gives foreign users the opportunity to get what it is being developed for. In addition, it is planned to finalize and adapt both the model itself and the documentation, manuals and auxiliary tools to different requirements. Everyone who buys a model gets the opportunity to communicate with me directly and I, despite the fact that I do not almost speak spoken English, help them in everything, up to remote connection and training, even despite the language barrier. Modern methods of communication allow you to carry out everything quite normally and communicate with anyone and in any language, and many, as it turned out, know Russian quite well. So everything is real.
Do you plan to implement some functions to make it easier for Western pilots to enjoy your aircraft?
Yes, it is planned and as I wrote above, I will try to do everything for this.
Will there be any detailed documentation so that people can learn how to work with it?
Documentation in English and Russian is already available for previous models and it will be finalized and improved in the future and in accordance with the features of the model.
Does the Tu-134 have any features that you think people will like?
The Tu-134 is generally unique in itself. It is so unlike other planes that it will take a very long time to highlight and describe everything that can attract. One of the main points is that I try to convey the entire atmosphere of the prototype by implementing it in the behavior of the model, the interaction of the virtual crew and the user, both in the automatic operation of the crew and with voice control in accordance with the real work of the Tu-134 crew, using non-standard methods of navigation using unique prototype systems, each flight on the model is unique and always gives unique sensations, knowledge, skills and experience. Among other things, a very detailed study of both the visual part and the system-software complex of the model is planned for the implementation of everything that the prototype and the flight on it represented from Seba.
Can you give an approximate release date?
At this stage, I can’t talk about the release date yet. There are a lot of factors that make it possible to do this. The only thing is that it will be, that’s for sure. In the next 2022, it is planned to implement 75% of the A-3 model and it is possible to make early access for those who are not indifferent to the project and they want to support its development and existence.
What about the prices? Anything about this that you can reveal?
I can’t predict anything exactly about the price yet. The cost will be determined as usual by the general adequate reviews and voting of participants and all users, and then the final figure will be displayed. The only thing I can say for sure is that those who support the project by purchasing models or providing financial support will receive, as always, tangible discounts on a new model.
Are you planning to release an airplane for Xbox?
Now I am not considering a separate weight for the Xbox yet. To implement this variant, it is necessary to almost completely redo, reduce the quality, detail of the entire model, redesign the instruments for the console features, change the ways of controlling and interacting with the entire complex, especially navigation, because external applications and modules are used for the model that are needed for drawing up flight plans, interaction with the crew and systems, and it is problematic to implement this on the console.
What liveries are you planning to add?
The main liveries will be developed first of all by Aeroflot of the USSR and the company livery of the project to begin with, and then in the future the rest. The livery of the airlines operating the Tu-134 in reality has more than 80 main options, so not all at once)) It will be possible to order liveries.
Thank you Alexey for giving us more information about your project. What would you like to say to our readers and those who are interested in your aircraft?
And thank you for your interest in my project and the Tu-134. I would like to wish you all good health and a lot of pleasant and memorable moments in your life. Support what benefits all of you so that it never stops and develops as quickly and better as possible, because by supporting progress you are doing even more good, first of all, to yourself and the entire simulation community. Learn what interests you and you can start right now, especially if there is something and where. Do not deny yourself the pleasure. It takes some time to study and understand the Tu-134, as in reality, I have been finding and learning something new about this aircraft every day for more than 7 years, and in order not to miss anything important and get everything to the maximum, it is advisable to prepare in advance and this is a fact.