‘Black Pearl’ of Russian air power returns to the sky (VIDEO)

The unique Tu-134UBL plane, also known as the ‘Black Pearl,’ has returned to the air after undergoing repairs, with the comeback flight caught in spectacular footage.

It was developed on the basis of the Tu-134 passenger jet in early 1990s to train pilots and navigators from Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 strategic nuclear-capable bombers. Around 90 such aircraft were produced between 1981 and 1984.


The plane was given a pointy nose, just like those of the bombers, and colored in black, which became the reason for the nickname.

The extended nose part of the ‘Black Pearl’ is used to host radar and other equipment as well as 12 seats for trainees.

The video shows Tu-134UBL, which NATO calls Crusty-B, during system testing, taxi, takeoff and the beginning of the first one-hour-long flight after leaving the repair shop.

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