A friend of the family lives in the approach path of Frankfurt a.M. Airport (FRA, EDDF). Until a few years ago, Tupolev Tu-154s were still flying to this airport, although as I understand, they don't anymore due to noise issues. I could not find out when exactly the last Tu-154 flew to Frankfurt, but the newest photos on Wikimedia Commons are from 2012.
The friend told us that the Tupolevs flying over his town always looked like they were about to fall out of the sky the next minute, because they were somehow flying in an aerodynamically unfavourable configuration, probably due to the aforementioned noise issues.
I find this hard to believe, since from what I have read, the Tu-154 should be more aerodynamically "forgiving" than other planes. For example, to compare the newest variant, the Tu-154M, with a Boeing 737 MAX:
|Tu-154||Boeing 737 MAX|
|wing area||202 m²||127 m²|
|maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)||104 t||89 t|
|thrust||103 kN * 3 = 309 kN||130 kN * 2 = 260 kN|
Now the MTOW of the Tupolev is a bit higher than the 737, but with that much thrust and wing area it should generate more lift than the 737. The Wikipedia page also states the Tu-154 was designed for short runways and harsh conditions. That plane can land on a 700 m runway. All this considered it should be able to fly into a nice big-city airport easily.
Unless however the thrust was limited (e.g. for noise reduction).
So now I'm wondering:
Would regulatory or technical conditions force the Tu-154 to fly in an unfavourable or unusual configuration when flying into Frankfurt? Or is our friend wrong?
Information or experiences from other airports and other countries are also welcome.
I have found a video of a Tu-154 landing at Frankfurt, but it only shows the "last few meters" and does not look unusual to me: