DescriptionThe Tupolev Tu-144 (Russian: Tyполев Ту-144; NATO reporting name: Charger) is a Soviet supersonic passenger airliner designed by Tupolev in operation from 1968 to 1999.
The Tu-144 is sometimes referred to as the Russian Concorde, or Concordeski.
The Tu-144 was the world's first commercial supersonic transport aircraft with its prototype's maiden flight from Zhukovsky Airport on 31 December 1968, two months before the British-French Concorde. The Tu-144 was a product of the Tupolev Design Bureau, an OKB headed by aeronautics pioneer Aleksey Tupolev, and 16 aircraft were manufactured by the Voronezh Aircraft Production Association in Voronezh. The Tu-144 conducted 102 commercial flights, of which only 55 carried passengers, at an average service altitude of 16,000 metres (52,000 ft) and cruised at a speed of around 2,200 kilometres per hour (1,400 mph) (Mach 2). The Tu-144 first went supersonic on 5 June 1969, four months before Concorde, and on 26 May 1970 became the world's first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2.
The Tu-144 suffered from reliability and developmental issues, and with the 1973 Paris Air Show Tu-144 crash, restricted the viability for regular use. The Tu-144 was introduced into passenger service with Aeroflot between Moscow and Almaty on 26 December 1975, but withdrawn less than three years later after a second Tu-144 crashed and retired on 1 June 1978. The Tu-144 remained in commercial service as a cargo aircraft until cancellation of the Tu-144 program in 1983. The Tu-144 was later used by the Soviet space program to train pilots of the Buran spacecraft, and by NASA for supersonic research until 1999. The Tu-144 made its final flight on 26 June 1999 and surviving aircraft were put on display across the world or into storage.
Along with early Tu-134s, the Tu-144 was one of the last commercial aircraft with a braking parachute. The prototypes were also the only passenger jets ever fitted with ejection seats, albeit only for the crew and not the passengers. A total of 16 Tu-144's were built.
For details of the development, design, production and operational history of the Tu-144, click here.
- 65.7 m (215 ft 7 in)
- 28.8 m (94 ft 6 in)
- 12.55 m (41 ft 2 in)
- Wing Area:
- 506.35 sq m (5,450.3 sq ft)
- Wing Loading:
- 410.96 kg/sq m (84.17 lb/sq ft)
- Empty Weight:
- 99,200 kg (218,699 lb)
- 207,000 kg (456,357 lb)
- Fuel Capacity:
- 93,000 kg (205,000 lb)
- 4 × Kolesov RD-36-51 turbojet or Kuznetsov NK-144 turbofan afterburning engines, 240 kN (54,000 lbf) thrust each
- Maximum speed: 2,500 km/h (1,600 mph, 1,300 kn), Mach 2.15
- Cruise Speed:
- 2,125 km/h (1,320 mph, 1,147 kn), Cruise Mach number: M2
- 6,500 km (4,000 mi, 3,500 nmi)
- Rate of Climb:
- 50 m/s (9,800 ft/min)
- Service Ceiling:
- 20,000 m (66,000 ft)