14 The Tu-144, Tail-Number 77107

The Tu-144, Tail-Number 77107

Posted on March 15, 2012 by kulichik

In 1960-70 they made a great contribution into technical development throughout the entire world. The USSR also produced unique models that could never be repeated. The TU-144 is a work of mechanical art. Today we’ll board the airplane Tu-144, tail-number 77107.

The plane can be viewed by anybody in Kazan.

Unfortunately, the space occupied by the airplane makes it inconvenient to take good photos of it.

The teacher of the airplane construction and engineering department Aleksey Ivanovich will tell us about the history in details.

Long time ago there existed a nuclear-weapon state USSR and people were troubled by the fact that they couldn’t not fly high in the sky.

The Tu-144 was a more successful vehicle than Concrode according to many characteristics. The canard surfaces that enabled to increase maneuvering ability at low speed, better engine location and lesser required length of an airstrip prove the fact.

But in spite of initial characteristics, 14 Concrodes flew for almost 30 years and carried around three million passengers, whereas two Tu-144s managed to carry just 3000 passengers during 7 month of their exploitation. However, they used to function as superfast vehicles carrying cargoes from Moscow to Khabarovsk.

Both planes faced flight accidents. The Tu-144 crashed on 3 June 1973 during the International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. The next accident occurred on 23 May 1978 during a trial test next to Yegorievsk. The Concorde had one accident that occurred during a standard passenger flight Paris-New-York. 8 pilots of the Tu-144 didn’t survive their flights; 9 other pilots and 100 passengers of the Concorde died as well.

The plane was constructed in 1975 and was a production model intended for passenger carriage. However, it was used during test flights. On 29 March it made its last flight to Kazan.

Non-profitability of flights was the official reason according to which the planes were taken out of service.

A flight by such a superfast vehicle was 1,5 times expensive than the one by a regular plane.

It means that mankind is not ready to pay high price for fast spatial motion yet.

Or is the price too high?

29 different records were made while using the MiG-25. Victor Belenko hijacked the plane to Japan where it was dismantled and examined thoroughly.

Empennage of the Tu-16, Soviet strategic bombing jet. And a wing of the Su-7.

Famous nose of the Tu-144

The plane was used as a trial board that had measuring devices on it.

The cabin.

The chairs are far from being comfortable as compared with the modern planes.

The shelves remind if the ZIL fridges.

Garbage collector: for used paper and sanitary towels, press the pedal.

Push the button to call a flight attendant.

The signal will be received here.

Then the flight-attendant will turn on the light, boil water, etc.

Life jackets.

Push the handle, turn the handle, push the door.

Test equipment.

Flight mechanic.

The Kazan model of the Tu-144 is not in that bad condition.

If it had fuel and a flight strip in front of it, it could fly high and without troubles.

First pilot.

Second pilot.


The Tu-144D was used by NASA as a flying lab from 1995 to 1999. It will probably become a monument soon.

The equipment is too complicated and must have an instruction to it.

Who knows, maybe the airplanes will be used while constructing the next new economic supersonic passenger plane.

Location: Kazan

via zizis 

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14 Responses to “The Tu-144, Tail-Number 77107”

  1. Zack says:

    It’s crazy that this plane is probably next to a house without indoor plumbing.

  2. Apu Gupta says:

    restore it and fly it again, that will be an exploit!

  3. Poupou-en-guyane says:

    This is crazy. Don’t they have enough money to store such a treasure indoor ? This plane must be preserved !
    By the way, the seat price in a supersonic is not 1,5 the price in regular plane. It is about 10 times… (60 000 Francs in 2000(about 9500 €) return ticket on Concord!). There you can see that there was no place for two planes in such a “niche” market.

    • Babysitter says:

      It was 10 times the price in a capitalist world. In USSR they just could not make the price more than 1.5 of usual flight. (which was already heavily subsidized from budget) These planes, albeit technically successful, were economic disaster for Aeroflot.

  4. mariska says:

    I’m not too sure about the TU-144 being so superior:

    Appearances can be deceptive, the TU-144 has only superficial resemblances to Concorde.

    The wing, Concorde had an advanced, highly refined wing design, at the time incorporating new production methods.
    The TU-144 has a much simpler wing, a poor performer at low speeds, hence the later addition of canards, with no doubt a big weight penalty.

    The early TU-144s had a simply terrible intake layout aerodynamically, improved a bit on later ones, still very draggy however.
    Concorde had an advanced (and tough to develop) computerized system to reduce airflow speeds into the engine, by nearly 1000 m.p.h. in 13 feet, by synthesizing air data and converting that into movements of two ramps in the roof on each intake in front of the engine, these cause twin shockwaves slowing the air velocity down to acceptable speeds for the engine compressors.
    The TU-144 had no such system, so surges must have been a severe problem, in the 70’s a desperate Tupolev even asked British Aerospace if the Concorde intake system could be adapted for their aircraft, being a product of the BAC guided weapons division while the Cold War was still on, told Tupolev were told no.

    TU-144 engines were woefully inefficient in supercruise, so had to have partial reheat for the whole of the supercruise phase, but with huge levels of fuel consumption, Concorde disengaged reheat after an approx 10 minute phase taking the aircraft from Mach 0.95/28,000ft to Mach 1.7/47,000ft.
    Both types used reheat on take off, however the TU-144 engines were much heavier than the Olympus 593s.
    No way could a TU-144 perform as the payload/range advertised.

    The TU-144s environmental control system was much heavier and less efficient than Concorde, apparently so loud that pax (on the few flights inside the USSR that the TU-144 actually flew for a short time) had to wear ear defenders and had to write notes to each other to communicate.

    Airframe vibration was also apparently very bad on the Tupolev, I shudder to think about the C.G. issues with fuel transfer with it too.

    At the end of the day, Tupolev were ordered by the Kremlin to also build a SST, and do it fast, it actually beat Concorde into the air as a prototype, but it was nowhere near a workable airliner, in many areas the technology just was not there, so they tried to get around these issues.

    The Kremlin wanted to match Concorde and the US SST programmes in the 60’s, however Concorde can trace it’s genesis to extensive studies going right back to the mid 50’s, before France and the UK decided to pool their very similar efforts in 1962.

    So the TU-144 was conceived and built in a rush, if it was anything like a safe, reliable airliner, with a decent range/payload, why did Aeroflot not use it for PR on routes to say Moscow-Shannon-Havana/New York? By the time it entered limited service the US SST was long dead after all.

    As it was, a few flights (often just carrying mail) operated internally within the USSR in the mid 70’s until chronic unreliability and technical issues forced the whole programme to be quietly abandoned.

    Reports about Soviet spying in Concorde factories are true, but likely all they were trying to do was to confirm that Concorde was the real configuration, that was no ‘plan B’ in a different configuration if the familiar delta winged one was found wanting.
    Even with spying, the technical issues that crippled the TU-144 were insurmountable at the time with the rush to build the aircraft, given more time, more money, Tupolev would have solved them probably.

  5. ptc says:

    Only 2 Tu-144? One is in german museum near Sinheim – visible from highway

  6. SMERSH says:

    The Tu-144 design was the result of industrial espionage against the English/French. The plane was retired from service because it was DANGEROUS!

  7. alessio215 says:

    Does alot of pain to see those just abandoned

  8. alessio215 says:

    bing = boeing srry typing error

  9. lbytesxk says:

    What a giant piece of crap Concorde knock off

  10. Pedro says:

    I admire russian aviation but this tu-144 was a complete failure. no where near the epic concorde.

  11. Stavrowsky says:

    Russian scientists are clearly brilliant. Soviet politics undermined them. Everything was rushed to production for show purposes, and had many second rate components. Example: the worst job in the world was to be a sailor on a Soviet nuclear submarine. An exceptionally high number of them developed cancer from radiation leakage. I admire them greatly. They did their duty, and were often heros…. but their government let them down.

  12. FZ says:

    “If it had fuel and a flight strip in front of it, it could fly high and without troubles.”

    You’ve got to joking !!! (Russian sense of humor?)

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