Whatever happened to Tupelov TU-144 SST "Charger"?

Date:         12 May 99 02:48:30 
From:         dcoon@olg.com (David Alan Coon)
Organization: http://www.davidcoon.com
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I have some questions about the Tupelov Tu-144 SST (Nato Designation as
"Charger")--the Russian Concorde Is it true that the Brtish/French "stole" the
Drop Nose design innovation idea from the Russians? Even though design work
did not start on the Tupelov Tu-144 until years after the Concorde, the Tu-144
flew first (partly because Russia benefited from design innovations of the
Concorde).  How many of these "Russian Concordes" still survive today? I know
of at least 2, one is at the Monino AF Museum aviation musem outside Moscow
and another is being tested by NASA.  I read on the web that at least four of
these remain in open storage, but what is the total number of these things
still in existance?  Are these  the only surviors or are there more?  What is
the status of the 1982 model NASA was suposedly going to use as an SST
Testbed? Were the tests ever conducted? Where were they conducted? In Russia?
In the US?  Someone once told me that there was talk of reviveving the Tu-144
for the Asian Market? Is this true I have been able to find lots of pictures
of different Tu-144s but not too much info about NASA tests.

Here are some specs I Downloaded from

Tupolev Tu-144 "Charger"
Passenger aircraft, crew 3-4

Description: Tu-144 is a four-engine supersonic jet aircraft. The
fuselage is narrow with long, pointed nose that lowers for better view
during takeoffs and landings. Large tail fin is triangular with curved
leading edge. Low-set wings are delta-shaped with slightly curved
leading edges. The four engines are mounted side-by-side under the
fuselage. The two pairs of air intakes are set somewhat apart, while the
engine exhausts are close together (that is also the main visual
difference between Tu-144 and "Concorde" in which the engines are
mounted in distinctive pairs). Tricycle landing gear with nose wheel set
very far from the front of the aircraft is retractable. The world's
first supersonic passenger aircraft, Tu-144 was first flown on December
31, 1968 (the "Concorde" was flown on March 2, 1969). The aircraft was
developed in very short period of time (the project was started several
years after "Concorde") and borrowed most of the design ideas from
"Concorde". However, such rapid development had its effects - several
Tu-144 prototypes severely crashed and the aircraft was never used
commercially because of its poor reliability and high costs associated
with enormous fuel consumption. Nevertheless, on January 8, 1969, Tu-144
made its second flight which lasted 50 minutes. In the May of 1970, the
aircraft made its first supersonic flight setting the world speed record
for its class at 2150 km/h (Mach=1.89) at the altitude of 16300 m. The
record was later improved to 2430 km/h (Mach=2.14) at the altitude of
17000 m. Tu-144 made its first passenger flight on December 26, 1975,
from Moscow to Alma-Ata to Moscow. Very few other flights were made and
the project was abandoned after the crash at the Le Bourget airshow in
France (the cancellation of the project was not surprising because
Tu-144's main purpose was being the world's first supersonic passenger
jet and its actual use as a people hauler was never seriously

Data for Tu-144:
     Wingspan: 24.7 m
     Length: 55.0 m
     Height: 10.5 m
     Engines: 4xNK-144, 127.5 kN of thrust each
     Payload: 108-135 passengers
     Takeoff weight: 130000 kg
     Max. takeoff weight: 150000 kg
     Max. speed: 2430 km/h
     Ceiling: 20000 m
     Takeoff distance: 1900 m
     Landing distance: 1500 m
     Range: 6500 km

Photos of this aircraft are at:



Dave Coon