Friday, March 13, 2009

TUPOLEV TU-144


1972–81



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STANDARD DATA: Seats 140. Gross wt. 396,830. Empty wt. 187,400. Fuel capacity 209,440 lbs. Engines four 44,090-lb. s.t. Kuznetsov turbofans.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 1,550. Cruise mph 1,430. Operating altitude 59,000. Range 4,030. Takeoff distance (balanced) 9,845. Landing roll 8,530.

First shown at the 1965 Paris Air Show in model form, the TU-144 supersonic transport was the Soviet Union’s rival for the British-French Concorde. The TU-144 was reported to be in production with design changes incorporated following the tragic crash of a prototype aircraft at the 1973 Paris Show. With a configuration similar to the Concorde, the Russian jetliner also featured a nose that is lowered hydraulically 12 degrees to improve cockpit vision during takeoff and landing. The wings are of double-delta design with a sweep-back of 70-75 degrees on the inboard portions and about 40 degrees on the outboard sections. The main landing gear had 12 tires each (three rows of four). The tall, spindly nose gear had just two wheels. A maximum 130 passengers could be accommodated in an all-economy version, but the initial model seated 98 in mixed classes (18 in first class and 80 in tourist). On May 26, 1970, the Russian aircraft became the first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2.



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