More on the TU-144!
Apparently NASA has been conducting some joint experiments using an old TU-144. Very interesting..
See if you can spot the differences!
Boeing also had two VERY similar designs, one was a bomber, and the other was a Super Sonic Transport (both considered two of Boeing’s greatest fail- ures):
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..
Ian Andrew Bell wrote:>
> When the Concorde was under development in France, their major rival was a
> Soviet-built plane called the TU-144. It was essentially a slightly better
> imitation of the Concorde — and was arguably Andrei Tupolev’s finest design
> acheivement. These supersonic rivals contended for glory and for the world
> market for supersonic passenger flight until the TU-144 suffered a humiliat-
> ing crash at the Paris Airshow in 1973.
> As you’d predict the planes were the center of a great deal of contrevorsy
> and espionage. One of the reveleations of this NOVA documentary is that
> the TU-144 crash may have been the result of a near collision with a French
> Mirage that allegedly was sent up to photograph Konkordski for later perusal
> by French designers.
> The footage of the crash is pretty amazing: The plane flies in low, pitches
> straight up, climbs to about 4000 feet, and then pitches flat in less than a
> second — it then descends in a stall to about 1500 feet and disintegrates
> due to overstressing of the airframe.
> NOVA #2503: Supersonic Spies
> Broadcast Transcript
> PBS Air date: January 27, 1998
> JOHN FARLEY: Because there was no cloud, he could go up and up and up, and,
> I don’t know, three and a half,
> four thousand feet. This thing was just going up, looking at it
> as we were, you know, going away from us like this.
> And then suddenly, it just very abruptly leveled off. I mean,
> really violently. And it did something that you never see
> big airplanes do, really violently change their pitch attitude.
> And both Andy and I went, “Ooooh!” You got this vision
> of this aircraft coming down. And it has to do with the angle,
> the speed, and the distance remaining when you
> think, ‘That’s not right.’ And I said to Andy, “He’s lost it.”
> And at that point, with the aircraft still fairly well up,
> probably — I don’t know — 1,500 feet or a bit less, it started
> to break up and had clearly been overstressed.
> NARRATOR: Six Soviet crew members and eight French citizens
> died. One little boy playing in front of his home
> was decapitated by a piece of flying debris. Two other children
> were also killed. Sixty people were seriously injured
> and fifteen houses totally destroyed.
> HOWARD MOON: They did not come clean. To this day, there has not
> been a full explanation of what really
> happened, at least from government sources. It is my view that
> the Soviets and the French authorities cut a deal.
> NARRATOR: One year after the accident, the French and Soviet
> governments issued a short statement concluding
> it was impossible to determine the cause of the crash. To this
> day, neither government has released a full report.
> Among other mysteries, the TU-144’s black box had apparently
> been destroyed.
> JOHN FARLEY: I’ve never heard of a black box being destroyed.
> You have an aircraft that has broken up in the
> sky. And it’s just like throwing things out from a thousand feet
> up. They just fall down. It’s not like the aircraft
> plunging in one piece at 400 miles an hour, straight into the
> ground. You could believe that recorders and so on get
> badly damaged in the bottom of the crater.
> NARRATOR: Nearly 25 years after the event, what caused the
> TU-144 to crash is only now being revealed.
> Minutes before Concorde and the TU-144 were scheduled to fly, a
> French Army Mirage jet took off. A surprising
> departure, since at international airshows, competing pilots
> expect to have the skies to themselves. Regulations
> state that a five-mile column of airspace must be kept free for
> their display. Concorde’s crew was warned that the
> Mirage would be flying. Jean Forestier, French accident
> investigator, was asked if the same courtesy had been
> extended to the Russian crew.
> JEAN FORESTIER: No.
> NARRATOR: Why not?
> JEAN FORESTIER: Right. Listen. We’re moving away from the
> subject. If this is the case, we will go round and
> round impossible issues. As far as I’m concerned, it’s very
> clear. The conversation is going in such a way. It’s quite
> clear. Right. It’s over.
> NARRATOR: Jean Forestier’s revelation that the Soviet crew was
> not warned of the Mirage was excluded from the
> government statement. There is speculation that the French
> neglected to admit this breach of regulations because
> the Mirage was on a clandestine mission to photograph the TU-144
> in flight. In particular, the French wanted
> detailed film of the canards, the insect wings behind the
> cockpit. Flying at a height of approximately 4,000 feet in
> and out of the clouds, the Mirage tracked the TU-144 through its
> routine. As the Soviet plane climbed on a
> trajectory which would cross the Mirage’s flight path, the
> pilot, Koslov, was not aware that the French jet was flying
> directly above him.
> YURII KASHTANOV: At the moment when the pilots saw the Mirage
> which was flying at roughly the same height
> as the TU-144, they couldn’t tell whether it was coming towards
> them or moving away.
> NARRATOR: To avoid colliding with the Mirage, Koslov was forced
> to pitch the plane violently downwards, causing
> gravitational forces of minus 1G, known in pilot’s jargon as a