The Tu-144 is a supersonic transport aircraft, very similar to the Concorde. It has a similar delta wing with the engines arranged in pairs as on Concorde, though the Tu-144 engines are closer to the center and longer than Concorde's, and it has the same type of hydraulic droop nose (also seen this called a drop-nose, I'm not sure which is correct) to improve runway visibility. The main visible difference is that two canard wings just aft of the cockpit, which are absent from the Concorde. There is some evidence that leaked blueprints of the Concorde were used in the design of Tu-144.

The Tu-144 could carry 140 passengers, cruised at Mach 2.35 (faster than Concorde's cruise speed of Mach 2.02), and had a range of 6500km (4093 mi). Its first flight was in 1968, and regular passenger service began in 1977. Although it was designed to compete with the Concorde, no airlines outside of the USSR bought the Tu-144, mostly due to a spectacular crash during a demonstration at the Paris air show in 1973. The cause of the crash was airframe overstress caused by a rapid maneuver to avoid crashing into a French mirage fighter photographing the demonstration. Neither the russian pilots nor the audience at the airshow knew that the mirage was in the area.

There are at least two surviving Tu-144s listed for sale on the internet, one of them in flyable condition. That aircraft was used in joint scientific testing between the Russian space agency and NASA. Good photos of the Tu-144 are available on www.airliners.net
"Concordski" was the nickname for the Russian Tu-144 supersonic jet, so called due to its uncanny resemblance to the Anglo-French jet, Concorde.

Designed by Aleksei Tupolev, the Tu-144 first flew on December 31, 1968, just days before Concorde's maiden flight giving the then Soviet Union some serious propaganda material. It went into service in late 1969, carrying mail and freight, with passenger flights intended to begin in the early 70's. This prediction was somewhat delayed, due to the tragic events which unfolded at one of the aircraft's first public outings.

The jet crashed onto the village of Goussainville during its demonstation at the Paris Air Show on June 5th 1973, killing the pilot Mikhail Kozlov and his five crew, as well as 7 others. This accident shattered public confidence in the aircraft and delayed its first passenger carrying flight until 1977. The supersonic aircraft was withdrawn from service in 1985, but there are rumours of a NASA sponsored comeback.

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