Thursday, 20th September 2007 by James Turnbull
The Tupolev Tu-144 is a supersonic passenger jet built by the Soviet Union as a competitor to the British/French Concorde.
The Tupolev was developed around the same time as Concorde and, with a little help from a spy in France, its appearance is very similar. Due to this, the Western papers of the day gave it the inspired nickname of “Konkordski”1.
Like its namesake, Konkordski wasn’t the aviation success everyone had hoped for, and only 17 were ever built. A disastrous crash in 1973 at the Paris Air show sealed the Konkordski’s fate and they served only 103 domestic flights before being withdrawn from service.
Although nowhere near as famous as Concorde, Konkordski did achieve its share of records: it was the first supersonic passenger jet to fly (just 2 months before Concorde) and to this day is still the fastest commercial airliner ever!