|Quoting Koruman (Reply 22):|
Tu-204, this is probably only a fantasy, but given that Russia is flexing its muscles again in the world and that, ahem, citizens' rights are not exactly respected the way they are in the west, could ships 15 and the LL not be made airworthy as VIP transport for Putin and his successors?
Plus, of course, the Tu-144 is probably the USSR's greatest technological achievement, even though it was a market failure. Are you sure that for the occasional flight people would be upset by the noise, as opposed to excited by the spectacle?
Can you imagine the stir if the President of Russia were to arrive at an international meeting in an SST?
Well, the way I see it, the only way of it flying is if a Russian oligarch with a passion for aviation buys it. Maybe Abramovich would like a plane he can use to get from his job as governor of Kamchatka to his Chelsea football matches on time
Putin is very happy with his 2 IL
-96's - usually heads of state prefer larger, roomier a/c. The 144 has the same cabin width as a DC-9 and is kind of noisy in flight (inside).
I completely agree with you that a flying 144 would be quite the spectacle, and I would love to see her fly. If I had $100 million, I'd gladly make it my VIP plane.
Ship 15 is pretty much airworthy. The only thing it needs is an APU. And those share commonality with the APU's on the Tu-154 (thats where ship 15's APU is btw.) So, smack in a new APU and technically - its flyable. It would still require a C check due to it not flying for so long. But most of the parts are still produced for the Tu-160 anyways.
Restoring it completely would cost about three times as much as much as was spent to rescue it from the choppers. (Estimates of a Tupolev engineer that was head of restoring the 144 ship 15)
Ship 14 (the NASA ship) is in worse shape and is nowhere near airworthy - most her avionics were pulled, the engines that were on lease from the Russian Airforce went back to them and are now on one of the Tu-160's. Not saying it's undoable - there are 8 D-36'ers in one of the hangars at Tupolev (the 4 from 14 and 4 from the Tu-144 at Sinsheim). The avionics are in crates in the same hangar.
But without support of someone big shelling out money, it would be impossible to get 15 flying - people have a tendancy to support something, but when it comes to actually putting money towards your cause, the interest fades, or people just wish you good luck. I have had alot of experience with that: first with trying to get people to help out with saving ship 15, and then for donations to restore the Tu-144 in Monino. Lets put it this way, it ended up with me shelling out $900 towards 15 (a tiny share of what was needed to save her, but all I could afford at the time, quite ironicly, that was my Tupolev bonus going back to Tupolev to save their plane
) and I bought the paint for the 144 in Monino with my own money (you don't want to know how much that cost
) I ended up loosing a couple of friends that were "all talk" so to say. I actually ended up making !enemies! at Monino for buying the bloody paint. They have cliques there - who is restoring what aircraft, who is project leader for what aircraft. People treat the aircraft that they are restoring like their own personal property. My approach - who cares? I am trying to help preserve aviation in general. If I can do something, give some of my hard earned money towards a plane that I like - the 144, why not? I shouldn't have to put up with an unnamed individual that is restoring the IL
-18 at Monino approach me and say "Well, you know, the IL
-18 could also use some new paint, and since you just bought an X-number of liters for the 144, why don't you give me some money for the IL
-18 aswell?" in an agressive tone. But for some reason I still go on, still ignore these people that throw sticks in my wheels. I am not saying that all people are like that...but quite a few are. And if Pavel Petrikeev or Alexei Amelyushkin is reading this, hats off to you and your effort - I hope that I meet more people like you.
Sorry for the rant.
P.S. If anyone wants pictures of the interior of the Tu-144 ship 15 or the one at Monino, please IM
me, I'd be glad to share.
I do not dream about movie stars, they must dream about me for I am real and they are not. - Alexander Popov