TaromA380
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Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:19 am

Hello everybody,

As you know, or as almost everybody knows, the Le Bourget 1973 Tu-144 crash has been very mediatised, and it as a reference in the career of that (still) extraordinary plane.

Few people also knows that after the introduction in regular service in the Soviet Union, the Tu-144 has been the victim of another crash (in 1978), this time a cargo frame. This, associated with poor performance, led to the complete and definitive retirement from service of the entire fleet.

But there isn't at all public information available for this second crash.

Moreover, if you do some advanced Google searches, you'll find some rows about a third crash (?) (-landed?).

Also, "Google says" that the last Tu-144D flight was in 1985 (let aside the Tu-144LL, leased by NASA in the '90s), so did the Tu-144 fly till then, in an irregular manner ?

So, do someone of you have more information about this second (confirmed) crash, and about the third (hypothetical) crash of the Tu-144 ?

I mean details, like we found on airdisasters.com and co.
 
backfire
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:44 am

Sudden cancellation of the Tu-144's scheduled services in June 1978 was attributed to the crash of a Tu-144D test flight on two weeks previously, on 23 May.

Aircraft 77111 had been undergoing testing following its first flight on 27 April. But it suffered damage to a fuel pipe in the engine and a subsequent fire. Unable to reach the Zhukovsky aerodrome, the aircraft was forced to crash-land at Egorievsk. The accident killed two engineers but other members of the test crew, including renowned Tu-144 test pilot Edward Elyan, escaped.

This accident directly led to the abandonment of passenger operations with the Tu-144.

There were rumours of a third crash during a Moscow-Almaty service but these rumours were quickly discounted. The story goes that the Bolshoi Ballet troupe had nearly been on board the "crashed" aircraft but opted for a different flight at the last moment - the more mundane truth appears to be that the Bolshoi's flight was simply cancelled. Given the attention focused on the Tu-144 at the time, a third accident would have been difficult to keep quiet.
 
levg79
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 8:45 am

Quoting Backfire (Reply 1):
The accident killed two engineers but other members of the test crew, including renowned Tu-144 test pilot Edward Elyan, escaped

I used to know a former Soviet Pilot based at Alma-Ata during the short TU-144 period. According to him, Elyan was at the controls of the plane which crashed in LeBourget.

As to the crash near Zhukovsky, the guy I spoke with knew the captain of that flight personally. After the fire started, he was ordered to go to Zhukovsky for landing. However, the flight path would lead him over residential areas of Moscow so he refused and opted to land in the fields. When he was crash landing, fire helicopters were already trying to extinguish the fire since he gave his coordinates to the ATC. The captain survived the crash but he lost both of his legs.

I could try to get more details from the guy I knew if I could get in touch with him. He leaves near me in NY, just have to dig to find his phone number to ask.

Leo.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
backfire
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:34 pm

Quoting Levg79 (Reply 2):
According to him, Elyan was at the controls of the plane which crashed in LeBourget.

Not true, I'm afraid. Commanding the Tu-144 at Le Bourget was Mikhail Kozlov, one of Tupolev's leading test pilots for the aircraft.

His crew of five also included co-pilot Valery Molchanov, a test pilot and aerobatics specialist, plus Vladimir Benderov, whose career included selection as a research cosmonaut for the Voskhod space programme.

The other three crew members comprised navigator Bazhenov, flight engineer Dralin and engineer Pervukhin.

Elyan was not on board - despite there being a number of inaccurate references on the Internet stating that he was the pilot.

In fact Elyan - the pilot during the maiden Tu-144 flight - assisted with the analysis into the Paris accident and later expressed confidence that any problems relating to the aircraft had been overcome.

Elyan was injured during the crash-landing of the Tu-144D at Egoriev, although I don't know the extent of those injuries. He nevertheless stayed with the Tu-144 programme. The other members of the crew included pilot Vladislav Popov.

While details of the crash-landing are fairly sketchy, I understand that the test flight was operating between Moscow and Khabarovsk and that the auxiliary power unit was among the systems to be tested. Activation of this system, I believe, acted to ignite fuel which had been leaking heavily from the Tu-144.

As the crew gradually lost control of the crippled aircraft, the pilots ordered other personnel in the cockpit (identified as engineers Chernov and Venediktov) to move to the passenger cabin for safety. They chose instead to remain in the cockpit and were killed when the Tu-144 struck the ground, the impact heavily damaging the nose of the aircraft.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:44 pm

http://rds.yahoo.com/S=96062883/K=tu144/v=2/SID=w/l=IVI/SIG=12eoom751/EXP=1126514563/*-http%3A//www.georg-neckel.de/Retuschen/TU144_Nachbrenner.jpg
Was this Black smoke from the Exhaust normal.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
petertenthije
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:54 pm

I think that photo is fake. In fact, I'm fairly certain this photo is the plane at the Sinsberg museum.

Good fake though!
Attamottamotta!
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:00 pm

You are right.That explains the smoke.


For a minute I was wondering about the Amount of pollution from the Exhaust.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
backfire
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:01 pm

Question already answered...  Smile

[Edited 2005-09-11 11:02:32]
 
TaromA380
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:03 pm

Quoting Backfire (Reply 1):
This accident directly led to the abandonment of passenger operations with the Tu-144.

Thank you for sharing this information. It is obvious very difficult to dig for facts happened in the totalitarian soviet union, where all information were filtered and censored.

What I don't understand is why a mechanical problem (that that led to the fire) grounded forever the Tu-144 fleet. Weren't they able to fix that problem and continue ? What was so difficult to fix ?

And about the possible third crash, you said it didn't happen, but again, how accurate could we be about the soviet-era ? It's obvious that an accident like this, implying their marvel, would have been strongly censored.

Near all Google findings are saying the flight was Moscow-Almaty, cargo, and not a test flight. Why ?

And what about the rumors about a last flight in 1985 ?
 
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scbriml
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:03 pm

Presumably, since the crash at Le Bourget happened outside the Soviet Union, the names of those killed would be a matter of pulic record?

This article has some interesting information, including confirmation that Kozlov was indeed the pilot. Also suggestions of French meddling (surely not!  duck  ) may have had a significant effect.
http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2000/0807/concordski.html
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
Alessandro
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:39 pm

Tarom last flights was much later, in the Boeing test-programme during the mid-1990ies. I eagerly await the Red Star #25 about the Tu-144 which will published soon by
Yefim Gordon.
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
TaromA380
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 7:28 pm

I'm speaking about only the Tu-144D, not the Tu-144LL leased by NASA.

By the way, why did the NASA not take a Concorde for their tests ?
 
backfire
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 7:33 pm

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 8):
What I don't understand is why a mechanical problem (that that led to the fire) grounded forever the Tu-144 fleet.

You have to remember that by this time the Tu-144 was struggling to stay alive. The aircraft had already had its reputation damaged by the Le Bourget crash and was gradually losing the all-important political support that was vital to keep the programme going.

While economics had previously not been a primary concern for the Soviet fleet, this began to change towards the end of the 1970s. Aeroflot began to prioritise economy and cost-efficiency, and the fuel-thirsty Tu-144 simply did not fit the picture - particularly given that Ilyushin was producing a more attractive aircraft, the Il-86, which promised the economies of widebody mass transport.

By 1978 Aeroflot, initially supportive of the supersonic flagship, was having serious doubts about the viability of the Tu-144 and was looking for a way to disassociate itself from the aircraft. The crash-landing at Egoriev gave Aeroflot the way out it was looking for, and the Tu-144 flights were almost instantly erased from Aeroflot timetables. The speed with which this was done indicates that the political enthusiasm for the Tu-144 was rapidly flagging.

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 8):
Weren't they able to fix that problem and continue ? What was so difficult to fix ?

If the fuel leak was the only problem, there's a chance the programme would have continued. You have to realise that the Tu-144 was plagued by technical difficulties and efforts to seek help from the West were unsuccessful.

Among the aircraft's major problems was its range and fuel efficiency. The Soviet designers were desperate to give the Tu-144 greater range and were testing improved engines at the time of the second accident.

But Aeroflot remained unconvinced that the improved Tu-144 would be anything other than a costly headache, unable to meet its new economic requirements, and unable to overcome continuing technical difficulties.

There was a token effort to revive Tu-144 services but by this time the battle was effectively lost. The aircraft was relegated to being an accessory to assist with military programmes - possibly as a test-bed for the Tu-160 bomber - up until around 1984, but would never again serve as a passenger transport.

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 8):
And about the possible third crash, you said it didn't happen, but again, how accurate could we be about the soviet-era ? It's obvious that an accident like this, implying their marvel, would have been strongly censored.

Given that the crash involving the Tu-144D test flight could not be concealed, even though it happened in Russia at a time when the Soviets could not afford any more poor publicity for the aircraft, it seems unlikely that another later accident - with less riding on the situation - would have been covered up, especially because the Soviets had already accepted by this time that the programme had lost much of its prestige.

I've found no information on a third accident, bar a passing reference with no supporting data. It's always possible that the Tu-144 suffered further incidents but I suspect the 'third crash' story is probably a half-truth.
 
gordonroxburgh
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 10:29 pm

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 11):
why did the NASA not take a Concorde for their tests ?

What let Boeing and NASA get all the data from Billions of pounds worth of European investment, at a time when everyone was searching for data on the next SST.

AF may have went for it if the price was right and they had been allowed (but were not), BA would never have had aircraft capacity as BA seriously utilised the fleet at that time in the a/c's life.
 
TaromA380
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:40 pm

Yes, but:
- the Concorde had a superior airframe than the Tu-144, thus the NASA tests should have been both more accurate, more secure and easier to do;
- it doesn't count if the Concorde was a result of military, governement or alien investment, the tehnology at the beginning of '90s was already obsolete, and if NASA was offering some money for some fligh tests, why not ? The results should never have threatened the commercial Concorde carreer.
- to adapt the Tu-144, NASA had to put in some big money, I am thinking especially at the engine replacement, plus others security issues due to the inferior and risky airframe.

So I really don't understant why NASA didn't take a Concorde. Did the French refuse because of pride ? Even if uncle Sam shown them $$$ ?
 
senliture
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:48 pm

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 8):
What I don't understand is why a mechanical problem (that that led to the fire) grounded forever the Tu-144 fleet. Weren't they able to fix that problem and continue ? What was so difficult to fix ?

I can't remember where did I read it, but an article in a book suggested that the position of the engines and the main landing gear made the plane poorly balanced and thus hard to control.
 
Aviastar
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:19 am

Quoting TaromA380 (Reply 14):
Did the French refuse because of pride ? Even if uncle Sam shown them $$$ ?

 sarcastic  sarcastic 

AF having only 6 Concorde in their fleet, it would not have been very judicious to send one at Zhukovsky for test flights, which would probably have reduced the life of the aircraft...
 
GDB
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:35 am

BA were far to busy using their Concorde fleet, AF was doing OK with it at that period too.

But yes, the descendants of Concorde's manufactures, still the primary source of technical support, might have had something to say about Boeing getting use of a Concorde.
Not if there had been a multinational effort to produce a new SST, with Boeing, Airbus and Japanese industry probably involved, but the NASA/Boeing HSCT effort was not that.

You have to remember that by the mid 1990's, the aircraft owned by the manufactures were grounded for 15 years, 202 purchased by BA in 1984, had been stripped for spares.
The only fly-able Concordes were in airline service.

BA also took spares from G-AXDN, the pre-production aircraft at the Duxford museum, but not the Prototype at Yeovilton, that and it's French sister were virtually different aircraft, few common components to service aircraft.

Look at it from another perspective, why did the airlines not for instance re-fit a 'glass cockpit', as was briefly discussed in the early 1990's?
The answer was, that even with a possible life lasting until the second half of this decade, there were too few aircraft to make this investment worthwhile, more pertinently, this would require at least one aircraft out of service, for a long time, at least a year, to do all the extensive recertification work needed.

So BA and AF, would take the same view about leasing an aircraft to Boeing, if they were not prepared to lose the use of an aircraft for something that could be a direct benefit for BA and AF, they certainly were not going to do the same for the benefit of the US aerospace industry.
 
RIX
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RE: Tu-144 Second And Third Crash?

Tue Sep 13, 2005 6:03 am

Quoting Backfire (Reply 1):
The story goes that the Bolshoi Ballet troupe had nearly been on board the "crashed" aircraft but opted for a different flight at the last moment - the more mundane truth appears to be that the Bolshoi's flight was simply cancelled.

- as I remember of what I've read in Soviet media in late 80's, the Bolshoi Ballet troupe was going to fly to Alma-Ata on Tu144 right on the date the service was canceled. Somebody from Ministry of Culture was even asking Soviet aviation authorities to let that flight to be the last one to operate as Bolshoi troupe "really wanted to fly on it very much"; the answer "but what if the Bolshoi troupe crashes?!" ended the discussion...

I don't know of a third crash, but there was an engine explosion that caused emergency landing with no fatalities/write-offs. AFAIK, it was Tu144D, with those turbofans not requiring in-cruise reheat.

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