That is just tragic. The RD-36 was such a vast improvement over the NK-144 and had allowed to Tu-144 to fly from Moscow-Khabarovsk. If only Aeroflot had had the enthusiasm in the late 70's/early 80's to continue development who knows. This would've at least allowed Aeroflot to fly a prestige service from Moscow-Havana with only a stop in Gander. I wonder if it would not just be possible to bring back CCCP-77115 into service re-engined with NK-321s like Tu-144LL for special flights. One of the biggest problems I read about the Tu-144 was fatigue crack propagation due to alloy defects from parts being made from huge blocks. Again, with enough resources and enthusiasm I'm sure they could've solved this as well.
It wouldn't have made much sense. It would have been subsonic for at least the first 2 and a half hours or so out of Moscow, until leaving the Norwegian coast, and then again the last 2 hours or so, approaching Havana, when overflying the Bahamas or Florida. And what premium traffic would there have been? Even as vanity or prestige flights go, this would have been a super crazy project.
Not necessarily. 2 hrs subsonic at Mach .98 is close to 1320 miles and at no point would that need to cover that much subsonically. Maybe they could have negotiated a more northerly route over sparsely populated parts of relatively neutral Scandinavia. If not, a special Tu-144D could fly North over Murmansk over the Barents sea avoiding Norwegian territory and then make a gradual turn overflying Greenland and then reaching Gander and even allowing for a gradual turn at Mach 2 this would 450 mi to the trip distance so it would be more or less 4150 miles. Doable for a D model with reduced payload (50 seats maybe extra tanks similar to what was done with the Tu-114 to fly nonstop from Murmansk to Havana during the early 60s) This would add 25 mins. and maybe not much time relative to Concorde on transatlantic routes. Remember, Concorde out of Heathrow had to fly subsonic until over the Bristol Channel and then only accelerate. The Tu-144 would have been able to accelerate to Mach 2.0 from the outset. As for Gander-Havana leg, they would have the decelerate and be subsonic 60nm before Bahamian airspace. Assuming a similar deceleration profile to Concorde this would put them at 500nm from Havana before TOD. Considering Concorde hit TOD 350nm before its destination, not bad either. Again, total trip time added by these deviations about 30 minutes and even including a 1 hour layover at Gander would be far shorter than a subsonic hop.
Hey if Braniff/BA/AF could do subsonic money losing routes on Concorde between DFW-IAD at the time I see no reason why Aeroflot could not have done something a little similar to tout as Cold War victory
No way. Flying at Mach .98 burns maaaassssive amounts of fuel. And what "neutral Scandinavia"? When was Norway neutral? It is all hypothetical of course
but I can tell you as a Swede that there is no way in h*ll that supersonic flight would gave been allowed over Sweden. Northern Scandinavia is not completely deserted wasteland. There are (and were) lots of towns there, even big ones. I doubt even Denmark would have allowed overflying Greenland supersonic. And to compare the distance of Heathrow- Bristol to that of Moscow-Trondheim/Bodø (or wherever they would have left Norway)...you are kidding yourself. Interesting idea, but as I said, too nutty even for a prestige flight, methinks.
EDIT: Checked gcmap.com. Your idea maybe isn't that unfeasable after all. First of all, if they fly out over the Barents Sea at or around Murmansk, the Great Circle route is between Greenland and Iceland, all over the ocean. And distances are not that bad. I am not sure the mileage you quoted was statute or nautical miles. But here goes (nm):http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=svo-mmk-yqx&MS=wls&DU=nm
Add maybe 200 nm to avoid the eastern tip of Norway. Question is, I guess no flight corridors go that route over the Atlantic. Would they have been allowed to fly the straight route?
Last edited by MalevTU134
on Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.