This is a Tupolev Tu-144D, and if looks like Concorde, that’s because it kind of was. Only much, much worse.
Rushed into the skies to beat Concorde to supersonic air-travel (which – by a few months – it did), the Tupolev Tu-144D flew just 102 commercial flights between the sixteen aircraft built, of which only 55 – for just seven months in 1977-78 – carried actual passengers. Which means that half of all the total Tu-144D flights only flew cargo. Supersonic cargo. Yay communism.
By 1983 the Tu-144D programme was halted completely, due to the aircraft’s unreliability, crashes and development issues (although weirdly NASA used the Tu-144D for supersonic testing up to 1999), and the aircraft were put on display around the Soviet Union, where they remain today.
This one however, is on display on SvenJ.‘s desk, having been beautifully constructed in brick form. Ingenious building techniques, detailed landing gear, and an accurate ‘Aeroflot’ livery make Sven’s Tupolev Tu-144D a wonderfully realistic replica of the Soviet supersonic airliner, and there’s more of the model to see on Flickr.
Click the link above to buy your supersonic ticket. Or perhaps just take a look, and then fly Concorde instead…