Thursday, 20th September 2007 by

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.

Konkordski 77107 on display at Kazan Aviation Production Complex

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crash in 1973 at the Paris Air show sealed the Konkordski's fate and they served only 103 domestic flights before being withdrawn from service.

Konkordski 77108 stored at the Samara-Ouchebny Research Institute

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!

More info on the History of Konkordski, full aircraft list and Wikipedia page.

Thanks to Snoogans and Virtual Globetrotting.

  1. These days the "-ski" postfix is most common in Poland as the masculine form of a name. The feminine form would be "Konkordcki". ↩︎