View Full Version : TU 144 Crash

Dr Jekyll
22nd Jun 2013, 18:06
Macabre question here. But when the TU144 crashed during the Le Bourget air show in 1973, where did it come down?

I was morbidly curious to know how far the crash site was from the Concorde crash. There are references to the village of Goussainville, but this seems to be off to the extreme right of the current display line. Was the display line different before CDG opened?

John Farley
22nd Jun 2013, 18:26
I watched the 144 hit from the threshold of 03. My guess would be that I was looking maybe 04 ish, But there is plenty of hard stuff about the 144 on the net and I daresay the official report had the location.

Dr Jekyll
22nd Jun 2013, 18:47
Thanks, that would correspond with Goussainville. Presumably the modern SW/NE display line was introduced since CDG opened.

John Farley
22nd Jun 2013, 22:21
I didn't start displaying at LeB until 1971. Even then 03 was the display runway and we had to remain S of the main 27 because of CDG departures unless you had one of the special timed slots which allowed you to cross that line. Most jets needed such a slot but I eschewed one just to make a point.

24th Jun 2013, 02:39
John, in my recollection of your Farnborough displays, you never needed a lot of horizontal airspace to demonstrate the capabilities of the Harrier.
I remember your last departure from us in GVTOL. You asked for a bit of concrete for takeoff. You did your 'normal' VTO liftoff rotating to a vertical attitude straight off the ground and climbed to 2000ft like that before setting course for Dunsfold.


Nobody ever did it better than you.

John Farley
24th Jun 2013, 07:39
Thanks chevvron. Yes it is a good aeroplane which is why the USMC are planning to use it for so many years yet. Plus the Spanish, Italians, Indians and the Thai navies. Hey ho.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
24th Jun 2013, 08:42
I, too, remember Johns 'Lift off, rotate vertical, and climb like a Saturn 1V' Harrier depatures. Brilliant! I saw very many Harrier displays but I don't recall ever seeing anyone else do that.

25th Jun 2013, 17:12
There's dramatic footage of the TU144's final flight at Le Bourget in 1973 and its mid-air disintegration in a 16-minute long French video here:

LiveLeak.com - Tu-144 crash

It appears to have crashed in a very urban environment.

26th Jun 2013, 08:48
Interesting footage of the breakup sequence - clearly there's a failure of the left wing outboard of the engines fairly early in the breakup, followed by a rapid roll onto it's back with the forward fuselage & nose breaking away and the centre section exploding.
Anyone know - was the left wing the initial, primary failure? Think I read somewhere that it was one of the canards that failed first, but certainly in the earlier 'rooftop' shots the canards don't seem to be extended. Doesn't mean they weren't for the final manoeuvre though I guess.

Geezers of Nazareth
27th Jun 2013, 11:02
I seem to remember a TV programme from a few years ago (poss in the 90s?) which discussed some of the events surrounding the crash.

The program revealed that the French (poss?) were very keen to see how the canards affected the flight of Concordski at low-level and low speed, and on the day of the incident a French AF Mirage was operating in the area trying to film their use. There was some speculation (in the prog) that the Tu144 crew were trying to avoid the Mirage and 'over-avoided' causing the departure from controlled flight and break-up.

Oddly enough, I know the Goussaineville area reasonably well, but I was unable to reconcile the footage with how I know the area now. Is there an official BEA report for the crash which shows where it came down?

Phileas Fogg
27th Jun 2013, 11:09
And there was another story that there was a journo type in the flight deck and during one (avoiding the Mirage) manoeuvre the journo type fell on to the controls and the rest is history.

John Farley
27th Jun 2013, 13:29

The canards were only used with the gear down to allow the advantages of a flapped delta on finals.

27th Jun 2013, 15:13
Thanks John - I knew they were used for low speed, but didn't realise they were only used with the gear down. So we can say definitely that since the gear was up during the break up then the canards were retracted.