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BBC TU144 / Konkordski article - for interest

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BBC TU144 / Konkordski article - for interest

Old 1st Jun 2016, 09:42
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BBC TU144 / Konkordski article - for interest

- BBC News

Dunno that they lost the race just because of the 1973 crash, though. There were plenty of other things wrong with that plane!
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Old 1st Jun 2016, 12:23
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As John Farley intimates in the video, the TU144 was technically inferior to Concorde. In particular the engine intakes and wing shape were a far superior design on the Anglo French aeroplane. If the Russians really had copied Concorde, they'd presumably have got those right! The TU144 crash was not a factor in its commercial failure, even though the BBC imply that it was!
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Old 1st Jun 2016, 16:27
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I found JF's comments, about a French "reconnaisance" aircraft causing the crash, very interesting.

Can anyone expand on that?

JF, where are you?
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Old 1st Jun 2016, 17:12
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Indirectly the crash happened because of its inferior design.....those canard wings behind the cockpit were an add-on precisely BECAUSE the shape of the main wing as it was didn't provide enough lift at low speed - Tupolev Tu-144 "Concordski" Discovered Hidden in Tatarstan

And it was the canard wings a French Mirage was above the TU144 trying to get a picture of when the TU pilot suddenly saw the Mirage and got startled, hence putting it into too steep a dive.

India Four Two - have just seen your comment; take a look https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Paris_Air_Show_crash

Shaggy Sheep - re your comments on copying (or not) the Concorde, see this mention of how a Soviet agent called Pavlov got sent to collect tire scrapings off the runway from a Concorde test aircraft and ended up being fed 'something like bubble gum' ! http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcr...upersonic.html
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 02:12
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I was lucky enough to get a look at one a few years back when I visited a very good, mainly civil aircraft collection in the city of Ulyanovsk. Highly recommended. The concierge guy was kind enough to open it up especially so I could get inside.

It was only then that I learned a notable point which can be distinguished from the video. The 144 had 5 abreast seating as opposed to Concorde's 4.

Remarkably curved wing too. What a brute of an aircraft!

Cooch
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 04:50
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A number of stories have circulated over the years regarding the Paris crash, perhaps the most believable being that the TU144 was being shadowed by an aircraft that got too close, the TU144 needed to take avoiding action resulting in a journalistic type that they had in the cockpit falling on to the controls and the rest is history.

Another story was that they did copy designs of Concorde that they sourced however deliberately flawed plans were provided which resulted in the TU144 being the piece of [email protected] that it was.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 07:34
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NOVA | Transcripts | Supersonic Spies | PBS

NARRATOR: The TU-144 was scheduled to fly directly after Concorde. As it taxied for takeoff, the Russian pilot, Koslov, was told by the French air traffic controllers that his display time had been cut in half.

HOWARD MOON: The French, in my opinion, intervened into a scientific, technical spectacle for political reasons. This was a major piece of French prestige and honor. I think they simply wanted to showcase their bird. They wanted to show it off to the world and to push the Russians in the background.

NARRATOR: French test pilot, André Turcat, was watching the TU-144's display.

ANDRÉ TURCAT: We saw the whole movement, the whole presentation of the airplane from very close up. I must say, it was very well done. A 360-degree turn above the runway with good inclination. After this last pass, the plane climbed quite steeply.

NARRATOR: British pilot, John Farley, and his co-pilot, Andy Jones, were also watching.

JOHN FARLEY: Because there was no cloud, he could go up and up and up, and, I don't know, three and a half, four thousand feet. This thing was just going up, looking at it as we were, you know, going away from us like this. And then suddenly, it just very abruptly leveled off. I mean, really violently. And it did something that you never see big airplanes do, really violently change their pitch attitude. And both Andy and I went, "Ooooh!" You got this vision of this aircraft coming down. And it has to do with the angle, the speed, and the distance remaining when you think, 'That's not right.' And I said to Andy, "He's lost it." And at that point, with the aircraft still fairly well up, probably -- I don't know -- 1,500 feet or a bit less, it started to break up and had clearly been overstressed.

NARRATOR: Six Soviet crew members and eight French citizens died. One little boy playing in front of his home was decapitated by a piece of flying debris. Two other children were also killed. Sixty people were seriously injured and fifteen houses totally destroyed.

...

NARRATOR: Nearly 25 years after the event, what caused the TU-144 to crash is only now being revealed. Minutes before Concorde and the TU-144 were scheduled to fly, a French Army Mirage jet took off. A surprising departure, since at international airshows, competing pilots expect to have the skies to themselves. Regulations state that a five-mile column of airspace must be kept free for their display. Concorde's crew was warned that the Mirage would be flying. Jean Forestier, French accident investigator, was asked if the same courtesy had been extended to the Russian crew.

JEAN FORESTIER: No.

NARRATOR: Why not?

JEAN FORESTIER: Right. Listen. We're moving away from the subject. If this is the case, we will go round and round impossible issues. As far as I'm concerned, it's very clear. The conversation is going in such a way. It's quite clear. Right. It's over.

NARRATOR: Jean Forestier's revelation that the Soviet crew was not warned of the Mirage was excluded from the government statement. There is speculation that the French neglected to admit this breach of regulations because the Mirage was on a clandestine mission to photograph the TU-144 in flight. In particular, the French wanted detailed film of the canards, the insect wings behind the cockpit. Flying at a height of approximately 4,000 feet in and out of the clouds, the Mirage tracked the TU-144 through its routine. As the Soviet plane climbed on a trajectory which would cross the Mirage's flight path, the pilot, Koslov, was not aware that the French jet was flying directly above him.

YURII KASHTANOV: At the moment when the pilots saw the Mirage which was flying at roughly the same height as the TU-144, they couldn't tell whether it was coming towards them or moving away.

NARRATOR: To avoid colliding with the Mirage, Koslov was forced to pitch the plane violently downwards, causing gravitational forces of minus 1G, known in pilot's jargon as a bunt.

JOHN FARLEY: We talked to the Russian ground crew immediately after the accident, and they all said, as did a Rolls-Royce chap who was familiar with their engine, they all said, "Well, the engines would have not have taken that bunt." Now, what they meant by that was the compressors would probably have surged. This means that you lose thrust. The rotating machinery at the front of the engine, which is generating the pressure before it gets to the combustion chamber where you burn the fuel, that will have stalled. It's purely aerodynamic, and it would have stalled. So, he had one, two, maybe even all three or four of his engines misbehaving now. So, he's level. And you can almost see the question mark over the top of the airplane, you know, as it's going along level.

NARRATOR: At a height of 4,000 feet, Koslov had just one option -- to put the plane into a steep dive in an attempt to windmill-start his engines.

JOHN FARLEY: So, he's got to lower the nose, quickly get some speed up, get these engines blowing around, and then go through a few check lists, turn on the fuel, turn on the ignition, and so on. And I suspect that he did this and was completely preoccupied with it. Probably got one, two, maybe even all of them going in the end, and suddenly thought, "Oh! Look at the height!"

NARRATOR: In his effort to pull the jet out of its steep dive, Koslov over-stressed the plane, causing a structural failure. It is widely believed that the French and Soviet governments colluded to cover up the cause of the crash. With eight French citizens killed on the ground, the French government did not want the world to know that the Mirage jet was the precipitating cause of the accident. The official statement implied human error on the part of the Soviet pilot. Jean Forestier returned to defend the statement.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3qo9c4 : relevant part starts at 27:10

Last edited by sidevalve; 2nd Jun 2016 at 08:40. Reason: Added video
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 09:45
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Shaggy Sheep - re your comments on copying (or not) the Concorde, see this mention of how a Soviet agent called Pavlov got sent to collect tire scrapings off the runway from a Concorde test aircraft and ended up being fed 'something like bubble gum' ! http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcr...upersonic.html
Not sure how trustworthy that link is. I stopped reading it (it's pretty long!) when I came to :

At 1,400 miles per hour, wind friction quickly raises airframe temperatures beyond the boiling point of water
It's not friction that heats Concorde's skin to its limit of 127 degrees C (on the nose, a bit less elsewhere), it's dynamic heating caused by supersonic shock compression of the air.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 10:32
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On a slight tangent, it always amuses me how the British press seem to feed the idea that the tu-144 was a copy of the Concorde, while ignoring the similarities between the French Super Caravelle and British Bristol Type 223, the two independently developed predecessor concepts to Concorde. Just who copied from whom? Or could it be that designing an SST using contemporary technologies meant that the aircraft was predestined to to look a certain way.

IMHO the aborted American Boeing 2707 looked more like a tu-144 than it did a Concorde.

JAS
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 11:00
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The B707 and the Russian equivalent, the VC10 ditto, wasn't the BAe146 supposed be be 2 engines whilst Antonov have achieved it, the B727, the DH121 and the TU154, the BAC1-11, the DC9 and the TU134, the Fk27 and the AN24, the C5 Galaxy and the AN124, the B757 and a Russian equivalent ... All of these are just too much of a coincidence that one party isn't copying another!
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 11:39
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Any SST, especially back in the '60s but probably today as well, would have to have been a thin winged narrow delta with a minimum cross section fuselage (hence Bristol 223, Super Caravelle, TU144, and Concorde).

The Americans tried variations on this with their proposed SSTs and failed miserably.

Concorde's wing is a far more complex shape than that on the TU144, and the engine intakes (the secret of its supercruise ability) far superior to the TU144 design. Not much copying going on there, then!
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 12:05
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Originally Posted by Phileas Fogg View Post
The B707 and the Russian equivalent, the VC10 ditto, wasn't the BAe146 supposed be be 2 engines whilst Antonov have achieved it, the B727, the DH121 and the TU154, the BAC1-11, the DC9 and the TU134, the Fk27 and the AN24, the C5 Galaxy and the AN124, the B757 and a Russian equivalent ... All of these are just too much of a coincidence that one party isn't copying another!
Yes, you'd have thought that over the years the Russians would have thought of some new places to stick the wings, tail and engines, rather than the same old boring, conventional locations.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 12:14
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you'd have thought that over the years the Russians would have thought of some new places to stick the wings
They did think::

the crash happened because of its inferior design.....those canard wings behind the cockpit were an add-on
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 12:23
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Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
The Americans tried variations on this with their proposed SSTs and failed miserably.
To be fair, the reason why the American SST programme became unaffordable was that they targeted Mach 3 rather than Mach2(ish). The airframe temperatures at Mach 3 are higher, which drove materials (and other) requirements that were uneconomic and that's why they abandoned the project.

If you want to cite a "clever" US/Europe discriminator I think it would have been identifying that Mach 2.2 was the economic sweet-spot rather than any airframe configuration issues per se.

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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 12:24
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I recall having an aerodynamics lecture a couple of days after the Tu-144 crash where we naturally wanted to pick the lecturer's brain about the accident. He told us in no uncertain terms that presence of "moustache" aerofoils on an aircraft was a dead giveaway that it had severe aerodynamic/CofG issues. As a Pole, he could scarcely conceal his delight at the event, which struck me at the time (and still does) as extremely distasteful, if perhaps understandable given the history of the two nations.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 12:43
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I would like to point out that if the Concorde type B had gone ahead it would have had Retractable canards also, so as to improve the aircraft's low speed operation.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 13:05
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Yes, it's touch and go whether canards pay their way. They improve low speed handling... Consider a Concorde about to touch down; it was John Farley I think who described it as an upside-down flapped delta at that moment. All elevons up, forcing the TE down, and the nose up.

And consider T/O. Concorde's wing produces no lift until it is pitched to positive AoA on rotation. So just before that point the tyres are doing about 250mph (pretty much the limit of tyre technology) with all 185 tons of the aircraft's weight on them. Them the pilot pulls back to rotate, the elevons go up, forcing the TE down, and those stressed tyres get a big extra loading as they are forced into the tarmac as the aeroplane rotates. Canards would be very useful to raise the nose without the airframe puting that extra load on the tyres at rotation.

More efficient to have canards lifting the nose than elevons forcing the tail down. But the canards have to be retractable for supersonic cruise, and that means a lot of added weight. Not considered worth it on Concorde.

I think it is incorrect to assume a delta with canards indicates a poor aerodynamic design.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 13:20
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The B707 and the Russian equivalent
Which was? The others I relate to but not this one.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 13:51
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I was very disappointed with the programme because it did not include all the reasons behind my comments. But there we go, I am grown up and should have expected that.

Was it a copy of Concorde? Of course not. As anybody in the business knows it was a bigger machine had a different wing plan form (double delta) and a different engine layout. Was there spying? Yes. But this was to give both sides a better understanding of the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses when it came to the sales bit. (Just as we wanted to know all about the Alpha Jet when doing the Hawk – only newspapers would suggest it was to copy. There is more to the engineering and aerodynamics of any aircraft than a few drawings)



I had met Valezi Moltchnov, one of the pilots who was flying it at Paris, at the Hanover show a year earlier when I was displaying the first development Harrier and Valezi had one of the Tu-144 prototypes minus the very important canards that appeared later at Paris. He had come up to me as I was nosing around under his aircraft and finished up giving me the complete tour. We had got on like a house on fire and his English was probably better than mine. As a result, we later talked aeroplanes for several days as we wandered around the show. He was as sharp as a tack as evidenced when I asked whether he had any hobbies and he replied “Reading Flight and Aviation Week”. However, one probably had to have lived through the height of the Cold War to appreciate just how meaningful that was coming from a Russian in 1972. One night Valezi and I went to a shooting club in Hanover with his boss, Tupolev CTP Edward Elyan and German WWII fighter ace Adolf Galland. Not surprisingly, Galland thrashed me at shooting. I would have liked a return match in a hovering vehicle but life is not always that fair.

Back to Paris 1973. On the Sunday and last day of the show, fellow Dunsfold pilot Andy Jones and I were watching the Tu-144 display with considerable interest. We had been amazed earlier in the week at how much slower the aircraft could land now it was fitted with the canards. These retractable mini wings, when extended during takeoff and landing, generated so much nose up force that on the approach the wing trailing edge control surfaces were now deflected downwards giving in effect a delta with flaps down. At Hanover, without the canards, the aircraft had been like Concorde, the HP115 and the T221 and needed the trailing edge controls to be up for the approach and landing flare. This meant these three aircraft were in effect fitted with flaps working the wrong way round and so reducing lift. The lower approach speed possible with this new ‘flapped delta’ allowed the Tu-144 to land on the display runway 03 and exit at the second turn-off, which was a distance of some 1,200 metres.

Their display sequence included a touch and go on 03, followed by an initial steep climb then an immediate turn onto the downwind for the final landing, a manoeuvre almost amounting to a wingover given the cloud base during the week was below 2,000 ft. On the Sunday however, there was not a cloud in the sky and their initial steep climb after the touch and go was continued straight ahead to perhaps 4,000 ft. Then suddenly the aircraft violently bunted to level flight. Both Andy and I gasped at seeing such a push in that class of aircraft. As we looked at the retreating aeroplane flying away level, we had time to say to each other that it looked as if they were going home and we were going to be denied watching another full stop landing. Then down went the nose and the aircraft made as if to descend and turn back to the downwind leg. When it was about half way to the ground and having rolled left through 90o, so giving us a side view of the dive, something made me say to Andy “He’s going in”.

Even though it was still a long way up, that something which suggested to me that the crew had lost it was a mixture of height, unchanging steep nose down attitude and rate of descent. Suddenly the picture looked wrong. I have seen many aeroplanes come to grief at air displays and, if you are a display pilot yourself, you develop a feel for when the picture is wrong. Just as I said that to Andy, the aircraft started to pull out of the dive and for a moment we both felt it might just miss the ground but it broke up at about 1,000 ft.

My belief is that whatever caused the bunt caused the accident because I don’t believe the engines could have swallowed the appalling flow into the intakes produced by that much negative alpha without surging. Some people noticed an orbiting Mirage above them as they climbed but I did not. (The mirage actually can be seen very briefly on the BBC programme video of the accident). However, if the crew had unexpectedly seen another aircraft not far above them, then the sudden push we saw would have been instinctive. If the engines did all surge, then this would have necessitated a shut down and relight which would have required a pretty determined dive to obtain the necessary windmilling rpm. My guess is that, as they were busy trying to get some engines restarted, they suddenly saw the ground coming up and overcooked the pull, possibly due to the very nasty view of some 230ft electricity pylons that were right across their flight path.
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Old 2nd Jun 2016, 16:47
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Wow - just revisited this thread and seen the flurry of replies, especially the last one from John Farley himself.

Thanks a lot, John - that really fills out the story.

Phoenix
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