The crash of Tu-144 at Le Bourget: what broke the Soviet

History 15/02/20 the Crash of Tu-144 at Le Bourget: what broke the Soviet “Concord”

the Thirtieth international air show at Paris Le Bourget in 1973 was overshadowed by the catastrophe of the latest Soviet supersonic aircraft Tu-144. According to the official version, the reason of tragedy became commonplace human factor. However, the materials of the investigation were immediately classified. What is the reason?

Interrupted flight

Sunny day July 3 no signs of trouble. The Tu-144 under the control of the pilot, Mikhail Kozlov at 15:19 left on the runway, picked up speed and soared into the sky. Accompanied him the applause of the audience.
the Plane made some maneuvers and began to decline. Suddenly the commander of the ship decided to go up and sharply pulled the steering wheel. But the height of the Tu-144 was lost, but a sudden rise has created a tremendous burden on the design of the machine. Right fender liner is cracked and fell off. The plane went up in flames, and after a few minutes he collapsed on the outskirts of Paris Susanville.
the crash killed all six crew members and eight local residents, and another 25 received injuries of varying severity. The wreckage of the plane scattered over the area of one square kilometer.

Official release

To investigate the causes of the incident were created a joint Franco-Soviet Commission that worked for over a year. But the clarification of all circumstances of the incident was hampered by the lack of information from the black boxes: one of them is not found, and the second was badly damaged.
still, the investigation was completed. According to the Commission, at a height of 1.2 thousand meters of the Tu-144 went into horizontal flight and at that moment I saw, and I saw next to a French airplane “Mirage”, on Board of which was carried out photographing of the Soviet machine. The real threat of collision was not, however, the Soviet crew visually estimated the direction of flight of a French plane inrunning to a sharp evasive maneuver.
because Of this the co-pilot of the Tu-144, who was in the cockpit and shoot the video about the flight for French television, collapsed on the control panel of the liner, because he was not wearing a seat belt. Until he came back, the car had already lost height. The commander of the plane abruptly pulled the steering wheel, and the liner has withstood the overload.
Thus, technically, the Tu-144 was completely defective, and the accident brought the human factor. However, the materials of the investigation were somehow classified. This gave ground for the emergence of unofficial versions of the incident.

make the most

One of them says that the reason is the desire of the Soviet leadership to produce the most positive impression on the Western public. That is why the pilots of the airliner were ordered to push the car all that it was capable of.
Here it is necessary to underline that the beginning 1970-x of years in the world of aviation was marked by the rivalry between two supersonic fighters – the Soviet Tu-144 and the Franco-British Concorde. Both cars were very similar. The liners had a drop nose and Delta wing. They were able to reach the speed of three thousand kilometers per hour with a flight range of not less than eight thousand kilometers.
As the Soviet ship, its Western competitor was presented at Le Bourget. Therefore, say the supporters of this version, the Soviet Union was necessary at any cost to demonstrate its advantages before the Western counterpart. First, it would allow to count on the future export of cars abroad, and secondly, there is the ideological justification of the desire to prove the advantages of the socialist science, technology and industry over the capitalist.
In the end, the pilot was instructed to squeeze the maximum from the car. Even during takeoff at low speed, the pilot took an almost vertical angle, which carries huge risks of a reboot for the aircraft with this design. The result is logical: the machine broke apart in the air.


there were those who believed that the death of the latest liner the result of sabotage by Western intelligence services. Some members of the Soviet delegation stated that on the night before the flight to the aircraft snuck unidentified attackers and unscrewed one of the screws.
anyway, but the death of the liner was advantageous to his competitors. The tragedy in Le Bourget in fact put an end to 15-year-old confrontation between Tu-144 and “Concorde”. Western aircraft out of this race the winner, and the operation of the Soviet ship was stopped after five years.
the Authors of the Franco-British documentary “Concord” and “Tupolev” warfare” argued that the Soviet Union and France agreed not to disclose the true cause of the incident and not to name the real culprit. Otherwise, Paris was allegedly threatened Moscow with exposing spy activities of its agents in Europe.

it is Necessary to consider developing in those years the international situation. Between the socialist and capitalist camps finally there has been the possibility of discharge. Its forerunner was the signing in 1972 between the USSR and the USA of the Treaty on the Limitation of strategic arms (start-1), in addition, we have developed a draft contract OSV-2. In such circumstances, an international incident could wipe out all the peacemaking efforts of the parties.

Ivan Proshkin

© Russian Seven

Recommended statesalaska… Share: Comments Comments on the article “the Crash of Tu-144 at Le Bourget: what broke the Soviet “Concord”” Please log in to leave a comment! br>
Share on Tumblr