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The BBC's Peter Nettleship
"There can be few seasoned travellers... who have not flown on a Tupolev aircraft."
 real 28k

Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
'Concordski' designer dies
Tu-144 supersonic jet
The Tu-144 beat Concorde into the air in 1968
Aleksei Tupolev, the chief designer of the Soviet Union's equivalent of Concorde, has died in Moscow at the age of 76.

He was the son of Andrei Tupolev, an aviation pioneer whose design bureau became one of the great names of Soviet aviation.


A glowing memory will remain forever in our hearts

Tupolev company statement
The Tu-144 supersonic jet, nicknamed Concordski because of its resemblance to the Anglo-French plane, first flew in 1968, a matter of days ahead of its rival.

The event was a major propaganda coup for the Soviet Union.

But the aircraft crashed at the Paris air show five years later, killing 13 people and effectively ending its international viability.

The company has now turned it into a flying laboratory and is working on a Tu-244 for the next decade.

Space shuttle

Mr Tupolev also helped to design mass-built passenger jets like the Tu-134, still widely used by airlines in the former USSR.

And he worked on the Buran space shuttle project, which was scrapped for financial reasons after a single space flight in 1988.

The Tupolev company paid tribute to Mr Tupolev in a statement:

"A glowing memory about Aleksei Andreyevich Tupolev, a wonderful man and aircraft constructor, will remain forever in our hearts."

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