31 December 1968

The prototype Tupolev Tu-144, CCCP-68001, during its first flight, 31 December 1968. (Tupolev PJSC, via Kazan National Research Technical University)

31 December 1968: First flight, Tupolev Tu-144.

Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic transport

59,4 meters long; wingspan, 27,65 meters; height, 11,4 meters. MTOW, 160 000 kilograms.

Powered by four Kuznetsov NK-144 engines with a maximum thrust of 171,6 kilonewtons per engine.

Maximum speed, 2443 km/h

Range 2920 kilometers

Service ceiling, 18 500 meters

Tupolev Tu-144 under construction. (Tupolev PJSC, via Kazan National Research Technical University)
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About Bryan Swopes

Bryan R. Swopes grew up in Southern California in the 1950s–60s, near the center of America's aerospace industry. He has had a life-long interest in aviation and space flight. Bryan is a retired commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor.

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