The Soviet supersonic airliner, TU-144 has gone into commercial service with a smooth but noisy flight between Moscow and Alma Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan, a republic within the Soviet Union territory.
SVs Plan at Moscow airport before flight (2 shots)
CU Russian flag on plane tail PAN TO SV plane
SV Passengers waiting to board plane
SV PAN Plane slowly taxiing onto runway
SV Passengers on board plane
SV Catering staff on plane
SV Passengers on plane
SV Passengers being served food and drink (2 shots)
SV Pilots in cockpit of plane
CU View through plane window
SV Alma Ata airport
SV Plane at rest on tarmac at airport
The TU-144 will make a weekly passenger run between Moscow and Alma Ata. The designer, Alexei Tupolev told a news conference after the flight that his design team is "working on the noise problem". It is not known when or if the TU-144 will be used for international flights.
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Background: The Soviet supersonic airliner, TU-144 has gone into commercial service with a smooth but noisy flight between Moscow and Alma Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan, a republic within the Soviet Union territory.
SYNOPSIS: The trouble-plagued TU-144 has been under development for nearly a decade. This inaugural passenger flight and originally been scheduled for more than six months ago, but a number of setbacks made the chances of keeping to the schedule diminish. However the inaugural passenger flight was to prove a success.
About 80 passengers, mostly journalists and aviation officials took the inaugural flight. The aircraft's designer, Alexei Tupolev joined them for the trip.
The supersonic airliner has made many test flights. Similar in appearance to the Anglo-French Concorde, the TU-144 was originally scheduled to make its commercial debut in 1974, two years ahead of Concorde. But the crash at the Paris Air Show in 1973 of a TU-144 delayed the schedule. The aircraft underwent extensive modifications before this flight.
Passengers found they were seated in narrow seats.
Catering staff prepared caviar and roast beef.
The passengers were served their meal and win by Aeroflot hostesses who had difficulty pushing the serving carts down the aircraft's narrow aisle. Some passengers complained of very high noise levels inside the aircraft, especially near the rear of the plane.
The aircraft's Captain, Boris Kuznetsov took the plane's speed up to Mach two -- twice the speed of sound.
The TU-144 covered the 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometres) to Alma Ata in two horse at speeds of over 1,250 miles per hour (2,000 kilometres per hour). It then flew back to Moscow.