Fastest Commercial Aircraft

The fastest commercial aircraft of all time is the TU-144, built by the USSR. It has a maximum speed of 1,555 mph (2,500 km/h). By contrast, the Concorde has a top speed of 1,355 mph (2,180 km/h). This is at 51,300 ft (15,635 m).

Flight History of the TU-144

Its first flight was on December 31, 1968. Its service entry was on December 26, 1975. This was for mail service. Passenger service began on February 22, 1977. The Tu-144 is piloted by three individuals: the pilot, co-pilot and the flight engineer.

Technical Specifications

The Tu-144 is 215.54 ft (65.70 m) long and 34.42 ft (10.50 m) high. The wingspan is 94.48 ft (28.80 m). The wing area is 4,714.75 ft2 (438.0 m2). When empty, the weight is 187,395 lb (85,000 kg). The maximum takeoff weight is 187,395 lb (85,000 kg). It has a fuel capacity of 154,325 lb (70,000 kg). The maximum payload is not yet known.

Propulsion and Performance

The powerplant are four Kuznetsov NK-144 turbofans. The thrust is 176,368 lb (784.56 kN). The service ceiling of the fastest commercial aircraft is 59,055 ft (18,000 m). The range is 3,510 nm (6,500 km).

Variants and Prototypes

The TU-144S was one of the TU-144 variants; 14 were constructed. The TU-144D was an improvement over the tU-144. It was more effective in using fuel. However, it was not used commercially and limited only for tests and research. The TU-144LL Refurbished TU-144D is equipped with more powerful engines. It has been fitted with the latest avionics and test equipment. It is used by NASA and Russia for research.

Design and Development

The stated purpose of the TU-144 was to conform to the Aeroflot need for a fast airliner. In truth, the TU-144 was built to compete with the supersonic plane, the Concorde. In terms of appearance, the TU-144 is very similar to the Concorde. But as the specs above show, it is faster.

The TU-144 design was based on the TU-125 and TU-135. Those two bombers were never constructed. However it gave Russian engineers the needed information about the aerodynamics. They also got valuable information about the engine inlets and heating. The TU-144 first appeared to the west during an air show in Paris in 1973. Unfortunately, the plane crashed.

The fastest commercial aircraft began its passenger service in 1977. However, another crashed occurred. This would lead to the termination of all passenger services. In 2001, the only remaining TU-144 was sold on EBay for $11 million.

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