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Last updated: 25 March 2019
Date:Sunday 3 June 1973
Type:Silhouette image of generic T144 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Tupolev Tu-144S
Operator:Tupolev Design Bureau
Registration: CCCP-77102
C/n / msn: 01-2
First flight: 1972-03-29 (1 year 2 months)
Engines: 4 Kuznetsov NK-144A
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Ground casualties:Fatalities: 8
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Goussainville (   France)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Departure airport:Paris-Le Bourget Airport (LBG/LFPB), France
Destination airport:Paris-Le Bourget Airport (LBG/LFPB), France
During the second demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show '73 a low pass was made over runway 06. At the end of the runway the aircraft entered a steep climb. While the canards on the forward fuselage were being retracted, the Tu-144 entered a steep dive. The disturbed airflow may have caused one or more engines to flame out. In order to regain control the canards were deployed again. The crew tried to pull out of the dive, causing the overstressing of the airframe. The left canard-wing is reported to have separated, striking the wing and puncturing the fuel tank. The Tupolev broke up and crashed in flames into the small town of Goussainville.
It appears that, for safety reasons, the Tupolev factory had restricted the control surface deflection to a maximum of 5 degrees with canards extended. For the second day of the show Tupolev wanted a more impressive flight demonstration, certainly in comparison with the other supersonic transport (SST) at the air show: Concorde. Engineers thus disabled the 5-degree limitation. A latent erroneous set-up of the auto-stabilizer electronics now could have serious effects. After retraction of the canards the auto-stabiliser reacted by deflecting the elevons 10 degrees down. This caused the SST to enter a sudden dive.

Wing failure
Loss of control

» Soviet Transports


photo of Tupolev Tu-144 CCCP-77102
CCCP-77102 during the flypast at the Paris Air Show just prior to the crash.
photo of Tupolev Tu-144 CCCP-77102
photo of Tupolev Tu-144 CCCP-77102
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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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