The Tupolev 144 (NATO codename 'Charger') is a magnificent looking airliner that pushed Soviet technology to the brink and beyond it. The race to create supersonic passenger airliners was one that faced a range of almost insurmountable problems and in the USSR this led to the continued production of an aircraft that would never have gotten as far as it did if it were made in the West. The Tu-144 was certainly not a success and it wouldn't be out of step to label it a disaster, but the resulting aircraft was without a doubt one of the most impressive civil types ever built.
Let's face it the Ruslan is hardly a beauty but at certain angles it does have a robust charm and is certainly an impressive machine. The AN-124 is the second largest aircraft built, only beaten by the massive six engine AN-225. Ulyanovsk based Volga Dnepr was formed in August 1990 to offer out-sized cargo operations to the world using the giant AN-124 Ruslan.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: