Until I did some looking into it I didn't realise what a complete disaster the TU-144 (NATO code name Charger) programme was for the Soviets. It is a classic example of how politicising a programme can ruin it, whilst it was really stretching the Soviet technology of the time. Here are some stats which illustrate my point:
The fact that the type ever got into service was purely because the Soviet leadership had to show it could fly supersonic flights regularly for prestige reasons, even though the aircraft was regarded as being unsafe and massively unreliable not to mention suffering dreadfully from fatigue cracking leading to structural disintegration. The programme was staggeringly expensive and had a major knock-on effect on other Tupolev projects especially the TU-154. In the end the TU-144 was a major embarrassment for the Soviets.
Regardless it was a wonderful looking plane and it is a great story.
The aircraft Herpa has made CCCP-77101 was the first pre-production aircraft and was never officially operated by Aeroflot. It was the second TU-144 but the first of the type to have the final design (the first had no canards, a different wings, shorter fuselage and different engines). I'd have probably preferred Herpa to have made one of the aircraft that actually flew passenger flights but still it is a wonderful model.
For more info on the TU-144 see this site: http://www.tu144sst.com/
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: