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Pictured: The aggressive take-off profile of the Soviet TU-144 supersonic passenger airplane (right) vs. the French-British Concorde (left).
At its peak, the Anglo-French Concorde was the epitome of technological prowess and super sleek design in 20th-century aviation. It was considered the most beautiful commercial plane the world had ever seen - and, being the West's first supersonic jet, it was also the fastest of its era. However, the Concorde was not the first supersonic plane to make it to market. This honor went to a Soviet aircraft that reached supersonic speed months before the Concorde, and one that briefly became the pride of the USSR, before its ultimate failure.
The communist version of the Concorde was the Tupolev Tu-144, and it was the first passenger aircraft to fly at more than twice the speed of sound. The Tupolev's first flight occurred three months before the Concorde took to the air on March 2, 1969. But the Tu-144, which was dubbed 'Concordski' by Western observers for its similarities to its Western rival, never became quite as popular.
It was perhaps most notable as the first commercial supersonic plane to have a crash landing - which it did not once but twice.
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