The Illustrious Tu-144 Has Made Its "Final Landing"
On May 26 Tupolev Tu-144, the legendary supersonic passenger aircraft was installed on a pedestal in KNRTU-KAI campus.
The university has completed the first stage of creating an interactive technology museum.
Transportation of the aircraft which has started in October 2016 was accompanied by series of unique technical operations and non-trivial solutions: from disassembling the aircraft at its former base to conveyance of the most powerful crane in the entire Volga Federal District.
The crane capable of lifting oversized cargo weighing up to 800 tons was provided by "Kazanorgsintez" OJSC. "I want to thank Albert Kashafovich Shigabutdinov, TAIF Director General, who helped us with this project. To transport one crane only, twenty KAMAZ trucks were needed," said KNRTU-KAI rector Prof. Albert Gilmutdinov.
The work began at noon when two trucks pulled the plane closer to the pedestal. After that, the aircraft was fixed with special fasteners, preparing it for the "last flight". The final operation involved two cranes. In addition to the 800-ton giant, Tu-144's nose was poised by another smaller crane. Having installed the aircraft on the concrete base of the pedestal, engineers and workers began to prepare for putting the plane on special fastenings beneath the undercarriage.
"We always believed that this is a very cool idea," Prof. Gilmutdinov said. "We are absolutely confident that investments in this project will pay off, since the planned interactive museum of technology for our children is an investment in the future of the university, of our city, and of our generations."
Proposed opening date of the museum – December 31, 2018 – was not chosen by chance. "On December 31, 1968, Tu-144 conducted its first flight. We would like to dedicate museum’s opening to the 50th anniversary of this event," the rector said.
It is planned to restore the cockpit and the workplace of a navigator. Also, it is planned to put into operation the droop-nose (when Tu-144 and its rival Concorde were in service, the pilot would lower their nose cones to improve visibility of the runway and taxiways. When in flight, the nose would be raised) and retractable canards – special small wings in the bow – for children who will be able to operate these elements themselves from the cockpit.
The future interactive museum will vividly demonstrate several physical and technical effects.
It is also planned to create another exposition around the aircraft on the pedestal. One of the four engines is supposed to be sectioned in a special way to display its internal structure. Electricity will be supplied to it, so that the turbine will rotate. This will give museum visitors a unique chance to learn how the jet engine is arranged. One of the most interesting showpieces will be a space capsule which will be provided by Roscosmos.
"We want to show that being an engineer is cool, that it is interesting to learn these sciences," the rector noted.
On the day the aircraft was put on the pedestal, the collectives of enterprises and organizations that assisted in the project implementation were awarded with letters of appreciation. Among them are Kazan Aviation Factory n.a. S.P.Gorbunov – branch of Tupolev PJSC (Казанский авиационный завод им. С. П. Горбунова – Филиал ПАО «Туполев»), Kazan Giproniiaaviaprom JSC (АО Казанский Гипронииавиапром), Kazanorgsintez PJSC (ПАО «Казаньоргсинтез») and Global Overseas LLC.
Under the sounds of the March of the aviators, the aircraft fell smoothly onto the prepared attachments. Hundreds of balloons flew up in the sky, as if passing greetings to the sky where the 77107 spent a significant part of its life.
Opening of an interactive museum of technology on the basis of the Tu-144 will open a new page in the history of our university and the whole city of Kazan.
USSR-77107 installation on the pedestal was carried out with the help of the KNRTU-KAI Endowment Fund established in 2014 by graduates of the university.
On the Endowment Fund website there is an online service which allows everyone to make a donation for the development of university projects, including the Tu-144 project.