Andrei Tupolev
Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev was a pioneering Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...


During his career, he designed and oversaw the design of more than 100 types of aircraft, some of which set 78 world records. In recognition of his work, he was made an honorary member of Britain's Royal Aeronautical Society
Royal Aeronautical Society
The Royal Aeronautical Society, also known as the RAeS, is a multidisciplinary professional institution dedicated to the global aerospace community.-Function:...

 and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society , founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society , and the Institute...


He was honoured in his own country by being made an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Academy of Sciences
The Russian Academy of Sciences consists of the national academy of Russia and a network of scientific research institutes from across the Russian Federation as well as auxiliary scientific and social units like libraries, publishers and hospitals....

 (1953), Colonel-General (1968), and three times a Hero of Socialist Labor
Hero of Socialist Labor
Hero of Socialist Labour was an honorary title in the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries. It was the highest degree of distinction for exceptional achievements in national economy and culture...

 (1945, 1957, 1972).

Early life

Tupolev was born in the village of Pustomazovo , near the city of Kimry
Kimry , formerly Kimra, is a town in the south of Tver Oblast, Russia, located on the Volga River, at its confluence with the Kimrka River, to the east of Tver...

, Tver region
Tver Oblast
Tver Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . Its administrative center is the city of Tver. From 1935 to 1990, it was named Kalinin Oblast after Mikhail Kalinin. Population: Tver Oblast is an area of lakes, such as Seliger and Brosno...

, Russia.

Tupolev was the sixth of seven children born to his parents. After first being educated at home, he studied at the Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 in Tver and graduated in 1908. He then applied for courses at two Russian universities and was accepted at both: Imperial Moscow Technical School (IMTU ) and the Institute of Railway Engineers. He accepted the place at IMTU.

In 1909, Tupolev began studying aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

 under the Russian aviation pioneer N.E. Zhukovski. During this time he built one of the world's first wind tunnels which led to the formation of an aerodynamic laboratory at IMTU.

In 1911, Tupolev was accused of taking part in revolutionary activities, including demonstrations and distribution of subversive literature, and was arrested. He was later released on condition that he return to his family home in Pustomazovo and was only allowed to return to IMTU in 1914. He completed his studies in 1918 and was awarded the degree of Engineer-Mechanic when he presented his thesis on the development of seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...


By 1920 the IMTU had been renamed the Moscow Higher Technical School (MVTU) and Tupolev was teaching a course there on the basics of aerodynamic calculations.

Work at TsAGI

Tupolev was a leading light of the Moscow-based Central Aero and Hydrodynamics Institute (TsAGI
TsAGI is a transliteration of the Russian abbreviation for Центра́льный аэрогидродинами́ческий институ́т or "Tsentralniy Aerogidrodinamicheskiy Institut", the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute....

; ) from 1929 until his death in 1972. The Central Design Office or TsKB based there produced bomber
A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets, by dropping bombs on them, or – in recent years – by launching cruise missiles at them.-Classifications of bombers:...

s and some airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s, which in the years before World War II were based partially, especially in his 1930s-era designs, and on the all-metal aircraft design concepts pioneered by Hugo Junkers
Hugo Junkers
Hugo Junkers was an innovative German engineer, as his many patents in varied areas show...

. In 1925, he designed a twin-engine bomber, the TB-1
Tupolev TB-1
-See also:-References:* Duffy, Paul and Andrei Kandalov. Tupolev: The Man and His Aircraft. Shrewsbury, UK:Airlife Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1 85310 728 X....

, which was considered one of the most advanced designs of the time. In 1937, an improved version designated the TB-3
Tupolev TB-3
The Tupolev TB-3 was a heavy bomber aircraft which was deployed by the Soviet Air Force in the 1930s and during World War II. It was the world's first cantilever wing four-engine heavy bomber. Despite obsolescence and being officially withdrawn from service in 1939, TB-3 performed bomber and...

 made a landing at the North Pole.

As the number of qualified aircraft designers increased, Tupolev set up his own office, producing a number of designs designated with the prefix ANT from his initials.

However, on October 21, 1937, Tupolev was arrested together with Vladimir Petlyakov
Vladimir Petlyakov
Vladimir Mikhailovich Petlyakov was a Soviet aeronautical engineer.Petlyakov was born in Sambek in 1891 , where his father was a local official...

 and the entire directorate of the TsAGI
TsAGI is a transliteration of the Russian abbreviation for Центра́льный аэрогидродинами́ческий институ́т or "Tsentralniy Aerogidrodinamicheskiy Institut", the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute....

 and EDO on trumped up charges of sabotage, espionage and of aiding the Russian Fascist Party
Russian Fascist Party
The Russian Fascist Party , sometimes called the All-Russian Fascist Party, was a minor Russian emigre movement that was based in Manchukuo during the 1930s and 1940s....

. Many of his colleagues were executed. In 1939, Tupolev was moved from a prison to an NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

Sharashka was an informal name for secret research and development laboratories in the Soviet Gulag labor camp system...

 for aircraft designers in Bolshevo near Moscow, where many ex-TsAGI people had already been sent to work. The sharashka soon moved to Moscow and was dubbed "Tupolevka" after its most eminent inmate. Tupolev was tried and convicted in 1940 with a ten year sentence, but was released in 1944 "to conduct important defence work." (He was not rehabilitated fully until two years after Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's death in 1953.)

Tupolev headed the major project of reverse engineering
Reverse engineering
Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation...

 the American Boeing B-29 strategic bomber. The USSR had repeatedly asked, and been denied, lend-lease B-29s. Using three machines which landed in Siberia after bombing Japan in 1945, Tupolev succeeded in replicating the world's first nuclear delivery platform down to trivial detail. Moreover, he got it into volume production, with crews fully trained in time for the 1947 May Day parade. The copy was designated Tu-4
Tupolev Tu-4
The Tupolev Tu-4 was a piston-engined Soviet strategic bomber that served the Soviet Air Force from the late 1940s to mid 1960s...

, with many subsequent Tu aircraft having the number 4 in their designations.

Design of the Tu-95

By the time of his rehabilitation in 1955, Tupolev had designed and was about to start testing his unique turboprop strategic bomber, the Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-95
The Tupolev Tu-95 is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the former Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040...

. In the years to come, he beat off able competition from Vladimir Myasishchev
Vladimir Mikhailovich Myasishchev
Vladimir Mikhailovich Myasishchev was a Soviet aircraft designer, Major General of Engineering , Hero of Socialist Labor , Doctor of Technical Sciences , Honored Science Worker of the RSFSR ....

 and his M-4 series of jet-powered strategic bombers, introducing the Tu-16 design. This was in part thanks to Tupolev's close rapport with Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 who had denounced Stalin's terror, a victim of which Tupolev had been.

Commercial aviation

At about the same time, Tupolev introduced into service the world's second jet airliner, the Tu-104
Tupolev Tu-104
The Tupolev Tu-104 was a twin-engined medium-range turbojet-powered Soviet airliner and the world's first successful jet airliner...

. The aeroplane was the first jet transport to stay in uninterrupted service, and the only one in service anywhere in the world for two years until late 1958. It was followed by a series of Tu passenger jets, including the supersonic Tu-144
Tupolev Tu-144
The Tupolev Tu-144 was a Soviet supersonic transport aircraft and remains one of only two SSTs to enter commercial service, the other being the Concorde...

, designed by Tupolev's son Alexei Tupolev
Alexei Tupolev
Alexei Andreyevich Tupolev was a Soviet aircraft designer who led the development of the first supersonic passenger jet, the failed Tupolev Tu-144. He also helped design the Buran space shuttle and the Tu-2000, which has been suspended because of the lack of funds.Tupolev was the son of famed...


Loss of power in the Soviet Union

After Khruschev's removal from office in late 1964, the ageing Tupolev gradually lost positions at the centres of power to rivals. Though the prestige Tu-144 programme enjoyed top level support until 1973, as did the important Tu-154
Tupolev Tu-154
The Tupolev Tu-154 is a three-engine medium-range narrow-body airliner designed in the mid 1960s and manufactured by Tupolev. As the mainstay 'workhorse' of Soviet and Russian airlines for several decades, it serviced over a sixth of the world's landmass and carried half of all passengers flown...

 airliner, the favored position the Tupolev Design Bureau enjoyed through Tuploev’s personal political connections was largely eclipsed by Ilyushin
Open Joint Stock Company «Ilyushin Aviation Complex» , operating as Ilyushin or Ilyushin Design Bureau, is a Russian design bureau and aircraft manufacturer, founded by Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin. Ilyushin was established under the Soviet Union. Its operations began on January 13, 1933, by...


To his contemporaries, Tupolev was known as a witty but crude master of mat
Russian mat
Mat is the term for strong obscene profanity in Russian and some other Slavic language communities.Use of mat is censored in the media and use of mat in public constitutes a form of disorderly conduct, punishable under article 20.1.1 of the Offences Code of Russia, although it is only enforced...

(a rapid-fire Russian male-speak infused with obscenity) who invariably and energetically insisted on fast and adequate technical fixes at the expense of scholastic ideal solutions. A hallmark of his was to get an aeroplane into service very rapidly; then began an often interminable process of improving the shortcomings of the "quick and dirty" initial design. To his competitors among the Soviet aircraft design community, he was known above all as politically astute; a shrewd and unforgiving rival.

Tupolev was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery
Novodevichy Cemetery is the most famous cemetery in Moscow, Russia. It is next to the 16th-century Novodevichy Convent, which is the city's third most popular tourist site. It should not be confused with the Novodevichy Cemetery in Saint Petersburg....

 in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...


Awards and honors

  • Hero of Socialist Labour, three times (1945, 1957, 1972)
  • Eight Orders of Lenin (1933, 1945, 1947, January 1949, December 1949, 1953, 1958, 1968)
  • Order of the October Revolution
    Order of the October Revolution
    The Order of the October Revolution was instituted on October 31, 1967, in time for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was awarded to individuals or groups for services furthering communism or the state, or in enhancing the defenses of the Soviet Union, military and civil...

  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    Order of the Red Banner of Labour
    The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was an order of the Soviet Union for accomplishments in labour and civil service. It is the labour counterpart of the military Order of the Red Banner. A few institutions and factories, being the pride of Soviet Union, also received the order.-History:The Red...

    , twice (1927, 1933)
  • Order of the Red Star
    Order of the Red Star
    Established on 6 April 1930, the Order of the Red Star was an order of the Soviet Union, given to Red Army and Soviet Navy personnel for "exceptional service in the cause of the defense of the Soviet Union in both war and peace". It was established by Resolution of the Presidium of the CEC of the...

  • Order of the Badge of Honour (1936)
  • Order of Suvorov
    Order of Suvorov
    The Order of Suvorov is a Soviet award, named after Aleksandr Suvorov , that was established on July 29, 1942 by a decision of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of the USSR. This decoration was created to award senior army personnel for exceptional leadership in combat operations...

    , 2nd class (1944)
  • Order of the Patriotic War
    Order of the Patriotic War
    The Order of the Patriotic War is a Soviet military decoration that was awarded to all soldiers in the Soviet armed forces, security troops, and to partisans for heroic deeds during the German-Soviet War, known by the former-Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War.- History :The Order was...

    , 1st class (1943)
  • Lenin Prize
    Lenin Prize
    The Lenin Prize was one of the most prestigious awards of the USSR, presented to individuals for accomplishments relating to science, literature, arts, architecture, and technology. It was created on June 23, 1925 and was awarded until 1934. During the period from 1935 to 1956, the Lenin Prize was...

  • Stalin Prize (1943, 1948, 1949, 1952)
  • USSR State Prize
    USSR State Prize
    The USSR State Prize was the Soviet Union's state honour. It was established on September 9, 1966. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the prize was followed up by the State Prize of the Russian Federation....

  • Order of Georgi Dimitrov (People's Republic of Bulgaria, 1964)
  • Laureate of the Zhukovskii Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958)
  • Gold Medal of the FAI Aviation (1958)
  • Leonardo da Vinci Prize (1971)
  • Gold Medal of the Society of the founders of Air France (1971)
  • Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society
    Royal Aeronautical Society
    The Royal Aeronautical Society, also known as the RAeS, is a multidisciplinary professional institution dedicated to the global aerospace community.-Function:...

     of Great Britain (1970) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society , founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society , and the Institute...

  • Honorary Citizen of Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

     (1964), New York
    New York
    New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

     and the city of Zhukovsky
    The surname Zhukovsky has been transliterated to English in multiple forms, and appears in different texts as Zhukovski, Zhukovskii, Zukovsky, and Zukowski, among others...

    , Moscow Oblast
    Moscow Oblast
    Moscow Oblast , or Podmoskovye , is a federal subject of Russia . Its area, at , is relatively small compared to other federal subjects, but it is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and, with the 2010 population of 7,092,941, is the second most populous federal subject...


External links

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