Soviet aeronautical engineer, who was responsible for the world's first supersonic airliner. He was twice awarded the Order of Lenin and was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
The son of a lawyer exiled for revolutionary activities, Tupolev was educated at the local gymnasium and Moscow Technical High School. Arrested for political activities in 1911, he was expelled from technical college, although he was allowed to return in 1914 to complete his studies. Tupolev spent the war working in Duks aircraft factory. After the 1917 revolution, he joined the Central Aerodynamical Institute in Moscow, being promoted in 1921 to the directorship of the aircraft design department.
Although he produced many safe and conventional piston-engined planes, Tupolev only became known outside the Soviet Union for his turbojets. He produced the first Soviet jet bomber, the TU-12, in 1946 and went on to design the TU-104, the first jet passenger plane for Aeroflot. The TU-114, a forerunner of the Jumbo jets, was introduced into service in 1961. His most spectacular triumph, however, was the TU-144, the supersonic plane designed by Tupolev and his son Alexei. It flew first on 31 December 1968, some two months before the maiden flight of its rival, the Anglo-French Concorde.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).