The experimental Tupolev Tu-144 was the pride of Soviet technology at the time.
On June 3, 1973, a test specimen of the Soviet supersonic Tupolev Tu-144, a competitor to the Western Concorde, disintegrated during a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show. It was a serious accident in which a total of 14 people were killed (all six members of the aircraft crew and another eight people on the ground). The disaster was witnessed by about 250,000 people, including Alexei Tupolev, who designed the aircraft (he was the son of Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev, after whom the Tupolev planes were named). The experimental Tupolev Tu-144 was at that time the pride of Soviet technology, and visually it was very similar to the Concorde, which at that time was still in the development phase (it entered commercial use only in 1976). It was slightly larger than the Concorde, with a length of 65.7 meters and a wingspan of about 29 meters. It was anticipated that it would be able to carry about 140 passengers.
In 1970, the Tu-144 became the first passenger aircraft to reach speeds twice the speed of sound (Mach 2), surpassing the Concorde. He performed at the aforementioned Paris air show Tu-144 after the Concorde flight, and to this day it has not been established with certainty why it was destroyed. Namely, during one maneuver, the Soviet pilot, after an apparent attempt to land, suddenly directed the aircraft upwards and increased the operation of the engine. The plane took off abruptly, but due to the steep angle of ascent it eventually lost buoyancy and began to sink. To get out, the pilot re-amplified the engines, after which the plane disintegrated in the air. His pieces hit the ground killing the aforementioned eight people, including three children, and another 60 people were seriously injured.