Military Review

Andrey Nikolaevich Tupolev. Great aircraft designer of Russia

Andrei Nikolayevich was born on October 29 on 1888 in a large family in the village of Pustomazovo, located on the territory of the modern Kalinin Oblast. His mother, Anna Vasilievna, was the daughter of a judicial investigator from Tiflis. She was well educated, knew several languages, played the piano perfectly, was engaged in the whole household and independently gave the children primary education. Father, Nikolai Ivanovich Tupolev, was from Siberian Cossacks, originally from Surgut. He worked as a notary of the district court, but did not like his work, and therefore acquired a small plot of land, settled on it and began to farm.

Andrei Tupolev later recalled: “We lived modestly. I had older brothers Sergey and Nikolay, and also sisters Natalya, Tatyana, Vera and Maria. Mother gave us all her strength, her whole soul. Our family was very big and friendly. Not patriarchal, but undoubtedly advanced. ”

From 1901, Andrey Nikolaevich studied at the Tver gymnasium, about which he later wrote: “In order for the children to study, the whole family had to move to Tver. Our class was friendly, however, it was not accepted to study well. I just tried to keep up with my peers. In Pustomazov I did not have any toys. They were expensive, and I made them myself from wood. And in the gymnasium there were lessons of manual labor. Here I could do carpentry, some of my things even got to the exhibition. Studying in the gymnasium, I realized that I love the technique, I realized that I need to go in this direction. ” In the autumn of 1908, Andrey Tupolev successfully passed the exams at two educational institutions in Moscow: the Institute of Railway Engineers and IMTU. He chose IMTU.

Andrei Nikolayevich recalled the first years in Moscow: “Money was constantly lacking. Once it became very bad, and then I decided to lay my inferior coat in a pawnshop. I was looking for a pawnshop, and it seemed to me that everyone was looking at me, at the coat under my arm. I could not find a pawnshop and returned that day hungry. Fortunately, the next day, three rubles came from the house. ”

In October 1909, N.E. began to give lectures on aeronautics at IMTU. Zhukovsky, who also headed the Aeronautical Circle, formed at the initiative of students. In December of the same year, Tupolev joined the circle, for whom acquaintance with Nikolai Egorovich had a fateful significance. He himself said that “from this moment my aviation a life". After only four months, Andrey Tupolev became one of the most active members of the circle. His work - a flat wind tunnel and an airplane model - attracted people's attention at the aeronautical exhibition.

After the end of the exhibition, the students began to test the balance glider they had created. And the funds raised from ticket sales, in conjunction with a number of private donations, made it possible to start developing a private airplane in a circle. However, in the spring of 1911, Andrei’s school was unexpectedly interrupted. After receiving information about the political unreliability of Tupolev from an unknown source, a search was conducted in his room, and he himself was detained. One of the first tried to help out the future designer Zhukovsky, who declared that his student was in the circle and had no time for "outside" matters. The director of IMTU Gavrilenko made an attempt to release Tupolev from custody. Despite all the petitions, Andrei Nikolayevich was released only in April because of the death of his father. He was also forbidden to live for exactly one year in any cities with higher education institutions.

About two and a half years Tupolev spent in his native village, doing far from aviation affairs. He wrote: “When I returned home, I had the difficult duty of burying my father. The business of our family went badly. But I was young and strong. Well cultivated the land, I made the planting of vegetables. Gradually things began to improve. "

6 February 1913 year police supervision over A.N. Tupolev was canceled, and this fall he managed to recover at the ITU, continuing work in the aerodynamic laboratory, built on the basis of the old circle. Over the next year, he quickly became one of the most active students of Zhukovsky, demonstrating the abilities of both a scientific researcher and a designer.

After the outbreak of the First World War, the military department turned to Nikolai Yegorovich on the issues of blowing and investigating the details of the aircraft in service. With the support of the military, a sharp increase in the scope of work allowed the first Russian Aviation Settlement and Testing Bureau to be organized in the summer of 1916. He was headed by Professor Zhukovsky, and Tupolev became one of his assistants as the head of laboratory facilities. In parallel with the research work, Andrei Nikolaevich managed to do aerodynamic calculations. For the 1916 year, he calculated the Anatra airplane and the Kosyanenko brothers fighter. On the recommendation of Zhukovsky, a student, Andrey Tupolev, was recruited to work in a commission that develops strength standards for airplanes, in which, apart from him, Professor A.P. Fan der Fleet, G.A. Botezat, S.P. Tymoshenko.

In 1916, Andrey Nikolayevich led the design of a hydroplane for some time at the Dux plant. This is what he himself wrote about this: “I had a miserable experience, but I really wanted to try. Created a design office, began to create a seaplane. But the technical director of the plant, returning from France, brought a patent for the construction of the French model. They didn’t call me, they just said through people that they were going to build a foreign aircraft, and not designed by me. At that time I was young, offended, took the blueprints and left. ” However, later the drawings were still useful, becoming the basis for the diploma of Tupolev.

The revolution in Russia did not interrupt the work of the Calculation and Testing Bureau, at the end of the summer of 1918, A.N. Tupolev headed the direction of aerodynamic calculations and instrument design. In the same year he received the title of mechanical engineer, with honors defended a project called “Experience in creating a hydroplane from wind tunnel tests”. In the 1920 year, Tupolev tried himself as a teacher, reading in the Moscow Higher Technical School a course of lectures "Fundamentals of aerodynamic calculation." The following year, he was already assigned the "Theory of Airplanes", "Theory of Hydroplanes", "Normal and Special Design of Hydroplanes", as well as the course "Hydroaviation" at the Institute. NOT. Zhukovsky.

Soon, Nikolai Egorovich and a number of his closest associates came to the conclusion that further development of aircraft construction in the country is possible only with a powerful research base. The idea to create a scientific hydrodynamic institute was supported personally by V.I. Lenin and in December 1918 th he began his activities. The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (abbreviated TsAGI) headed Zhukovsky, while Tupolev became the head of the aviation department. From the very beginning, he set before the staff not at all aero-hydrodynamic tasks aimed at the development of the whole complex of scientific developments necessary in the future for aircraft construction. The institute studied aircraft alloys and their protection against corrosion, aircraft engines, the strength of aircraft structures, flight test methods, and much more. After the death of Zhukovsky, Tupolev continued his work on the further development and expansion of TsAGI. To address emerging issues, he widely attracted specialists and scientists from various fields of science.

In the life of Andrei Nikolaevich, a goal appeared - to create a whole new branch, the aviation industry, capable of massively developing and producing airplanes. In the 1924 year, thanks to the proposal of Tupolev, the top leadership of the country made a decision to create a metallurgical base for aircraft manufacturing, which made it possible to produce special aviation materials in large quantities. At the insistence of Tupolev, light magnesium alloys were developed in 30, and at the end of 40, high-strength aluminum alloys for high-speed aircraft. At the end of the 60s, new heat-resistant aluminum-based alloys for supersonic aircraft appeared. It was Tupolev who first began to use high-strength steel, chromedic, glass fiber and some other non-metallic materials. A special laboratory was organized to create and research them.

In the 1923 year, Tupolev created ANT-P all-metal highly reliable snowmobiles, the experience gained further allowed him to develop new designs for gliders and marine torpedo boats, mass-produced during the Great Patriotic War. And in 1924, the flight tests of the first all-metal ANT-2 aircraft ended in success.

Andrey Nikolaevich Tupolev. Great aircraft designer of Russia

Step by step, using the example of foreign models and our own experience, production and design teams were formed at TsAGI, production facilities and workshops were expanded, new buildings were built. Becoming in 1936-th year, the chief engineer of the General Directorate of the aviation industry, A.N. Tupolev begins to rebuild old and build new aircraft factories for mass production of aircraft. To this end, he makes extensive use of advanced imported equipment, and also follows the principles used in the US auto industry, which he had the opportunity to study during a series of business trips. Thanks to Andrei Nikolaevich, technological processes developed abroad, including cladding and anodizing, were introduced. These events helped in the war years to organize the mass production of aircraft. Tupolev was also one of the first to understand the need to use computers to improve calculation methods and increase the number of factors taken into account, creating one of the first computing centers.

Each new Tupolev aircraft was an event in engineering. Based on the experience gained, he included in each project only the most minimal amount of new, using the path of a consistent structure of aircraft. For example, the 77, 73 and 82 aircraft served as stages for the creation of the Tu-16 jet twin-engined bomber. Among the airplanes created by the Tupolev were not commercially produced models, but there were no unfinished ones unable to fly.


After the end of the war, Tupolev launched the construction of new laboratory and production buildings, specialized workshops and branches, and he founded a flight-development base. Not forgetting about his employees, he sought to build for them new homes and recreation centers, garden cooperatives and kindergartens.

Tupolev is the author of many unique technical solutions, such as the prototyping method, capable of solving spatial layout tasks on wooden models, or creating entire flying laboratories for testing engines and other aircraft systems. Eyewitnesses said that wherever Andrei Nikolayevich would be, so that he would not do, his head was constantly thinking that from what was read, heard or what he saw could be applied to the development of aircraft construction.

The great designer always knew how to correctly interpret the tasks assigned to the future aircraft. When developing in the 1932 year, ANT-31, Tupolev was the first to understand the main task of the fighters of the new generation - to overtake the enemy. By the beginning of the war, the monoplane scheme had become the standard for all the fighters in the world. And in 1950, he realized the advantage of heavy jet bombers over piston-engined airplanes, starting to design the Tu-16, which later hit many specialists.

Tupolev liked well, detailed picture of the preliminary layout. He said: “The more details we drew, the more problems we thought of.” About careless layout responded: "Smeared, not thinking." Tupolev also did not tolerate speculative conclusions. Wherever, at whatever level the meeting was, he made decisions only on the basis of experimental results or obtained through careful calculations.

To eliminate the defects revealed at the flight test stage, Tupolev organized a broad technical process with the participation of specialists from various industries. He devoted much time to working with the crews of airplanes, contributing to the improvement of their theoretical and practical training. To this end, piloting training stands for pilots were created. Before the first flight, Tupolev spent a long time talking with the pilots, telling them about the creation of the aircraft, thus instilling his confidence in the vehicle. And after the flight I asked for detailed stories about what the pilots knew and felt. Of course, the designer had to witness accidents and accidents of his test and serial aircraft. People died, and, feeling their responsibility to their families, Andrei Nikolayevich used all his authority and influence to help the families of the deceased, seeking pensions and benefits. In addition, he conducted a thorough search for the causes of the incident, eliminated all defects and defended the need to continue testing this model in disputes with management. As a rule, his arguments were accepted, and the aircraft was then successfully and successfully exploited (for example, this was the case with the Tu-134). Later, Tupolev invented the service of operating a mass-produced aircraft. On the basis of the data collected by her, decisions were made to further modernize the aircraft.


In total, more than fifty original aircraft and about a hundred different modifications were created under the leadership of Andrei Nikolaevich. His planes set more than one hundred world records for range, flight speed and payload. The main line of creativity Tupolev were heavy aircraft with high payload. In 1958, under his leadership, a unique passenger aircraft Tu-114 was created, far ahead of its time. A reliable ultra-long-haul Airbus has won leadership on long-haul lines for many years, having no analogues in economic efficiency. Tu-114 worked on international lines, making flights across the ocean to Cuba and to America. During the years of operation, the aircraft of this series set thirty-two world records and there are no data in the flight incident column. And the supersonic passenger airliner Tu-1968, which appeared in 144 year, became famous not only in the USSR, but throughout the world.


Tupolev, soberly assessing the significance of money, always declared: “Creating a small plane requires little money and a lot of work. A big plane is a lot of work, and even a lot of money. ”

Andrei Nikolaevich was a well-known state and public figure - a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the Moscow Council, a member of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. His performances have always been distinguished by emotionality and breadth of judgment, expressed hopes for a bright future for mankind. Tupolev was three times the Hero of Socialist Labor, the winner of many State awards, the owner of numerous orders and medals. What is particularly curious is the famous scientist was awarded the Leonardo da Vinci Prize and the gold medal of the French Aviation founders society. He was chosen to be honorary member of the Royal Aeronautics Society of Great Britain and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

According to eyewitnesses, Tupolev had an almost uncanny ability to accurately guess the place of the aircraft's separation from the ground during acceleration and the place where the aircraft had run after landing. Such a gift Tupolev showed more than once or twice, even in unusual situations like the takeoff of an extremely overloaded aircraft.

Being a talented scientist and designer, the leader of a huge, many thousands team of engineers, technologists, test pilots, technicians and workers, Andrey Nikolaevich always remained a very simple and friendly person, adored his family, nature, company of friends, delicious food. In everyday life, Tupolev was extremely conservative, preferring to wear old but comfortable jackets, trousers, and shoes. Making it buy a new thing managed with great difficulty. Andrey Tupolev met his wife while still a student and only loved her all his life. Yulia Nikolaevna accompanied him wherever it was possible: on business trips abroad, at scientific conferences, solemn and friendly open receptions. Often in a big company, she was the only woman. Knowing foreign languages ​​well, Yulia Nikolaevna helped Tupolev in negotiations with foreigners.

Known fact that Andrei Nikolaevich attracted his wife to the design of the passenger cabin of the Tu-70 and Tu-104. Yulia Nikolaevna chose with passion the color of the material for the saloon and chairs, the furnishing of the interior and the kitchen, being a supporter of the Russian traditional style. It is safe to say that she was among the first designers of the OKB.

Andrey Tupolev loved to travel. As part of official delegations and on business trips, he visited many countries where he studied not only science and technology, but also nature, people, and local customs. On vacation, he preferred to hunt, fish, play volleyball. I was especially happy when it turned out to go with my family and closest friends to nature, sit by the fire, cook soup. He went to the theater and cinema, listened to music, but because of employment, and in recent years and because of illnesses, he could not devote much time to this. But regularly, before going to bed I read works of art. In his home library, in addition to numerous technical books and journals, books were kept by A.S. Pushkin, L.N. Tolstoy, A.T. Tvardovsky, D. Galsworthy, Plutarch. Tupolev remembered many poems and quoted them occasionally. In general, his speech differed in brevity and capacity, many phrases became aphorisms.

Andrei Nikolaevich had one habit. He always brought something tasty from the guests or from the official reception home: a cake, an apple, a pie. Knowing this, many of our colleagues deliberately wrapped Tupolev's treats “for the home”.

When the grandchildren appeared - first Julia, and later Andryusha and Tanya - Andrei Nikolayevich began to spend all his free time with them. Often, Tupolev took in his hands carpentry tools and carved wooden toys for grandchildren.

Unfortunately, Yulia Nikolaevna had poor health, and in the post-war years, Andrei Nikolaevich was accompanied in numerous journeys by his daughter, Yulia Andreyevna. After the death of his wife in 1962, Tupolev lost weight, became more withdrawn and thoughtful, but did not work less. Daughter was with him at home almost all the time. Tupolev highly appreciated her medical experience without taking any medicine or medical procedure without the approval of her daughter.

Andrei Nikolaevich maintained friendly relations with I.V. Kurchatov, A.P. Vinogradov, A.T. Tvardovskim, M.V. Keldysh, P.L. Kapitsa and many other prominent people of the time. S.P. often came to him to talk. Korolev, who later said that he had studied the style of work with Andrei Nikolaevich. Under the leadership of Tupolev Korolev made his graduation project, and also worked a little in his assembly shop.

Until the last days of his life, Tupolev maintained a firm memory and a clear consciousness, was interested in everything and participated in the most important affairs of his OKB. Speaking at the MGNS 22 hospital on December 1972 of the year with visiting his son and daughter, eighty-four-year-old Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev laughed and joked, made plans for a trip to the Crimea. When they left late in the evening, he fell asleep and never woke up.


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  1. Apollo
    Apollo 24 December 2012 09: 14
    Truly a Great Man!
    Bright memory.
  2. general.bnw
    general.bnw 24 December 2012 10: 32
    Lord! What can I say about such a great talent ?! One fact: according to experts, the TU-95, developed in the late 1950s / !!! / years, after deep modernization, will fly another 20-30 years! Probably, only AN-2 / O.K. Antonova/, who will also live so much, can be a certain analogue. Designers of this scale - GIANTS!
    1. aviator46
      aviator46 1 January 2013 18: 28
      Great designer and GREAT schemer.
      Taking advantage of his friendship with Dementyev, he "hacked to death" more than one project ... pushing his own.
  3. sergo0000
    sergo0000 24 December 2012 11: 11
    Monument to Andrei Tupolev in Kazan.
    1. Apollo
      Apollo 24 December 2012 11: 26
      Quote: sergo0000
      Monument to Andrei Tupolev in Kazan.

      it would be my will would erect a whole MONUMENT and not anywhere else but in Moscow.! Genius, Aviation deserved it !!! good
    2. AK-47
      AK-47 24 December 2012 13: 34
      Monument to A.N. Tupolev (Kazan)
  4. studentmati
    studentmati 24 December 2012 12: 11
    There were times - there were Great Constructors! There were airplanes and they had names: TU, SU, AN, YAK, BE, PO, ..... And the attitude towards the designer and his school was largely adhered to in the plane. Today, not only Russian MS, ..., but also English SSJ, ... are coming into use, and whose is this brainchild? And this was done by corporations that will (if they are?) Bear collective responsibility (and therefore no responsibility). With this attitude to aviation history, the current generation will quickly forget the Great Russian designers. But the younger one will not know what is hidden behind the brands: TU, YAK, AN, SU .....
  5. I. Brovkin
    I. Brovkin 24 December 2012 12: 17
    And here is the Soviet postage stamp on the centenary of the birth of this great aircraft designer.
  6. zambo
    zambo 24 December 2012 13: 08
    The glorious son of the Russian land!
  7. dmitreach
    dmitreach 24 December 2012 16: 04
    Thanks to Tupolev for my happy childhood ... Few people know that thanks to this person, a school for training professional personnel for his design bureau was created in the USSR / Russia.
    Faced with the problem of qualified personnel, he created vocational school 164, with training in the specialties (I do not remember exactly, but now it is renamed and re-qualified):
    electrician for installation of aviation equipment;
    milling machine operator (with specifics for the aircraft industry);
    computer's operator!!! ;
    aerodynamic modeller.
    I, as a vocational school, for three years of study, 2 days a week practiced in the Tupolev Design Bureau (I think the 17th workshop ... forgotten). In the third year, half a year was assigned to a diploma (drawing A1 + "diploma note" of 70 sheets + the model itself). Moreover, there was a scholarship !!!! (enough for beer) We had a Ski Section, even though the teachers complained - they destroyed the Soviet tourism system under the EBN! (in the Soviet years, vocational school students traveled all over the USSR, for even the State !!!) In the third year, as an evening party, he could go to a technical school to become an engineer on aircraft engines, immediately to some course. It was necessary to study in parallel for a year, then the laws were not prohibited. In one place you write your diploma, in another in the evening, you research engines. The technical school at the Salyut plant (in the 90s he made engines for Chinese dryers), plus a year there and welcome to the third year of MAI, without exams ... And this is in the 90s! (sometimes I regret that I did not connect my life with aviation. Due to the collapse of the industry in the 90s, which I saw on the example of the Tupolev Design Bureau ...) In the workshop in which the Tu 160 was assembled ... the capitalists began to make Finnish doors out of solid pine ... We then envied the peasants. They have beautiful overalls and cool machines. Imported ... And now the territory of the KB is stale ... mmmm different .... There are Elite residential buildings and Office "Centers".
  8. Uncle
    Uncle 24 December 2012 19: 28
    Through the fence of our dacha cooperative, the dachas of the Tupolev Design Bureau are called "Tupolev". smile
  9. Pushkar
    Pushkar 24 December 2012 23: 28
    Tupolev made excellent planes for records, for flying across the Pole (though on one engine, one snowflake in the gas line is enough and ...). The war came and it turned out that there was not a single Tu-type aircraft. capable of fighting. After the war, the only achievement was the copying of the B-29. Yes, another feat - he managed to "push" the Mesishchev aircraft, as competitors of his Tu-16, a voracious aircraft with a short flight range and low combat load. Up to the Tu-124, all of its civilian vehicles are rework of the military, and therefore uneconomical, unprofitable. Aeroflot climbed the Il-14, Il18, and with the adoption of the Tu-134 and Tu-154, ticket prices rose sharply and Aeroflot began to wither. Currently, Tushki is being finished off by low-budget companies, and all new Tu projects invariably fail (remember, hydrogen, with Dewar vessels instead of seats in the cabin?), And, alas, fly on old Boeings. And the board number 1 is IL-62. Tupolev is a theoretician, academician. It would be better for them to stay.
  10. Pushkar
    Pushkar 29 December 2012 19: 47
    You can minus whatever you want, but here are the numbers: Tu 204 has been produced since 1990, 46 cars have been in operation (72 produced), of which 2 crashed (both on landing) - 4,3%. The Boeing 737 of the same type has been produced since 1967, in operation no less than 7320, 170 - 2,3% crashed. Moreover, the Tu is operated on well-equipped aerodromes by crews with an academic education, and Boeing - around the world, across Africa and Asia, often with local semi-literate pilots who violate all instructions. The story is repeated with the Tu 154, in which the front landing gear flew off during landing in the first production version and the plane plowed the runway with the front pillar, which, thank God, never happened ..
  11. aver
    aver 11 January 2014 15: 35
    ... However, Myasishchev ate ...
  12. Pate
    Pate 22 October 2017 13: 13
    A brilliant aircraft designer, one of the geniuses who managed to build an aircraft industry in our country, for which many thanks to him !!!
  13. Dmitry Kuznetsov
    Dmitry Kuznetsov 21 March 2021 21: 13
    Comrade Tupolev, like his creations, of course was a paradoxical person, like the era of the 1920s and 50s. A worthless designer and engineer, but an excellent intriguer and conspirator ... subtly feeling the political moment and the mood of the "owner" era !! He built aircraft, but only a few of them were suitable for military operation. And then Comrade Stalin asked him altogether ... to copy their B-29 from the Americans, and not to design his own bomber. He built civilian airliners, but they had the highest accident rate and general unreliability of components and mechanisms. For example, only 1200 Tu-154s were produced, of which slightly more than 10% of all aircraft were lost in accidents and accidents !! Boeing, Airbus and Douglas-McDonell did not exceed this figure 7%. And they produced thousands of bayonets, the same Boeing riveted 60 thousand aircraft since the 30s (I don't even want to write about the notorious Tu-104s, which killed a bunch of Soviet citizens !!). The first bomber of the Sukhoi Design Bureau began to confidently overtake the Tupolevites with its revolutionary T-100, so this fantastic bomber of the future, flying at a speed of 3.5 Mach, Tupolev and his ministerial friends were screwed up, crushed and put on the hitch. , but not revolutionary and significantly limited in performance characteristics. By the way, his colleagues do not digest Andrei Nikolaevich at all because of his shitty and habit of squeezing out other projects and developments to their design bureau.