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Soviet Nuclear Bomber hoax 1958

Triton

Donald McKelvy
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Wikipedia claims that the article concerning an atomic-powered Soviet bomber aircraft appearing in the December 1, 1958 issue of Aviation Week was a hoax. What is not explained in the Wikipedia entries is who perpetrated the hoax? Was this misinformation released by the KGB? Did a source, or sources, for the article lie to deliberately deceive the author or authors of the article? Or did Aviation Week print an article that it knew to be untrue?
 

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flateric

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http://aviationweek.com/blog/1958-false-starts-aviation-s-atomic-age
http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/uploads/2014/10/1958-%20Soviet%20Nuclear%20Bomber.pdf


"Aviation Week itself caused a stir in the nuclear propulsion field when it reported in its Dec 1, 1958, edition on flight tests of what appeared to be a Soviet nuclear-powered aircraft. The report, on what later emerged to be an elaborate hoax, led to concerns that the U.S.S.R was pulling ahead of the U.S. and helped to extend funding in nuclear aircraft research for a few more years. The feature also contained a very detailed timeline of associated nuclear aircraft plans in the U.S. and foreshadowed actual flights of a modified Tupolev Tu-95 equipped with a reactor in the early 1960s. The Soviet research in nuclear-powered aircraft, like that in the U.S., effectively ended within a few years as ICBM’s rendered the concept obsolete."
 

Triton

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My understanding of the meaning of the word hoax is "a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth." I don't understand how Editor Robert Hotz printing rumors and information believed to be true concerning the Myasishchev M-50 is considered a hoax. Why did author Guy Norris in his article "1958: False Starts For Aviation’s ‘Atomic Age’" use the the phrase "elaborate hoax"? Did Robert Hotz know that the information in the article was untrue?
 

flateric

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EMZ actually made a bunch of studies on nuclear powered aircrafts including those based on M-50. Tupolev did it as well, including flying Tu-95LAL with reactor onboard.
May be some information have leaked, and turned out to something more expressive in eyes of AWST editors.

Unfortunately, we can't ask Mr.Hotz himself as he passed away in 2006.
 

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It has been suggested that the hoax was played on AvWeek by someone in the USAF fed up with their leaks.
 

Jemiba

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Triton said:
An article, and accompanying editorial, in a well-respected aviation publication based on secret intelligence believed to
be true isn't by any stretch of the imagination a "hoax."
It's not a question, where it was published, but why, I think. Here the "well-respected aviation publication" maybe just was
at the receiving end. Question to me is, if a hoax always has to be an intentionally wrong news, or if negligent handling of
unproven data and maybe mixing in far-fetched conjectures is sufficient to fit this term.
Anyway, maybe this story should somehow be incorporated into our forum rules as a clue, that even usually trusted sources
can be wrong !
 

Triton

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I understand that after the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 04, 1957, there was a period of public fear and uncertainty in the United States of a perceived technological superiority of the Soviet Union over the United States. In the history books this period was called the "Sputnik crisis." This crisis led to the creation of NASA and the Space Race with the Soviet Union. Still in shock over Sputnik 1, it does seem that a reasonable person would believe that the Soviet Union was ahead of the United States in atomic propulsion for aircraft.
 

Triton

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Jemiba said:
It's not a question, where it was published, but why, I think. Here the "well-respected aviation publication" maybe just was
at the receiving end. Question to me is, if a hoax always has to be an intentionally wrong news, or if negligent handling of
unproven data and maybe mixing in far-fetched conjectures is sufficient to fit this term.
Anyway, maybe this story should somehow be incorporated into our forum rules as a clue, that even usually trusted sources
can be wrong !
General Electric would have a vested interest in the continued development of the J87 nuclear-powered turbojet engine and the WS-125.
 

Jemiba

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Triton said:
Jemiba said:
It's not a question, where it was published, but why, I think. Here the "well-respected aviation publication" maybe just was
at the receiving end. Question to me is, if a hoax always has to be an intentionally wrong news, or if negligent handling of
unproven data and maybe mixing in far-fetched conjectures is sufficient to fit this term.
Anyway, maybe this story should somehow be incorporated into our forum rules as a clue, that even usually trusted sources
can be wrong !
General Electric would have a vested interest in the continued development of the J87 nuclear-powered turbojet engine and the WS-125.

"But dark is the meaning of words" (Friedrich Schiller) ... ???
 

Vahe Demirjian

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Wikipedia claims that the article concerning an atomic-powered Soviet bomber aircraft appearing in the December 1, 1958 issue of Aviation Week was a hoax. What is not explained in the Wikipedia entries is who perpetrated the hoax? Was this misinformation released by the KGB? Did a source, or sources, for the article lie to deliberately deceive the author or authors of the article? Or did Aviation Week print an article that it knew to be untrue?
The Aviation Week article about the alleged Soviet nuclear-powered plane was fabricated by someone in the Atomic Energy Commission and ANP program to renew research into nuclear-powered plane technology (http://www.megazone.org/ANP/politics.shtml). Remember that the Myasishchev Design Bureau was working on a nuclear-powered version of the M-50 as the M-60, so it's possible that the US mistakenly assumed that the M-50 was nuclear-powered.
 
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