The Soviets have started their own SST passenger service between Moscow and Alma Ata. and citizens living around Platinsk are pretty damn mad about it. They have organized the "People's Committee to Ban the TU 144."
Aleksei Gregoritvitch, whose house is in the flight pattern of the TU 144, is one of the leaders of the "Ban the TU 144 Movement." He went to see an assistant secretary of the Soviet Aviation Bureau to complain.
"Comrade Secretary," Aleksei said, "On behalf of all the people who live in Platinsk I am protesting the landing and taking off the TU 144. The noise is deafening."
The Secretary replied, "You are crazy, Aleksei."
"Because I am complaining about the noise?"
"No, because you come to see me to complain about the noise. I shall have to put you in a sanitarium until you get well."
"But Comrade Secretary, why should we on the ground suffer because a few Soviet bureaucrat want to get from Moscow to Alma Ata in two hours?"
"Enough of this counterrevolutionary talk! We have tested the TU 144 and it doesn't make any more noise than the regular Tupolev jet."
"I beg to differ with you. The TU 144 rattles the windows of our apartments and keeps our children awake. If you lived in Platinsk you would know what I'm talking about."
"Would you prefer to live in Siberia? The TU 144 does not fly over any houses there."
"Threats will get you nowhere, Comrade Secretary. The people of Platinsk intend to take action if you continue landing the Soviet SST at Alma Ata."
"What action do you intend to take?"
"We will block all the roads to the Alma Ata Airport with our automobiles."
"But you have no automobiles in Platinsk."
"That is what I came to see you about. We wish to buy automobiles to block the highways."
"Platinsk is not scheduled to have automobiles until 1987."
"I am afraid of that. Then we shall throw our bodies across the runaways so the TU 144 cannot take off."
"That will not stop us. We have a big investment in the TU 144 and if we have to take a few people from Platinsk with us under the fuselage every time we take off, we will do it."
"Doesn't life mean more to you than a supersonic plane?"
"If you have to ask that kind of question you really do belong in a sanitarium. Comrade Aleksei, would you agree that the United States is a freer country than the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?"
"I suppose so."
"Did you know the people on Long Island in New York protested the landing of the Concorde for over a year?"
"I read something in Pravda about it."
"And did you know that their protests were to no avail? The Concorde was permitted to fly over their houses."
"If the people in a democracy can't stop the landing of an SST, what makes you think the people in a police state can?"
"I never thought of that. I guess Platinsk should be happy the Soviet Union has developed its own SST and be grateful we can see it every day. The next time I hear a sonic boom I shall rejoice in the progress of Soviet technology."
"I'm still sending you to a sanitarium."
"For what reason, Comrade?"
"Catch 144. Anyone who would want an SST to fly over his house must surely be crazy."