The Yakovlev Yak-18T is a four-place, fully aerobatic utility aircraft. Introduced to train Aeroflot pilots, it has recently gained some popularity as a sportplane in both the East and the West. It is powered by a 268-298 kW (360-400 hp) Vedeneyev M14P radial engine, and is designed for stresses of +6.4/-3.2 g.
Design and development
Based on the Yak-18 series of two seat trainers that first flew in 1946, the Yak-18T was the last production model. A considerable number of design and engineering changes took place including a larger cabin with seating for four, tricycle undercarriage (single seat Yak-18PMs had tricycle undercarriage also), as well as the 265 kW (355 hp) Vedneyev M14 nine cylinder radial engine being installed.
Compared with other four-seat light aircraft such as the Cessna 172 or the Piper PA-28, the Yak-18T is only a little wider and longer but it is much heavier and is equipped with a considerably more powerful engine. The Yak-18T is perhaps better compared with the Piper Saratoga which has two extra seats but which has a similar maximum weight, together with a retractable undercarriage and a similarly powerful engine. The Yak-18T is, however, distinguished by its strong construction, aerobatic capability and docile yet responsive handling characteristics.
The Yak-18T prototype had its first flight in mid-1967 and subsequently the type was placed in series production in Smolensk.
The Yak-18T went on to become the standard basic trainer with Aeroflot flight schools, while small numbers also entered service with the Soviet Air Force as liaison and communications aircraft. After approximately 700 were built, many for Aeroflot, production ceased in the late 1980s.
In 1993, the Smolensk Aircraft Factory put the -18T back into production after receiving a number of new contracts, including 20 for the Philippine Air Force. A number of civilian-licenced Yak-18Ts have also found their way into the west.
Currently, Technoavia offers the SM94, its own development of the Yak-18T featuring curved front glass, larger capacity fuel tanks and choice of avionics package, but production is dependent on orders being placed.
Yakovlev - designer and manufacturer of the Yak-18T.
Published in July 2009.
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