One of the very few four seat light aircraft to be built in the Soviet Union during the Cold War years, the rugged Yak-18T has its basis in the Yak-18 series of two seat trainers.
The Yak-18 first flew in 1946 and went on to be built in massive numbers (including more than 8000 for the Soviet air force which used it as its standard military basic trainer for many decades). Most production was of the Yak-18A. Several single seat models were built for competition aerobatics, including the Yak-18P, Yak-18PM and Yak-18PS. Many have since appeared in the west.
The four seat Yak-18T was the last production model, and the most extensively modified. Compared with the single and two seat Yak-18 models, the Yak-18T introduced a much enlarged cabin with seating for four, tricycle undercarriage (single seat Yak-18PMs had tricycle undercarriage also), plus the 265kW (355hp) Vedneyev (now VOKBM) M14 nine cylinder radial engine.
First flight occurred in mid 1967 and the Yak-18T was then subsequently 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 200 were built, mainly for Aeroflot, production ceased in the late 1980s.
In 1993 the Smolensk Aircraft Factory placed the -18T back into production against a number of new contracts, including 20 for the Philippines air force. Several Yak-18Ts have also found their way into the west.
Meanwhile Technoavia offers its own development of the Yak-18T, the SM94, but production is dependant on orders being placed.
Compared with western four seat light aircraft, the Yak-18T is much larger, heavier and less economic to operate with a far more powerful engine, although it was never intended for private pilot operation. Its strong construction and military background has given it an aerobatic capability, while its general handling characteristics are docile.
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