IL-14, The Plane

The legendary Douglas DC-3 was the inspiration for Russian design engineer Sergej Ilyushin to develop the Il-12 in 1943. The plane, which was originally planned with four engines, was similar to the DC-3 but was about 20% larger and had a nose wheel. Before its maiden flight in 1945, the Il-12 was redesigned and was then powered by two diesel engines with three-blade propellers. When Aeroflot started using the Il-12 for scheduled flights in 1947, the cabin provided space for 18-21 passengers and the crew consisted of two pilots, one navigator, one radio operator and one flight attendant. Although the Il-12 was used in a few Soviet-friendly states for both military and civil flights, it did not enjoy true success. The Il-12 was quite simply too heavy.

Which is why work soon started on its further development, referred to as the Il-14. The prototype flew in July 1950 for the very first time. The Il-14P (P stood for Passazheerskiy/passenger) was given an excellent appraisal by test pilot Vladimir Kokkinaki. He particularly praised the very well arranged cockpit and the good visibility. The plane was now also very well powered with two ASh-82T each with 1900 HP.

On 1 April 1953, the government decided to produce the Il-14 in factory no. 84 in Tashkent. Production then began in autumn 1953. The aeroplane went into service for Aeroflot in 1954 as an 18-seater version. The maximum take-off weight was 17 tons. A large number of military versions were also developed, for example the Il-14D-30 that was used to drop parachutists. The Il-14M that was one metre longer was then taken into service in 1956. This model also had an improved electrical system, newer aviation electronics and a greater operating distance. The Soviet Air Force used various special versions, for example to observe icebergs, as an aerial survey plane and on reconnaissance flights.

The Ilyushin was also produced under licence in a few other Eastern Bloc countries. For example, 200 Avia-14s were built in the former Czechoslovakia and 80 planes left the production halls of VEB in Dresden, then East Germany.

Aeroflot mainly used the Il-14 for domestic purposes in the 1950s. Its longest trip was Leningrad to Vladivostok, nearly 8000 km. The trip took a total of 33 hours and 35 minutes with 10(!) stopovers. When the faster Tu-104 and Il-18 were introduced, the Il-14 was only used for short-haul flights. It was exported to 31 countries and was in wide use until the 1980s.

Technical data (IL-14P/T):
Wingspan: 31.7 m
Length: 21.31 m
Empty weight: 12,080 kg
Max. take-off weight: 17,250 kg
Max. speed: 393 km/h
Details on 01146 Il-14T / Red 21, our plane

It was built in 1957 in Tashkent – the eighth plane of the 38th series of that year. The plane was delivered to the Soviet Air Force with the registration number 01146 and the code name “Red 21”. At the time it was painted in dark green camouflage and was stationed in Moscow-Chkalovsk, also known as Star City – the cosmonaut training centre to the north east of Moscow.

Our Il-14 was in active service until 1992. After being taken out of service, it was sold to a private person and flown to Moscow-Myachkovo. It was later transferred to Zhukovsky where we discovered it in 2002. After a thorough overhaul, our plane successfully completed its test flight on 7 April 2005. Our Il-14 has completed 9160 flight hours to date.