60 years passed since IL-14T performed its first flight
60 years ago on this very day (22.06.56) a modernized assault transport aircraft IL-14T performed its first flight. Pilot—in-command of this first flight was an honored test pilot of the USSR, double Hero of the Soviet Union – Vladimir Kokkinaki.
The transport assault aircraft version was developed on the basis of IL-14M aircraft. A cargo door (width 2.71 m, height 1.6 m) featuring an additional opening was fit in the left fuselage side. Parachute and cargo in flexible containers were air dropped through the openings mentioned above as well as through the crew and passenger entrance door.
Aircraft cargo compartment was extended through the use of aft baggage compartment and relocation of the toilet to the rear bulkhead of the aircraft. A cargo door with extended width ensured loading of GAZ-69 light truck and other vehicles. The troopers were seated on 21 folding seats located on the aircraft sides. The airborne transporter ensured airdropping of cargo with total weight 2000 kg in 12-15 seconds at flight speed of 300 km/hour. Furthermore the cargo could be mounted on the hardpoints under the centre wing.
Various versions of IL-14T, such as cargo, assault transport, first aid and towing, used were equipped with assault transport facilities.
The tests of IL-14T which started in R&D establishment of Air Forces at military unit No. 55599 (Tula) on September 12, 1956 confirmed the designed aircraft performance characteristics. Flight technique of the aircraft had much in common with IL-14P passenger carrier, although the aircraft with outer cargo had a reduced maximum speed up to 366 km/hour. The tests lasted till December. IL-14T was widely used in civil aviation (without air dropping and any other special-purpose equipment) for transportation of a wide range of cargo and flights in the frame of various scientific expeditions to Arctic and Antarctic (i.e. polar aviation). The aircraft ensured landing and takeoff from a range of airport runways: concrete, unpaved and snow-covered.
The aircraft contribution in successful completion of high-latitude expeditions is highly appreciated. IL-14T possibility to perform long-range flights under extreme weather conditions (airfree, -70°С and strong ice formation), takeoff and land at limited ice-covered airfields as well as selected during flight and easy maintenance helped it to become a long-playing aircraft at service in Soviet polar aviation.
In the late 1970’s polar aviation IL-14 aircraft took an active part in such historically prominent Arctic experiments as conquest of the North Pole made by Arktika nuclear-powered icebreaker and ski trip from the USSR borderlines to the North Pole.
Total quantity of IL-14T manufactured is 356 aircraft. The aircraft was manufactured at two plants: 291 – at Moscow Machine Engineering Plant «Znamya Truda» (Plant No.30) and 65 – at Tashkent Aviation Production Association (Plant No.84).
Such diversified prolonged application of IL-14 modifications timely proves aircraft high performance and operational capacities as well as makes the aircraft to become one of the most protuberant world-class aviation vessels.
Nowadays the aircraft is still of much interest too. Up to date 2 IL-14T aircraft were restored by enthusiastic members of sport aviation club «Albatros-Aero».