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
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.