|East German-built VEB14P 3076 served with the Polish Air Force and is now preserved in Germany.|
|From the late 1930s until the end of World War II
the Soviet Union's main transport aircraft was a licensed built verson
of the American DC3, the Li2.
But, with the end of the war in sight in 1944 and the growing tension between East and West, the Soviets clearly needed to go it alone for the next generation of aircraft. To this end, a requirement was issued for a twin-engined aircraft capable of operating from grass runways in some of the most inhospitable flying conditions in the world.
The Ilyushin design bureau began work on what would become the IL12 the same year and the prototype first flew in 1946. The type was powered by two 1,830 hp Shvetsov ASh-82FNV 18-cyclinder radial engines and entered service with Aeroflot in August 22, 1947.
Although designed for internal routes, the Soviet state airline also introduced the type on international services. It had seating for 27 passengers and a crew of five, four on the flight deck.
The IL12 looked like a DC3 with a nosewheel and the fact that a strut had to be used to support the rear fuselage while loading suggested it had originally been designed witha tailwheel.
The IL12B introduced a small dorsal fin while unmodified aircraft became the IL12A. Later aircraft could carry 32 passengers and some were convertible freighters. Some 3,000 were built, 250 civil and the rest as military transoports. Only a handful survive in museums today.
In the late 40s Ilyushin reworked the IL12 to produced a safer and more economical aircraft and the result was the IL14, which first flew in 1950.
Powered by two 1,900 Shvetsov radials, the IL14 was ordered into large scale production for the Soviet air force as the IL14 and for Aeroflot as the IL14P, P standing for Passazhirskii or passenger.
Both models entered service in 1954 but, although the IL14 had more powerful engines than the IL12, it was heavier so could only carry 26 passengers. In 1955 Ilyshin developed the IL14M which had a fueslage lengthened by 1 metre (3ft 3.5in). This allowed 36 passengers to be carried, although 30 was more typical. The IL14G was a specialised freighter.
Licence production was carried out by VEB in East Germany and Avia in Czechoslovakia. Plans for Chinese production came to nothing.
Avia developed other models, including the Avia 14-40 Super of 1960 which had a pressurised fuselage, denoted by its round windows, and seating for 42 passengers. The Czechs built about 120 aircraft, 50 of which were supplied to the USSR. VEB built the IL14P model. Total production was at least 3,700.
The IL14 soldiered on in the USSR until the 1980s and also in other Soviet satellites including Cuba and Vietnam.
Today, a couple of aircraft are potentially airworthy in Russia.