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APRIL 2008












LOOP Features



The Yak 18T is a very flexible, rewarding aircraft and great value for money. But you need to know its catches to stay out of trouble.

Many people are wary of Russian machinery and with good reason; a lot of it is rubbish. But this is certainly not true of its sport aircraft and one of the best examples is the Yak 18T. With the support of companies such as West London Aero Club and Yak UK, a good 18T is a sound investment.

The type is highly capable too. With standard tanks (180 litres giving three hours cruise plus reserve) you can take off with full fuel, four large people plus baggage and you're still within the weight and balance limits. Two up, the 18T is fully aerobatic and has inverted fuel, but strangely inverted oil is an option.

If you're a real hooligan, you can have the 400hp version (up from the standard 360hp due to a more powerful supercharger) with the MT three-blade prop. Combined with long range tanks (tip tanks, baggage bay tank, or enlarged wing tanks) and a comprehensive Western avionics fit, you've got a mini airliner.
You can get a good one for £40,000 and a lovely one for £75,000. The Hungarians have fully certificated the type so you can go on the HA reg and base one anywhere in Europe.

They're great to fly, but the average pilot coming off Western types needs 5-6 hours of training to be safe.

The 18T is a four-seater, but it's a BIG four-seater and this becomes apparent as you approach it. To reach the cockpit, you have to stand on the wing and there's a nice, chunky step under the trailing edge and a big handle on the side of the fuselage to aid your progress. However, don't be fooled by the 'high friction' walkway next to the door - it ain't, particularly if it's damp.

Most Russian sport aircraft have the venerable Vedeneyev M14 radial engine and if you look after it, it will look after you. Before starting, you must turn the prop by hand to clear any hydraulic locks caused by oil draining into the lower cylinders. If you don't, the engine can be damaged on start up and that damage might not become apparent till you are at a few hundred feet on climb out.

The oil temperature and cylinder head temperature have to be controlled by the pilot and the one to watch closely is the latter. It can change very quickly, particularly when going from a descent to climb. Take off with the cooling slats closed and you'll fry the engine in two minutes flat.

It can get busy in the circuit with temperatures to control, wheels to be raised and lowered, propeller pitch to be selected and a higher speed than most other traffic. One of the most common accidents in Yaks is a wheels up landing. It often occurs after something unexpected happens downwind - runway change or getting near another aircraft for example - and the downwind checks are disrupted.

When I'm flying with a pilot new to Yaks, I can sometimes make them forget the gear by being deliberately distracting downwind. I then point it out on final, hoping that the shock prevents it happening for real.

The engine burns about 50 litres of fuel an hour in the cruise at 120kt, but don't forget it also burns 1 litre of oil an hour. If you do aeros, you can set the rpm to 82% (maximum continuous) and the boost to full. The engine will look after itself through virtually all manoeuvres, but it'll use a lot more than 50 litres an hour of fuel! Don't get carried away chucking it round the sky and then find you haven't got the fuel to get home.

The yoke isn't as nice as a stick for aeros, but the aircraft's a joy to fly and produces big shapes in the sky. But be very careful doing anything low because the 18 can use a lot of sky. For spinning, I won't take anything less than 6000ft agl on entry.

You can be very safe in an 18T. There are windows in the roof, 4- or 5- point harnesses, room to wear flying helmets, seat buckets that take sit-on parachutes and quick release doors.

The seats are quite hard and not that comfortable for a long flight, but then if you do get a numb bum, you can always roll inverted for a minute or so and have a good pummel. Now how many four-seat tourers can you do that in? - Ian Parker


Vne 194kt
Cruise Speed @ xx% 124kt
Stall Speed 59kt
Takeoff distance 370m
Landing roll 350m
Rate of Climb xxxft/min
Ceiling 12,180ft
Fuel consumption @75% xx litres/hr
Cruise Range 324nm
Aerobatic load factors +6.4g-3.2g
Power Ivchenko Vedeneyev 9 cylinder radial M14P, 360hp or M14PF, 400hp
Propellers MTV-9 3-blade constant-speed
Length 8.35m
Height 3.4m
Wingspan 11.16m
Wing aera xxxm2
Seats 4
Empty weight 1247kg
Maximum takeoff weight 1750kg
Max load 503kg
Fuel capacity 195 litres
Price Approx £50,000 - 70,000
Smolensk Aviation Plant Company
Ulitsa Frunze, 74
214006 Smolensk
T: 00 11 7-081-00 2-05-29

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Uk Distributor
Richard Goode Aerobatics
Rhodds Farm
Herefordshire HR5 3LW
T: 01544 340 120

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<May 2008>
Aeros with Alan – Opening your Personal Flight Envelope
Learning aerobatics is a great motivational tool for improving your flying.
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