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Yakovlev Yak 14

The Soviet Air Force witnessed the introduction of the Yakovlev Yak-14, which held the distinction of being the most substantial assault glider ever utilized in their service.

This remarkable aircraft made its debut in 1949, a period when numerous air forces were relinquishing the notion of gliders.

A significant milestone was achieved in 1950 when a Yak-14 became the inaugural glider to successfully traverse the North Pole.

During World War II, the Soviet Union primarily utilized light gliders such as the Gribovsky G-11, Antonov A-7, and Kolesnikov-Tsybin KC-20.

However, these gliders were not equipped to transport heavy machinery, such as vehicles, light tanks, or artillery.

It was only after the war that Soviet designers were tasked with developing medium gliders capable of carrying substantial and bulky loads.

In 1948, the Soviet Air Forces issued a specification for a large assault glider, specifically required by the VDV, that could accommodate a payload of 3,500 kilograms (7,700 lb).

This payload capacity included the transportation of items like an anti-tank or field gun along with its crew and associated tow vehicle, or alternatively, up to 35 troops.

Despite their limited experience in designing such large aircraft, the Yakovlev design bureau was assigned the responsibility of creating an aircraft that would meet these demanding requirements.

Yakovlev’s design, known as the Yak-14, featured a high-wing monoplane configuration.

The fuselage had a rectangular shape and was constructed using a combination of steel-tube and dural materials, covered with fabric.

In order to facilitate the loading and unloading of cargo, the aircraft’s nose could swing to the right, while the tail section pivoted to the left.

Positioned above the left side of the fuselage, the enclosed cockpit accommodated two pilots who sat side by side.

A display system was provided, utilizing a transmitter in the towing aircraft, which allowed the pilots to visualize the relative positions of both aircraft when flying in clouded conditions.

The wings, composed of dural and fabric, were braced to the fuselage by a single strut on each side.

Notably, the wings were equipped with large, slotted trailing-edge flaps.

The Yak-14 was equipped with a fixed nosewheel undercarriage, which had the capability to “kneel” by releasing air from the pneumatic shock struts.

This feature allowed the fuselage to lower, facilitating the unloading process or enabling the aircraft to perform short landings on belly-mounted skids.

The Yak-14’s first prototype took its inaugural flight in June 1948 from Medvyezhe Ozero, near Omsk.

Following official testing, the design underwent several modifications, including the installation of a large dorsal fin and spoilers to reduce landing runs.

Additionally, the glider’s payload was increased to accommodate an ASU-57 assault gun.

The Yak-14 successfully passed its acceptance trials from August to September 1949, paving the way for mass production later that year.

While some Yak-14s were manufactured at Chkalovsk, the majority were produced at Rostov-on-Don, resulting in a total production of 413 series gliders.

During the 1950s, the Yak-14 played a crucial role in the Soviet Union by providing a means of transporting large loads to remote areas without the need for disassembly.

The Ilyushin Il-12 was commonly used as the towing aircraft for this purpose.

In 1950, one Yak-14 even made a remarkable journey to the North Pole.

Another impressive demonstration of the glider’s versatility occurred in March 1954, when four Yak-14s embarked on a long-distance flight to an ice station located on a drifting ice floe in the Arctic Ocean.

This extraordinary mission involved delivering various supplies, including a substantial bulldozer.

Departing from Tula on March 10, the gliders made several stops at Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, and the Schmidt Cape on Sakhalin island in the Far East, before finally reaching SP-4 in early April amidst severe freezing conditions.

In the early 1950s, a few Yak-14 gliders were also supplied to Czechoslovakia, where they were designated as NK-14.

However, as the late 1950s approached, the Soviet Air Force gradually phased out the use of transport gliders with the introduction of more advanced turboprop transports such as the Antonov An-24 and Antonov An-12.

These new aircraft provided enhanced capabilities and ultimately replaced the Yak-14 in service.

Basic production variant.
Increased payload version built from 1951.

(Nakladni kluzak – cargo glider)
Yak-14s delivered to Czechoslovakia.
18.44 m (60 ft 6 in)
26.17 m (85 ft 10 in)
Wing area
83.35 m2 (897.2 sq ft)
Empty weight
3,082 kg (6,795 lb)
Gross weight
6,750 kg (14,881 lb)
Maximum speed
300 km/h (190 mph, 160 kn)
(Maximum towing speed)
Cruise speed
145 km/h (90 mph, 78 kn)
(Optimum gliding speed)
Yakovlev Aircraft Since 1924 – Bill Gunston & Yefim Gordon.
OKB Yakovlev, A History Of The Design Bureau And Its Aircraft-Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy Komissarov & Sergey Komissarov.
Soviet Aircrafts Illustrated-A.S.Yakovlev.
The History of Soviet Aircraft from 1918-Vaclav Nemecek.
Soviet AF Fighter Colours 1941-45-Erik Pilaeskii.
Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War, Vol 1, Single Engined Fighters-Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov.

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