Way back in the mid 50s, Aeroflot was in need of a small twin-engined short-range aircraft to carry 5-6 passengers or a 500Kg of freight to be used in the airport-to-city shuttle service The type was also designed to be suitable for hire, agriculture, medical service and the training of pilots on twin-engine type. I was also expected to be a low-maintenance STOL and with slow-flying properties and take-off and landing on rough ground.
The project was entrusted to the Design Office of O.K. Antonov and the team. The ensuing aircraft, the An-14 which was an all-metal and stressed-skin monocoque construction, a braced twin-engine Ivchenko AL-14 twin type blade airscrew, and a high wing design type with a twin tail unit.
After flight testing on the prototype in March 1958, prior to series production of the aircraft it was decided to use AL-14 RF engines with adjustable 3-bladed propeller and a wider wing span was adopted with slats and flap system designed to provide STOL properties. Other alterations were made to the nose and the vertical tail surfaces took a rectangular shape.
The aircraft was provided with various equipment to adopt for different missions. Cabin can be used to transport cargo or hold stretchers or can be adopted for crop spraying for use in agricultural and forestry as well as flying fire brigade and other devices used in exploration and aerial surveying.
The aircraft went into serial production in 1966 and was subsequently used mainly as a passenger aircraft. The Air Forces of the USSR and those of what was East Germany, before the unification, used it for military purposes, i.e. transport of couriers and staff members. While the An-14 was phased out gradually, an improved model An-14m was introduced and was equipped with PTL engines.
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Make: Plasticart Modellbaukasten
Name of kit: Antonov An-14. 'The Little bee'
Cost: 4 Euro
Type: injection molded with three decal options
The model is injected in white styrene having surface detail some of which was raised form. The clear canopy comes in two pieces and the loading door at rear can be assembled open or closed. Areas are indicated in the instructions where it is best to add weight to the forward fuselage since it is a tricycle type and should not come in the way with the cabin interior seating arrangement. There are three decal options and these are a Russian AF (110) in olive green and mid blue finish, a GDR (996) finished in two tone disruptive camouflage of dark green and khaki brown top and sky blue under
surfaces and finally a civilian type (registered CCCP-81550) finished in overall aluminium, white fuselage top, and red and blue fuselage trim.
I find aircraft of the small to medium transport/utility type interesting and that those that fall in this range are more often than not neglected by mainstream manufacturers. Main reason is that they may not be as appealing as combat types normally sought by model enthusiasts and by manufacturers for respective reasons. Aircraft types that fall in this category are such type as the Pembroke, Twin Pioneer, Skyvan, Otter, Twin Otter, Arava, Casa 212 etc some of which are issued in injected form while others are vacuum moulded. The Antonov An-14 supplied by Plasticart is another such type and can be used for a variety of roles.
The An-14 kit issue was a surprise to find it in one of our local shops. With the understanding that no model collection is complete if aircraft of this type is not included I went for this kit. The result was that this was one of the better kits that have been my pleasure to put together for some time in spite of its age on it. The fully enclosed passenger interior has three individual seating arrangements and two for the crew compartment. The aircraft has a long wing span relative to the overall length. The two radial engines complete with three bladed propellers are nicely produced. The modeler may choose to represent it as a light transport type and has option to leave the rear two-part cargo door open or closed. If these are assembled open there is adequate cargo space visible sighting from the rear. The quality of moulding on this kit is not of the fineness that we are used to today and even the styrene was somewhat brittle however dimension wise the kit appears good. Only a smidgen of filler is all that was needed to the fuselage seam and wing root joints and it was an easy to build model.