After visiting the Moscow area and travelling around Siberia in the early nineties, and realising that detailed knowledge of the aviation scene in the massive USSR was at best limited and, in some areas, virtually non-existent, Stuart Jessup and Guus Ottenhof decided that the time was ripe to research and attempt to compile and publish a book dealing with aircraft manufacture in the former Soviet Union. Peter Hillman was approached, having already produced two volumes of the books "Soviet Airliners" in the eighties, so with a team of three, the first book of this kind, titled "Soviet Transports" saw the light of day in early 1994.
In these interesting early nineties, when travelling to the CIS became possible, more people were delving into the aviation history behind what once was the 'Iron Curtain'. By this time Tony Morris, Adrian Morgan and Michael Roch provided so much help and expertise that they also were invited to join the team, thus increasing the editorial team from a triumvirate to a six-member group.
Our aims have always been to bring to light an area of aviation, previously undocumented, that, in our opinion, warranted an in-depth, serious research and merited far greater public knowledge as, since the beginnings of flight, the people in the former Soviet Union working in aviation, the designers, engineers, flight crews etc., are in our opinion among the best in the world.
Over the previous years we have received a wealth of data, mainly from official sources. Many CIS, governmental and commercial, organisations supplied a lot of data and background information, as such clarifying much about aircraft production within the former Soviet Union. Even the official aircraft registers of the Soviet Union since the late 1950s became available and as such could be included.
The aviation industry showed a remarkable interest in the previous editions of Soviet Transports, coming up with new data in response and allowing several interesting relationships to start between the industry and the enthusiast. Apart from this, an increasing number of register and design bureaux as well as Air Forces from various countries were willing to co-operate with us and supplied much official data. However, naturally the enthusiast world was again responsible for most sightings and many details regarding colour schemes, titles and condition of aircraft gathered on countless trips and reported in many airport movements.
As more information came to light we were able to include in the 2004 edition several Soviet-built types like the An-148, Be-6/10/12/103, Ka-15/18/22/25/60, Kazan Ansat, Mi-34, Tekhnoavia SM-92 and Ekranoplans (WIG craft). Of the IL-28, Myasishchev 3M and Tu-16/95 we only list the civil registered aircraft. Also we have always considered it correct to include non-Soviet built types that have been, or still are being used, as well as copies of various designs that were produced in China.
Over all this project of collecting and preserving production data and individual aircraft histories has steadily evolved, resulting by July 2004 in the much expanded fourth edition of:
The types included in our realm of interest and thus given room in the 2004 edition are:
After the 2004 edition was published, the editors did not take a rest, and by 2006 the team again expanded when Erik Sleutelberg and Kevin Widdowson joined in making it a group of eight people of whom more than half also professionally work in aviation.
The amount of information that became available, like countless historical documents surfaced from dark archives, continuously expanded, causing the volume of data available to increase even further, and more types were added, including the Aero 45/145, Harbin Z6/Z7, Khrunichev T-440, PZL M-20/SW-4, Shaanxi Y9, Shanghai Y10, Xian MA60 and Yakovlev Yak-12 (PZL-101).
As of late December 2008, the Soviet Transports team was able to make all data from the book, including all of the later updates, available in an online database. This database contains over 128,000 records, and is fully searchable.
In addition to this database, various production lists for some of the older aircraft types and register files have been made available for download by the Soviet Transports team, free of charge.
The editorial team will continue to collect information and historical data and include this into the database. As such we invite everybody to send information by e-mail to , so that we can include this into the database. Keep in mind, even the smallest snippet can add to what we have and this, the world’s biggest published database on this subject, was realized step by step from countless individual pieces of data.
This page hosted on behalf of the Soviet Transports editorial team.
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