Yakovlev Yak 18 "Max"


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The Yak 18 was the primary trainer for generations of Russian, Chinese and other fliers around the world. The airplane was also a major influence on the world of competitive aerobatics. Used by North Korean forces during the Korean conflict. Nickname, "Bedcheck Charlie."

Collection Item Long Description:

A member of the second generation of Russian aircraft designers, and best known for fighter designs, Aleksandr S. Yakovlev always retained a light aircraft design section. In May 1945, Yakovlev initiated the design of the Yak-18 two-seat primary trainer. He designed it to replace the earlier Yakovlev UT-2 and Yak-5 in service with the Soviet Air Forces and DOSAAF (Voluntary Society for Collaboration with the Army, Air Force and Navy, which sponsored aeronautics clubs throughout the USSR. The new aircraft flew a year later, powered by a Shvetsov M-11 five-cylinder radial engine and featuring a retractable tailwheel landing gear. The design proved exceptionally easy to build and maintain, and it continues in production today, 55 years later, in two of its many variants, the four-seat Yak-18T and two-seat Yak-54. The Yak-18 became the standard trainer for Air Forces flying schools and DOSAAF, is in wide use in China, and many other nations have used it.

In the 1960s and 1970s, modified Yak-18s ruled the world of competitive international aerobatics. It was progressively upgraded with more powerful engines, a tricycle landing gear, and with more modern materials replacing the original fabric and steel tubing construction. Nearly 11,000 Yak-18s have been produced in some 11 variants at factories in Arsenyev, Kharkov and Saratov (Russia), Bacau (Romania) and China.

The U.S. Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, donated this Yak-18 to the National Air and Space Museum on July 13, 1960. The aircraft bears construction number 59, but no production or early service details are known. It participated in a 16-17 June 1953 "Bedcheck Charlie" night raid on Inchon, Korea, which resulted in the destruction of a 5-million-gallon gasoline dump. In late 1954, two North Korean pilots defected to South Korea aboard this Yak-18. The Air Force displayed the aircraft for several months before the U.S. Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson acquired it in August 1955. Assigned to ATIC's 1125th Field Activities Group, it was given tail number 47-715, painted with U.S. Army insignia, and designated "T-10G." The ATIC conducted flight tests from October 1955 to July 1957, and the Yak accumulated 110 flight hours. ATIC transferred it to the U. S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, and the museum displayed it with North Korean markings before transferring the airplane to NASM on 8 June 1960.

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from the United States Air Force Museum.


Fuselage: metal basic structure with metal covering back to the rear cockpit, then fabric covered (including the tail).


  • Overall: 84in., 1665lb. (213.4cm, 755.2kg)
  • Other: 7ft x 26ft 6in. x 33ft 9in. (2.134m x 8.077m x 10.287m)

Country of Origin

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics



Physical Description

  • 2-seat tandem, low-wing, monoplane, advanced trainer. Olive green with red stars.
  • Wingspan: 33' 9.5"
  • Length: 26' 5.5"
  • Height: 7' 0"
  • Weight: 1,665 Lbs (empty)



Inventory Number


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