The Soviet aircraft industry never knew rest, so the aircraft, which yesterday was considered the newest and most reliable, was already being replaced tomorrow with an even more perfect modification. It was this fate that almost befell the legendary An-2 - the head of the design bureau personally took on the design of its "descendant" An-14. Only this time the attempt failed: “Annushka”, as the people affectionately called the An-2, can still be seen in the sky, but almost no one remembers the failed substitute with the no less memorable nickname “Bee”.
The history of this little-known aircraft began in the late fifties of the last century. It was then that Oleg Antonov decided to create a new multipurpose aircraft, which was supposed to replace the An-2. It was the light transport An-14, which was given the apt nickname "Bee". The appearance of the aircraft really justified this name - the car had a short fuselage, long wings and double rudders. But in the NATO codification it is called much less poetically - Clod, which means "Lump" in English.
The "Bee" had a number of useful functions: the ability to take off and land from unprepared unpaved strips, a good carrying capacity - 680 kilograms or 9 passengers, and loading took place effortlessly thanks to a door with a hinged lid. In addition, the aircraft was lifted into the air by two Ivchenko AI-14RF piston radial engines, which made the aircraft flight stable. And skis could be installed on the chassis in the winter season.
Another unconditional advantage of the "Pchelka" was the safety and accessibility of control for pilots of average and low qualification. According to the Novate.ru editors, rumors have spread about this plane that flying on it will not be a problem even for an ordinary Soviet tractor driver or a driver of a large-capacity truck. In total, the An-14 was produced 340 copies, not counting three prototypes, one of which, in particular, made its first flight on March 14, 1957.
The designer Antonov did not stop at the development of only one modification of the "Bee" - there were a little more than a dozen of them. Perhaps the most famous model of all was the An-714, which featured large cushions replacing the wheeled chassis. Thus, this modification was potentially capable of landing anywhere. Development in this direction continued: for example, the An-14Sh model was, in fact, a flying laboratory for testing air-cushion landing gear. True, nothing good came of this venture.
However, the "Bee" itself was unable to withstand the competition of the An-2, which was the first to replace. The reason for this situation lay in the fact that the car was unfinished. Despite all the successful design solutions that were used in it, he could not surpass, but even catch up with "Annushka" in a number of indicators, such as the same carrying capacity.
That is why, after two years of serial production, in 1968, Antonov took the car off the assembly line. True, it was on its basis that the An-28 model was built and put into production, which was an elongated turboprop version of the "Pchelka" and was assembled at the PZL plant in Poland, as well as the AN-38 regional airlines aircraft. But today, few people remember the original planes: most of them were cut into metal long ago, and those that remain, and they do not fly, quietly living out their days at abandoned airfields.
Do you want to know more about the aircraft of the famous Soviet design bureau? Then read: Antonov's children: the best planes of the USSR and Ukraine under the AN brand