Soviet Transports Team Русский
A database of more than ninety years of aircraft and helicopter production in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China.
After visiting the Moscow area and travelling around Siberia in the 1990s 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 1980s, 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 1990s, 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, Adrian Morgan, Michael Roch and the late Tony Morris 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 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.
After the first books
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 more Soviet/Russian 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 by then we only listed the civil-registered aircraft.
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 "Soviet Transports", including over 750 pages and more than 80,000 records.
After the 2004 edition was published
The amount of information that became available, like countless historical documents surfaced from dark archives, continuously expanded, causing the volume of data to increase even further, and many more types were added. Also a file of Western-built aircraft and helicopters serving in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China until the 1950s was added. This was expanded with newer types (licence-) built since the millennium. However, Chinese-built Douglas, Embraer, Airbus and Boeing types are not and will not be included.
In 2014 the entire database became available on-line, free of charge, with various search options available, and this was hosted by the Dutch aviation magazine "Scramble". This on-line database is refreshed monthly, and updates are published in the magazine "Scramble" as well on a monthly basis. Gradually over the years more and more complete production lists were available on the OldWings website in PDF format, also free of charge. From January 2019 onwards these files are now hosted on the AirHistory website and will, like before, be refreshed on an annual basis, with the current data still available on the Scramble website.
As such, although no future book will be published, all data is kept up-to-date, much historical info is added on a daily basis, and all available to the public free of charge. Just for your information - a total rundown of all files in early 2021 would equate to a new book exceeding 1900 pages, given it was published in the same format, A4 with a small letter type.
The editorial team will continue to collect information, both current and historical data, and include into the database. By early 2021 the data files included 149,854 records which are ever expanding.
As such we invite everybody to send information by e-mail to , so that we can include it into the database. Please 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 realised step by step from countless individual pieces of data.