“Look, he is handsome, and in the plane the external form is the most important part.”Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev
In 1929 Tupolev was tasked with the construction of a long-range airliners, equipped with 32 seats for the Moscow – Vladivostok route. So, basically, Tupolev put the ANT-9 “on steroids” and came with a five radial-engines, 40.4 meters wingspan and 36 seat configuration giant.
The resulting aircraft was the first Russian all-metal aircraft ever built.
Powered by 5 9-cylinders, radial reciprocating engines, imported from the France manufacturer Gnome et Rhône, Jupiter 9 Akx developing 470 HP and running a two-blade fixed pitch propeller; technically speaking she was capable of flying at a maximum speed of 236 Km/h (147 MPH), up to a ceiling altitude of 4.200 meters (14.000 ft) over a distance of 900 Km (559 Miles). She first flown on August 14th 1931.
A COMMERCIAL LIFE THAT NEVER BEEN
Aeroflot tested the aircraft for several months in 1932, however a slower cruising speed of only 195 Km/h (121 MPH), some design glitches and a higher fuel consumption than anticipated proved the aircraft unsuitable for the cross-Soviet services it was designed for. In addition to this, a highly anticipated peak on flying demand didn’t realised thus convincing Aeroflot that she was simply non-commercial viable.
The aircraft never entered effective production.
A PERFECT SHOWCASE FOR PROPAGANDA
First flying in 1931, stored after the Aeroflot tests in 1932, the biggest aircraft ever built so far was brought to a second life in March 1933.
Soviet Union propaganda squadron “Maxim Gorkiy”, was assigned the duty of operating the aircraft to show the powerful achievement of the Soviet industries. Conveniently renamed “Pravda” to promote the state-owned newspaper, the one and only built ANT-14 flown propagandistic sightseeing flights mainly out of Moscow, Karkov and Leningrad. Up to 40.000 passengers flown the aircraft before she being retired from service in 1941 and sat at Moscow’s Gorkiy Park as a cinema venue.