It took me over a week to write this, but the weekend before last, I was hanging out around the house and heard a radial engine flying around. I ran outside and saw a Yak 18T fly over. I decided that if he landed I would drive around and see where he went. After a few circuits he did land and I jumped in the car.
I've liked the Yak 18T from the first time I saw one. It reminds me of a poor mans Spartan Executive, just smaller, chunkier, and well, not as pretty...or fast :). The 18T was a derivative of the Yak 18 which was forerunner of the Yak 52. Basically they took the tandem seat Yak 18 and created a 4 person cabin, beefed up the wings and gear, increased the engine size, etc. It was used primarily as a small transport for Russian military officers as well as a trainer for the military and Aeroflot. One of the coolest things about the design is that it's fully aerobatic (with two on-board).
I almost bought one and had made an offer and a down payment contingient on my being able to get insurance. As it turned out I couldn't get insurance, so I backed out of it. I did get some stick time on the test flight, and other than the fact that it had some severe vibration problems, it was a joy to fly. With four on-board the abundance of power got us off the ground quickly and easily and it climbed very well. And of course it sounded great!
Anyway, back to the visiting Yak. I checked it out inside and out and talked to the owner for quite awhile. He was borrowing my neighbor's hangar for an inspection and we had to jocky my neighbor's three aircraft around to get the Yak in. Of course to make it all more painful, this Yak 18T is for sale, and after selling a few acres of my property I actually have the money in the bank! Unfortunately that money is spoken for, so no Yak for me. I still want to get one though as I think they are very cool.