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Author Topic: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation  (Read 3444 times)

Offline Troxartas86

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Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« on: February 11, 2014, 05:06:45 AM »
Hi folks, you might remember me from my infamous somewhat successful attempt to use exclusively Soviet planes in the Soviet Union for the entirety of a DoTM scenario. There were some major struggles including a $100 million loan I needed to get me through the 80's and various mistakes on my part but somehow I never BKed. Through it all a rag-tag team of outcasts and dreamers backed me up with the Red Star Alliance. I finished with 54 Il-114s, 21 Tu-134s (including one of my day one planes), 9 Tu-154s and 55 Yak-42Ds. My Tupolevs were all twenty years old and yet they endured in modern fuel prices.

Anyway, I am at it again with the same rules, I must base in the USSR and use only Soviet aircraft. My first goal was to survive the entire game but that has already been a failure due to the severe limitation of new-built Il-12s being my only legal option and stiff competition in Moscow. I had used the Il-12 successfully before in East Germany so I thought it would be worth a shot but with five planes I never once generated a profit in over a year at Vnukovo despite beating my competitors to the air by several months and locking up all the best slots early on. It occurred to me that in the GDR I had much shorter flights available and absolutely zero competition so after thorough scouting, I've moved to Kiev where there are a lot more options for the sub-300NM market.

This time I started with a more conservative order of 3 aircraft and made sure to cram four flights into all their schedules with all but one flight under 300NM. This contrasts with Moscow where nearly every flight was over 300NM, had as many as four competitors and many even put me below 21 seats available due to range. Given an environment much more suitable to their weaknesses, the Il-12s are now turning a modest profit as I approach the six month mark. I would much rather have waited around for something better to come along but I can't risk giving up my coveted spot in this round, I would never get back in, so I must get by for a few years with one of the worst planes in the game.

Of course this is still right up my alley, proving that even an aircraft with all the disadvantages of the Il-12 can still function under the right conditions. If anything, all these limitations help me to be patient in these lean early years. One of the biggest problems with my first effort was over-ambition such as when I paid cash for some Tu-154s and tried to tech-stop my way to Vladivostok. In the end I never did reach the far-east from Moscow but I did build my completely detached final base in Vladivostok as a retirement home for my oldest Tu-134s.

I conclude this introductory post with a very minor complaint as far as Soviet planes go in these new longer formats. I understand that the slightly randomized launch dates for aircraft pushed the Il-12 up very close to the starting date but with thousands ultimately produced in the real world, there ought to have been some on the used market. I know very well that I am the only customer but not having to buy the things new would have been very helpful while my profit margins remain so narrow. Also, if not the Il-12, there should have been thousands of Li-2s, the Soviet DC-3 knockoff available on the cheap while I wait for more viable planes to come around. Next time around I may just use DC-3s the first five years with the consent of the community; there would still be a few of those lying around license-built in the USSR during the war.

In short, Il-12s are in fact viable provided you can fill them and stick to very short flights. Stay tuned for further nonsense as the game progresses. I know I will have some big choices up ahead as far as what fleet types to go with.

Offline CUR$E - God of AirwaySim

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 06:18:42 AM »
Actually (early) Soviet aircraft were always a good catch. Tu-104(B) and Tu-114 for example. What broke all of them the neck is the extremely slow production line, my last Tu-114 attempt gave me 1 aircraft every 3 month with a total order backlog of 200+.


However, I observe your airlines since your last test and I wish you good luck with your current one. ;)

Offline chiveicrook

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 10:24:01 AM »
Hello fellow Comrade   :P
My first 5 year plan allowed the use of damned capitalistic C46s but later on I shall fully support your cause ;)

Unfortunately, because of Vnukovo's mis-implementation in AWS, USSR has no major airport until Sheremetyevo :(
It would be nice to have Sheremetyevo's demand and/or Domodedovo's demand in Vnukovo until they open, wouldn't it?

I will resume my tech. data updates on Soviet planes soon too :)

Offline pndsc

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 09:41:45 PM »
The one thing I've always been disappointed by in AWS is the poor performance of russian planes which apart from anything else are massively vulnerable to fuel price spikes. I've tried airlines made of Tu134/154 that got absolutely slaughtered on the price of fuel and making a 154/204 airline got slaughtered on fuel and turnaround times.

The only success I've had was making a european regional empire based in Norway made out of SSJ 70s and 95's. That was pretty damn fun.

Are you going to team up with Frank again? His press releases are the best.

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2014, 09:53:36 PM »
I have placed a probably ill-advised order for two Il-14Ps that will have to be stretched to their range limits. Otherwise I don't see any real opportunities for expansion for another three or four years when the good planes start getting delivered. Having considerable successful experience with the EMB-120 I think the 30-seat 14 should be just fine approaching the 500NM range. The Il-12 however, I have found should never be taken beyond 400NM and over 350NM is a risk if you can't fill the plane due to competition or low demand. They might show profit in those circumstances but are unable to cover the additional expenses. I was able to get my 8th aircraft a little cheaper on the used market but with every flight over 350NM, it is probably going to be a drain on revenue until RI goes up.

I paid back my loan last year so I'm financially sound enough to fool around a bit while waiting for the next generation of superior Soviet technology. I'd also like to give a shout out to my East German comrades for ordering the Baade 152. I had actually set up an airline in East Berlin myself in a prior scenario with the sole intention of testing the 152 and trying to fly them as long as possible but it never came about because Sami forgot to turn on prototypes. It was not a total loss though as I gained valuable knowledge on the Il-12/14 which I am now putting to good use.

Offline Sanabas

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2014, 10:38:40 PM »
I invited the Japanese to join me with the NAMC. Tu-114 + NAMC + IL-18 = much profit.

Offline tcrlaf

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 05:17:58 AM »
You're cool with the C-46's.

At least 3 were delivered to the Soviets through Lend-Lease, while several others got left behind as pilot transports in various areas of the Eastern USSR. In addition, several were delivered by the British, as well, through Murmansk and Tehran.

In post-war Soviet propaganda, they never mention the Western aircraft as being a HUGE part of the Soviet War effort, when in fact they made up as much as half of Soviet Air Power.

This is a just a short-list of Lend-Lease actually delivered (not lost in transit).
P-39 Airacobra 4952
 P-63 Kingcobra 2400
 P-40 Tomahawk and Warhawk (in Russia called Kittyhawk) 2397 (part of which redirected from UK)
 P-47 Thunderbolt 195
 Hurricane 2952
 Spitfire 1351
 A-20 Havoc 2908 (including "Boston III" aircraft redirected from UK)
 B-25 Mitchell 862

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 04:09:22 AM »
The case for the Il-14M:

In a few months I will be launching the Il-14M which will replace my five remaining Il-12s. I think a lot of people, even weird aircraft enthusiasts like myself, are frightened off by the official range of 230NM which is almost half that of the Il-12 and the Il-14P. However, at 28 Standard Y configuration, the range of the 14M increases to 490NM with the same fuel efficiency of the 14P. I've found that in its standard 34 HD Y configuration, while the range is in fact 230NM fully loaded it can still carry more pax than the other two aircraft in the series up to around 360NM (31pax). 

As none of these planes should really be flown much beyond 4-500NM anyway, I feel the Il-14M actually has superior revenue potential overall. I'm using the Il-14P only to pick up the handful of longer routes on my schedule as it overtakes the M as far as maximum seating after 360NM.

My initial orders of both Il-14 types are set up with Standard seating for now as demand is still too low but as it increases I will be adding seats, hopefully to the point of filling all 34 seats on the shorter routes. Having had extensive experience with the 30-seat EMB-120, I feel that I could potentially keep my Il-14s for years to come although I may eventually swap them out for Antonovs down the line depending on when they arrive and demand at that moment.

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 08:19:43 PM »
It's been a while since my last update. Since then I have opened two small bases just to keep the Il-14 lines open and to keep up a good rate of expansion. I have also slowly built up a fleet of Tu-104s to pick up growing medium-long range demand. The 104s are a lot less lucrative than I remember them being in the past but RI still has a ways to go on several routes. Seems like they do make some money even at maximum range(1500NM+) which is a little surprising, my last effort at a Soviet airline having nearly collapsed when I tried to reach Siberia. The C-Checks on these things are absolutely brutal but I get nice tax returns out of the deal. Convenient time zones are helping me to really maximize utilization with overnight flights to points east.

I find the An-10, Tu-114 and Il-18 very tempting but they simply do not have much application out of secondary Soviet airports. I doubt there is even much use for them in Moscow until the bigger airports finally open so they will have to wait. Down the line I envision An-24/26s replacing the Il-14s and my favorite Tu-134s replacing any jets and hanging on all the way into the 90's. Although I do beleive it's entirely possible to keep the Il-14s flying profitably for decades. I'm trying to stick to two fleet types for the next decade or so but I am always tempted to test out the really unpopular Russian birds. I'd love to fly some Tu-110s for example but the fuel burn is so insanely ridiculous that I'm convinced you would have to have a lot of them and keep them full to have any chance of not BKing yourself immediately.

If anyone is using any of these misunderstood birds, especially the ones I can't find room for, I'd love to hear from you.

Offline pndsc

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2014, 02:04:23 PM »
My ears p***ed up a bit reading that - so with the new taxation system, has the situation changed for russian aircraft from the expensive maintenance checks crippling your airline to actually being a bit of a boon? Might make them a more viable choice in the future.

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2014, 08:23:14 PM »
My ears p***ed up a bit reading that - so with the new taxation system, has the situation changed for russian aircraft from the expensive maintenance checks crippling your airline to actually being a bit of a boon? Might make them a more viable choice in the future.

Those C Checks alone aren't enough to make big returns happen but they definitely contributed to the $700k I got last January. I also opened a new base and had constant aircraft orders. This year I haven't really spent as much and when I did it was to direct purchase planes so I will probably owe money.

Offline chiveicrook

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2014, 08:37:06 PM »
Looking at my airline I can say that (some) Soviet birds are damn profitable*. I'm flying exclusively Il-14s and Il-18s and consistently score over 25% profit margins. Moreover, I'm flying the worst possible variant of Il-18 - A - and some of them earn up to 80k per week with only 2 routes per day.

*<shameless plug>most notably those that I bugreported personally ^^ </shameless plug>
« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 09:19:06 PM by chiveicrook »

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2014, 12:38:57 AM »
I was doing a lot of traveling (on the ground) over the last week so my airline simply piled up money while patiently awaiting my return. I decided to spend most of it on testing out the seemingly completely unappealing Tu-124 with a direct-purchase launch customer order so that I can pull them quickly if things go wrong.

These will be replacing my Tu-104As on the shorter routes. While the 124 has less than half the range of the 104, it burns a lot less fuel, is slightly faster, has shorter turn-arounds and as a medium aircraft it requires a lot fewer pilots who will take almost half the pay of their large aircraft counterparts. Add in the fact that I won't be paying any leasing costs and these birds should significantly improve my bottom line. All this at the cost of losing just 4 seats that I wasn't really selling on the routes in question anyway.

If you have a lot of shorter routes in the 40-60pax range, I think the Tu-124 just might actually be the perfect jet for you at this early stage. On paper it looks like it really should be able to compete with all the other smaller jets currently in use with a major advantage in operating costs.

Offline Teadaze

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2014, 01:01:56 AM »
there is an airline in china that is using pure soviet aircraft and doing very well:

http://www.airwaysim.com/game/Info/Airline/View/192/141/#AirlineInfo
deng's pride

I don't know if he plan to continue using soviet in the future(as competition may get fierce in china) but i def think they are very viable in early stage.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 01:05:59 AM by Aoitsuki »

Offline chiveicrook

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2014, 01:06:23 PM »
there is an airline in china that is using pure soviet aircraft and doing very well:

http://www.airwaysim.com/game/Info/Airline/View/192/141/#AirlineInfo
deng's pride

I don't know if he plan to continue using soviet in the future(as competition may get fierce in china) but i def think they are very viable in early stage.

Greetings from Xian Xianyang ;)

I started in a 2nd tier Chinese airport with a sole purpose of flying Soviet and later maybe Chinese aircraft throughout the game. To my surprise I practically had no competition at all - with the exception of poor fella from ZUCK who bankrupted not even a year after I'd opened a base there. This allowed me to maintain ~30% profit margins from day 1 with Ilyushins even though I'm lazy and my fleet utilization is a mere 12 hour/day.
I know what I'll be flying through 60s and 70s but 80s will be a challenge with rather limited choices...

This GW was quite harsh for early Soviet designs. Il-12 and 14 were pushed really late and Tu-104 appeared too late to outshine early Comets (Tu-104 was arguably the first* jet to operate successfully in real world ;) ). Fortunately Il-18 appeared just in time.


*Some call Comets a success anyway..

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2014, 08:18:10 PM »
I'm currently debating whether or not to hang onto my Il-14s or replace them with gas-guzzling An-24s. Either way I am looking at D Checks for most of the 14Ps. I firmly beleive that the Il-14 will remain perfectly viable for decades to come and I'd love to prove that but at the same time being based in the Ukrainian SSR I am under pressure to order Antonovs. The demand for a larger aircraft isn't really there though and the expenses are much higher. I could just wait for the An-26 or even the tiny oft-ignored 28 but I really hate to see production lines going unused. That was nearly my downfall in my first Soviet go-round as I tried to order the various types of Tu-154 despite not having much use for them (DO NOT tech stop those things!). There's also a chance down the line that I end up using almost exclusively Tu-134s for a while if demand continues its gradual rise. I had 134s in action for all thirty years last time, laughing in the face of fuel spikes.

Meanwhile, I now have four Tu-124s up and running and they are doing very well. I have even found a little niche for a bit of expansion with them in my secondary bases. Demand has gone up enough for reasonable LFs on some routes that are beyond the range of the Il-14s but not quite big enough for the Tu-104.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 08:24:56 PM by Troxartas86 »

Offline chiveicrook

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2014, 10:04:20 AM »
Hello fellow Comrades!

Deng's Pride is proud   :P  to announce the acquisition of 50 Yak-40 airframes for, fully prepaid, 63 million dollars. Our agreement with Yakovlev allowed for a significant exclusive discount which reduced the price to 1.26 million per plane. These little birds will begin replacing my Il-14s in 1969.

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2014, 05:01:52 PM »
Best of luck comrade! That one should be a real challenge. My own plans have been kind of derailed by the abrupt shutdown of the Tu-124 line but I think I got enough of them to prove viability. They all make a healthy 30-50k a week, even the one I leased for comparison.

As for my Il-14s, I've managed to add a few and presently intend to keep them flying for years to come. Replacing the Tu-104 with something more efficient is the higher priority for me although I also intend to pick up some Antonovs without a particular mission for them in mind.

Offline Troxartas86

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2014, 07:41:19 PM »
First update in a very very long time. Obviously I'm still here and still making profits.  ;D Anyway, for those of you who didn't notice in other threads that little spike of triple-digit fuel costs that Sami surprised us with nearly killed me but by maxing out my credit I was able to quickly get rid of my entire fleet of Tu-104s in short order. MyTu-124s continued to arrive and managed to break even through the crisis before settling down to become decently profitable into the present. Not wanting to give up some of my longer Tu-104 flights such as the lucrative Tashkent run, I also used my loans to acquire some Il-18s. My thinking was that with excellent fuel efficiency and pretty good speed for a turboprop, these would make a good replacement for my Tu-104s. That turned out to be a mistake as their turn-around times, operating costs and personnel costs coupled with an inability to compete with smaller aircraft have made me wonder if they ever actually made me money. At least one was posting weekly losses and with just seven aircraft, commonality was not worth it. As for the An-24s, I was only able to build ten before the crisis, never flew them and have been slowly selling them off along with the occasional lease out to a short-lived newbie. I have just three left. This meant I was also unable to launch the An-26 and that makes me kind of sad, I had a good run with them once before.

My beloved Tu-134As have finally arrived and I am now in the process of using them to completely phase out the Tu-124s (complete) and the Il-18s in an effort to cut costs and streamline commonality. This aircraft was the backbone of my last Soviet survival effort and I had them in my fleet for the complete duration of the scenario from the early 70's into the 2000's flying profitably. I did look at the basic Tu-134 for longer range routes but decided that a 134A with fewer seats would be able to do it cheaper.

My original Il-14s are all still going strong and I still believe I could keep them going forever if I really wanted to but I will begin chipping away at them with Tu-134As where possible as well. The remainder will most likely be replaced by the laughable An-28 because I owe it to Antonov as a Ukrainian airline and I have always wanted to give those things a shot. If they can at least break even, they have the added bonus of having full commonality with their 1990's replacement the far more reasonable An-38.

The ultimate goal here is to cut things down to just two fleet types to maximize revenues over the next decade or two. Far down the line I will be entertaining the Tu-154 but there are a lot of options for that type, each significantly better than its predecessor, and it is best that I wait until closer to the fall of the USSR when I expect to have numerous international flights to use them for. I had a handful of various 154s in my first effort but couldn't get enough of them to really get a feel for it. Unless I set up a temporary 4th base somewhere in Russia proper, there isn't much point to acquiring larger aircraft at this time. Next time I start a long world from the beginning, I promise to finally try some Il-62s and all the other things I've talked about but never actually done.

Offline pndsc

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Re: Misadventures in Soviet Aviation
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2014, 10:54:15 PM »
Thought I'd chime in here and ask a question or two of you about your setup in Game World 1. You've gone for the IL-114 en mass but I note that you've not set up in Russia as normal, you've gone with setting up in Australia.

I looked at the 114 before I decided to grab a bunch of Antonov 140s when they roll off the line in about a year or so. How are the 114s compared to the ATR series? I might use them in the next game world I play but I'm a bit concerned about their costs.


 

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