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.