Y-12 Yunshuji-12 (Transport aircraft 12)
The Harbin Aircraft Factory launched another general purpose aircraft development program-Y-12 after the Y-11 program. The Y-12 was powered by two PT6A-11 turboprops made in Canada and its performance was significantly improved. The Y-12, produced by the China Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (HAMC), is a light multipurpose aircraft with fixed wing and twin propeller engines. It has excellent short taking-off and landing performance with low-level requirement for runway, and is also easily maintained and endurable. The Y-12 is a turboprop powered development and has been built in greater numbers than the Y-11. Work on a turboprop powered Y-11 began in the early 1980s, and a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A powered and enlarged cabin Y-12 prototype (previously the Y-11T) flew for the first time on August 16 1984. Current production is of the Y-12-II, while the further improved Y-12-IV was granted US certification in March 1995.
The Y-12 has obtained airworthiness certificates in a dozen countries including China, the U.S., Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. From 1993 through 2001, China had exported 24 Y-12 aircraft to six African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Mauritania and Eritrea. As of 2001 China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) had received orders for 128 such aircraft from 18 countries including the Sudan, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Cuba and Bolivia.
Y-12 could be configured differently to meet various requirements from users and be used for such purposes as for passenger or cargo transportation, parachute jumping, seed or insecticide spreading, aerial photography, emergency rescue, maritime surveillance, among others.
- Y-12 (I) was the initial version (first flight 14 July 1982), with PT6A-11 engines; three prototypes and approximately 30 production examples built. The Y-12I was developed to meet the geological sectors' need of high precision and large scale mineral exploration. Lu Kairen was appointed chief designer. The version was designed in accordance with the standards of internationally accepted airworthiness regulations and a system of Designated Engineering Representative (DER) was used in its development. In addition a great number of tests which had never been carried out before in our country were conducted, such as fire-resistant test of the power plant system, climatic test of the fuel system, rain ingestion test of the engine, electromagnetic compatibility test, etc. Three Y-12Is were produced in first batch. The static test was completed in July 1982 and first flight was made on July 14. To test its operational performance, a geological survey flight was made over the Hebei plain in February 1984. Its low altitude flying was steady and its endurance, rate of climb and fuel consumption, etc., were all in conformity with the requirement. The geological prospecting was carried out over the Inner Mongolia plateau in September of the same year. Over 90 per cent survey routes were qualified and the quality of operation was up to the standard. To this point the Y-12I had completed all flight tests and the accumulated flying hours had reached 724. After the Y-12I was jointly certificated by the MAI and the Ministry of Geology and Mining Industry in December of the same year it began to enter into service.
- Y-12 (II) is the major production version; higher-rated engines, no leading-edge slats and smaller ventral fin. Certified by CAAC 25 December 1985 and UK CAA (BCAR Section K) 20 June 1990. The Y-12II is a passenger version with 17 seats in the cabin and has two higher rated Canadian PT6A-27 engines. After retrofitting of the interior and the air condition system in Hong Kong from May to August in 1985 cabin noise was reduced, cabin temperature was automatically controlled and fire-retardant materials were used inside the cabin and, therefore, the Y-12II had come up to the standards of international airworthiness regulations. In December of the same year the CAAC awarded Type Certificate to the Y-12II.
- Y-12 (III) was a planned version to be fitted with WJ-9 turboprop. Evolved to Y-12C because of IV's success when WJ-9 development was completed.
- Y-12 (IV) is an improved version with sweptback wingtips; modifications to control surface actuation, main gear and brakes; redesigned seating for 18 to 19 passengers; starboard side rear baggage door; maximum payload and maximum T-O weight increased. Further changes include Rockwell Collins or Honeywell com/nav for both VFR and IFR, plus optional colour weather radar, GPS, Omega navigation, wing and tail de-icing, and oxygen system. Domestic certification received 3 July 1994 and FAR Pt 23 approval on 26 March 1995; Indonesian certification 16 November 2000. Sichuan Airlines order for 20 (7 November 2000) assumed to be of this version.
- Y-12C a (IV) version with WJ-9 turboprop, now used by PLAAF for aerial survey.
- Y-12E with 18 passenger seats. PT6A-135A engines of equal horsepower but increased torque driving four-bladed propellers.
- Y-12F currently under development with wider fuselage, retractable landing gear and more powerful engines.
- Y-12G dedicated cargo aircraft with side cargo door and windowless cabin accommodating three LD3 standard containers.
- Turbo Panda - Export name for Y-12(II), marketed by England and Japanese companies. No orders due to airworthness certification issues.
- Twin Panda was an abortive 1998-99 attempt for version of Y-12 (IV) to be completed and marketed by Canadian Aerospace Group. Canadian Aerospace Group (CAG) and its Panda Aircraft Company subsidiary offers a developed Y-12 as the Twin Panda, which it aims at the twin Otter replacement market.
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