Y-5 Colt small general purpose transport
Due to the need of domestic airline industry and the actual possibility in production, the aviation industry made a decision of license production of the An-2 aircraft in October 1956. The An-2 is a small general purpose transport developed by the Soviet Union. it is good in flying performance and economics, easy to operate and maintain, safe and reliable. It is a conventional biplane with tailwheel type landing gear. A piston engine drives a four blades metal propeller. It can operate from an airstrip.
The Chinese designation of the An-2 is Y-5 [the Y-4 designation for the Douglas/Lisunov C-47 or Li-2 is questionable]. Its prototype production was decided to be undertaken by the Nanchang Aircraft Factory. Although the factory had exprience in production of the CJ-5 trainer, it was the first time to build a transport. Prior to the arrival of drawings from the Soviet Union an An-2 transport was borrowed from the Chinese airline for familiarization of its structural and manufacturing features by engineers. They made a plan for prototype production and set up rules for manufacture. After the Soviet drawings arrived at the factory in January 1957, the technical people were organized to study these drawings and documents in Russian. Based on these drawings and their own practice in the prototype production of a new aircraft, engineers in the Nanchang Aircraft Factory prepared themselves 6,960 manufacturing processes and designed and manufactured 3,000 pieces of production tooling.
To improve the efficiency in the prototype production they boldly used some new techniques such as a coordination method which used both standard parts and reference holes, and standardization of production tooling designs. It was particularly commendable that the Nanchang Aircraft Factory fulfilled the task of prototype production without expanding its factory floor area and only by addition of seven machines. In October 1957 first Y-5 completed its final assembly and successfully passed static test. On December 7 another Y-5 made its first flight. In March 1958 the Military Products Certification Commission of the State Council certificated Y7-5's design for serial production. In May of the same year the Y-5 was exibited at a National Farm Tools Exhibition in Beijing.
The basic Y-5 was a transport. Based on it a number of derivatives were developed in the process of mass production according to user's different requirements. An agricultural version was produced in 1958 according to the Soviet drawings and 229 aircraft were produced. A passenger version was derived in 1959 and 114 aircraft were produced and were used on regional air lines. Afterwards, the versions for training of navigator-bomber, parachuting and aerial photography were successively produced.
A total of 727 Y-5s of all versions were produced by the Nanchang Aircraft Factory from 1958 to 1968. The continued production of the Y-5 was transfered to the Shijiazhuang Aircraft Factory in 1970 and 221 Y-5s were produced there by the end of 1986. In all, 948 Y-5s were turned out.
The Y-5 is the first transport produced in China. It is also a transport which was produced in largest quantity and in the longest period of time. Its various versions played remarkable roles in many areas of national economy. It flew over all the places in our motherland. The Y-5s were also supplied to some countries in Asia and Europe and have been a witness to the exchange between China and foreign countries. The long lasting production and operation of the Y-5s showed the existance of a broad market for small transport in China.
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