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Yakovlev Yak-18A "Max"
Nanchang CJ-5 / CJ-6

In May 1945, Aleksandr S. Yakovlev initiated design of the Yak-18 two-seat primary trainer. He designed it to replace the earlier Yakovlev UT-2 and Yak-5 in service with the Soviet Air Forces and DOSAAF (Voluntary Society for Collaboration with the Army, Air Force and Navy, which sponsored aero clubs throughout the USSR). The new aircraft flew a year later, powered by a Shvetsov M-11 five-cylinder radial engine and featuring a retractable tailwheel landing gear.

The design, a development of the UT-2 with retractrable landing gear and enclosed cockpit, proved exceptionally easy to build and maintain. The first Yak-18, which carried two pilots seated in tandem, was mainly used as a trainer. Later versions included a Yak-18U with semi-retractable tricycle landing gear and a longer fuselage, a Yak-18A with a more powerful 260-hp engine, and the Yak-18P- a single seat version for aerobatics.

In the 1960s and 1970s, modified Yak-18s ruled the world of competitive international aerobatics. It was progressively upgraded with more powerful engines, a tricycle landing gear, and with more modern materials replacing the original fabric and steel tubing construction. Nearly 11,000 Yak-18s have been produced in some 11 variants at factories in Arsenyev, Kharkov and Saratov (Russia), Becau (Romania) and China.

It continues in production today, 55 years later, in two of its many variants, the four-seat Yak-18T and two-seat Yak-54. The Yak-18 became the standard trainer for Air Forces flying schools and DOSAAF.

This plane was so popular the Chinese began to produce them under the name Nanchang CJ-5. Many of the planes were exported to other countries including North Korea, who used them as nuisance bombers. For training flyers, in the early 1990s North Korea had 100 CJ-5 and CJ-6 propeller driven aircraft (Chinese modfications of the Yak-18),

The final version was the Yak-18T which could carry two pilots and two passengers. The Yak 18T is a big, aerobatic- capable, four-seat retractable found throughout the Eastern Bloc working as a trainer, a transport, air-ambulance, aerial photography platform, pipeline patroller and just about any other role they could think up. The 18T is a classic bird, with the M-14P radial up front, a large airframe, fabric covered outer wing panels and control surfaces and a big cabin with four (and often five) seats. Top speed is 160 Kts if conditions are right, with a cruise speed in the range of 125-130 KTS. While outright speed is not the 18T's forte, the ability to carry a load a good distance and into/out of unimproved fields, definitely is. Handling is excellent, well balanced and control pressures get heavy only at the very top of the speed envelope. The 18T is a tough, well proven aircraft. The 18T is a wonderful aircraft to fly, well within the capabilities of most private pilots. It can perform all the basic aerobatic manoeuvers, and is available with inverted systems for fuel and oil.



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