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Post WW2: Yakovlev Yak-52

The Yak 52 is a popular two-seat aerobatic aircraft, powered by a 360 horse power radial engine.Both the Yak 52 and the Chinese Nanchang CJ6 have a common ancestor in the earlier Yak 18 trainer from the late 1940's.

Often mistaken for the Nanchang, the Yak 52 can be easily distinguished by its shorter, straighter wings, it's more rounded tail profile, and the partially visible retracted undercarriage. The Nanchang has a squarer tail, and the longer wings are slightly gull shaped.


Yak 52Designed by the Yakovlev Bureau in Russia, these aircraft, were still in production until recently, and were built under licence in Romania by Intreprinderia de Avione Bacau.The prototype aircraft (originally designated Yak-50U) first flw in 1974. Up until 1991 over 1700 aircraft of the type were built, with a smaller number having been produced since that time.

In the early 1980s' a single seat (Yak-53) variant was being designed, but this design never caught on, and only one of those aircraft remains flying today (in the USA).

Since the first Yak 52 was imported into New Zealand in 1991, others have followed and there are now at least eleven examples of the type around the country.

The Ivenchenko 360 horsepower engine provides a high power to weight ratio making this aircraft well suited for aerobatics, even though it was initially designed as a primary trainer aircraft for piltos who would later transition to Soviet jet aircraft.

Yak 52The aircraft features a distinctive partially retractable undercarriage, which when retracted still leaves the wheels visible. This is a provision for lessening damage to the aircarft should novice pilots attempt to land with the wheels up.

In the event that this should happen, it is possible to cut the tips off the wooden propeller blades, and then take off again with the wheels still in the retracted position.


A herd of Yaks in formation.


Three Yak's in formation, with the leader inverted.


Formation display team.


Formation looping practice.










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