Andy Jordan

Chessington, United Kingdom

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taken on the 9th Sept 2012 at Duxford airshow…

The Yakovlev design bureau is probably the world’s most illustrious designer of aerobatic training and aerobatic competition aircraft with a history going back to World War 2, designing combat aircraft considered by many to be the best fighters of the Second World War.

The first post-War light aircraft was the YAK-18 trainer and this went through a number of variations in terms of single and two-seater aircraft and many thousands of the latter were made.

The first serious single-seat aircraft was the YAK-18P, which in turn led to the PM and the PS variants, each model having lighter weight, more power and greater agility.

The 50 was the final iteration of these single seater YAKs and was designed by Sergei Yakovlev, the son of bureau founder himself, and although a development of the YAK-18PS, was much lighter, had a totally stressed skin monocoque fuselage and the then new 360hp M14P engine.

The aircraft was first flown in 1974, and after a considerable amount of testing was put into larger scale production at Arsenyev in the Russian Far East and deliveries began in early 1975. The YAK-50 was an outstanding success, and at the 1976 World Aerobatic Championships, took first, second and third in the men’s championships; first to fifth in the women’s as well as taking overall men’s and women’s team prizes.

Unlike the subsequent YAK-52 training aircraft, the YAK-50 was made in relatively small numbers (312) until 1985, of which the vast majority were for the Russian DOSAAF and exported were only eight to East Germany and six to Bulgaria.

With the introduction of its successor, the YAK-55, Moscow instructed all DOSAAF Clubs to scrap the 50s and return the logbooks to Moscow. Most obeyed this edict, with the result that there are only about 60 YAK-50s left in the world.

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So much for the history! What does the YAK-50 bring to the display?

Although the aircraft is a product of the 1970s, this big monoplane, by virtue of its huge, rumbling 9 litre radial engine and large paddle blade propeller has much more of an old style ‘warbird’ presence than today’s Lycoming powered carbon fibre wonder-ships.

Despite the fact that by the 1980s the YAK-50 was eclipsed in its aerobatic ability by more modern designs, it is capable of all advanced aerobatic manoeuvres and it can more than hold its own during a formation display. Our solo pilot displays the full capabilities of the machine throughout the show.

The sight and sound of these six glorious beasts carving across the sky, trailed by billowing smoke trails is quite unique!

Max speed: 257 Kts, 470 Kph
Cruise speed: 143 Kts, 265 Kph
Stall speed: 57 Kts, 110 Kph
Wing span: 9.3 Meters
Length: 7.75 Meters
Aerobatic load factors: +9g-6g
Max. T/O weight: 995 KGs
T/O run: 125 Meters
Engine: Vedneyev M14P supercharged 360 HP radial

Fuji HS10 UV Filter

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