What is a Nanchang CJ-6A?

The following information was found in various places on the Web:


From Lampa Holdings:

The Nanchang CJ-6 – The Affordable Warbird

Warbird flying is exhilarating. The aircraft are usually quite different from the ‘normal’ commercially available GA aircraft, which are generally built to provide a feeling of as close as possible to driving a car. Whilst such aircraft offer high levels of safety, convenience and ease of operation, they rarely offer excitement (unless the noise stops in flight).

Most warbirds by their very nature expensive are to buy and operate, and, particularly with high performance aircraft, can be something of a handful for the average GA pilot. The Chinese designed and built Nanchang CJ-6, on the other hand, has proven to be an ideal warbird for the average GA pilot; it is simple, reliable, and economical to operate and maintain, while still providing the excitement and satisfaction which comes from flying an unusual military aircraft from another culture and another era of technology.



Contrary to common held belief the Nanchang CJ-6 IS NOT a derivative of, or licence built, Yak 18A. It is a totally indigenous Chinese aircraft both designed and manufactured in China for use by the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) as a basic and advanced trainer

The CJ-5 was a licence production of the Soviet Yak18 primary trainer with manufacturing by the Nanchang Aircraft Factory commencing in 1954. Up to this time Nanchang had only repaired aircraft and the CJ-5 was their first foray into aircraft manufacture. It was of tube steel and fabric construction with a tail wheel configuration and powered by a Soviet 5 cylinder radial engine with a wooden prop. A total of 379 CJ-5’s were produced between 1954 and 1958 and delivered to the Air Force, Navy air force and the CAAC.

Progress in pilot training of the Air Force raised a requirement for a primary trainer with improved performance and a tricycle landing gear. By this time the Yak-18A, a derivative of the Yak-18 with tricycle landing gear had been developed in the Soviet Union and its drawings made available to the Shenyang Aircraft Factory. On analysing the design the engineers there concluded that the performance of the Yak-18A was not advanced enough and that its structure of steel tube and fabric was not suitable in China where aluminum materials were both readily available and in mass production. Therefore they suggested that a more advanced primary trainer, designed to better suit the conditions in China, be developed rather than licence build the Yak-18A. Their suggestions were accepted and design work commenced after the engineers visited many Air Force bases where they interviewed people associated with the operation of training aircraft and pilots.

From late 1957 to mid 1958 the conceptual studies, general layout design, wind tunnel testing performance analysis and preliminary design of the structure and systems were completed, and a full size mock-up was manufactured in the Shenyang factory. In 1958 the project was transferred to the Nanchang Aircraft Factory where a complete set of drawings consisting of a total of 5,177 standard pages were released in a very short time. On release of the drawings to the factory the first airframe was completed in just 3 weeks. It was subjected to static tests and drop tests of the landing gear. These tests demonstrated complete compliance with the design criteria.

First flight of a completed CJ-6 aircraft took place on 27 August 1958 and in September two aircraft were ferried to Beijing for a flight demonstration to military and government leaders.

A Czechoslovakian manufactured engine and propeller powered the initial aircraft, however, testing indicated these two components were not well matched and, as a result, performance did not meet specification. In 1960 a test aircraft were retrofitted with a Soviet A-1P engine and matching propeller and tested in July of that year. These tests included the first spin tests, which were carried out successfully. Further flight-testing of the prototype aircraft was carried out for a total of 612 hours and 1,800 landings and resulted in the type being approved for mass production in January 1962.

In 1962 the Housai HS6 9 cylinder radial engine of 265HP and matching metal propeller were produced and these became a standard fit for all aircraft until 1965 where the HS-6A engine uprated to 285HP was made available. This engine has been used up to today and has resulted in a change of designation of the aircraft to CJ-6A. All components in the aircraft are manufactured in China making the type a totally indigenous designed and manufacture aircraft.

The development of the CJ-6 took a total of four and a half years, a rather short time for a totally new aircraft to be designed and manufacture by an industry that, up until that time, had only had its toe in the aircraft manufacturing industry.


From Wild Blue Aviation:


What other airplane combines the looks and handling of a WWII military fighter, that great Round Engine Sound and comfortable cockpits with Bonanza speed and baggage space for cross-country cruising? And you don’t need to own an oil company to keep it fed. The airplanes are dead simple and stone reliable–made to be maintained by illiterate peasants like you and me. You can fly formation and mix it up with your buddies, do aerobatics or take the spouse on those flights to fancy. And they’re so easy to fly!  Whether you’re military or civilian, Captain or Private, they are absolute pussycats. The trailing-arm landing gear makes every landing a greaser.

If you've been paying attention you've noticed that CJ prices have kept going up, even during the last recession and airline implosion.  If the airlines ever get stabilized (and they're hiring now) count on a big jump in prices as nervous pilots re-enter the market.  You're not going to be stuck with a depreciating asset--in fact, when time comes to sell you'll probably be wondering how to reduce the tax bite on the capital gains!  Demand just keeps increasing because there ain't nothin' out there to compete with these airplanes.  None (except maybe one--see below--and that's a matter of taste).  RV's?  Great airplanes, gotta love 'em, but no, not even close.  Yak-52's?  They're terrific airplanes, too, bargain-basement steals, and the only real contender for a serious CJ rival, but kinda ugly to some eyes, not very practical--no cockpit or baggage space, no lights for night flying and not enough fuel--though better for aerobatics, after all, the single seat version--the Yak-50--was World Aerobatics Champion.  HSAT, -52W's and TW's are another matter altogether, lots of power, 74 gallons of gas, lights, baggage etc, but they're pretty hard to come by and, to lots of folks, still not as pretty as a CJ.  But there's no question -52's are better aerobatic airplanes.  If aerobatics is your thing, you want a -52--any model.  But for general utility and GOOD LOOKS that make everybody drool, CJ's are the ticket.  T-34's?  T-6's?  You gotta love 'em, but no, no way, sorry.  Let me re-phrase that--in many ways CJ-6A's are roughly equivalent to to North American AT-6's and Beech T-34's--but without the $$Big$$ price tags and wing separation problems.  Performance-wise they're very comparable. 


CJ-6A empty weight is typically about 1000kg (2200 lbs.) and gross weight is 1400kg (3080 lbs.)–lighter than a T-34. The Huosai HS-6A geared, nine-cylinder, radial engine makes 285hp (more power than a stock T-34), so the power-to-weight ratio is good. TBO is 1200 hours. The propeller is an all-metal, constant speed “J9G1" unit made just for the airframe and engine combination. Takeoff run is about 920 feet at sea level and the rate of climb is about 1300 fpm. You’ll get a normal cruise true airspeed of about 165 to 175 mph on 12-13gph, depending on the power setting and altitude. Stall at gross comes at 64mph and the landing distance is about 1150 ft. The retractable landing gear, large flap, starter and brakes are all pneumatic, so you’ll never leak or run out of hydraulic fluid and cold weather is no problem when starting. The main and emergency air bottles provide plenty of power for operating the systems and there is an on-board, engine-driven compressor to keep the bottles full.

0-SMOH replacement engines are available for only $12K, outright, or $10K exchange. Add $2K for installation. A real bargain in the aviation world.

Rate of roll is about 180 degrees per second, and the ailerons are delightfully light, so you don’t need two hands to muscle it around. The CJ excels at graceful low-G loops, rolls, Immelmans, snap rolls etc. Even first-timers find aerobatics easy and fun–passengers, too. Spins are a non-event--airplane handling is completely vice-free and predictable. Both cockpits feature non-tumbling electric military Attitude Indicators, slaved Heading Indicators and a full set of controls. Since the gear is tricycle, landings are a snap, and the trailing link landing gear soaks up the shock. You just can’t make a bad landing. Did you know American engine rotation (counter-clockwise from the front) is just about unique in the world? Since the geared, 9-cylinder, Huosai radial engine turns the other way, you'll find yourself automatically adding LEFT rudder on the takeoff roll. Ground steering is by differential braking using the powerful pneumatic brakes, which are operated by a stick-mounted lever. Visibility is excellent and ground handling is easy.


Jeff's Home Page