In August of 1951 the Aeronautical Bureau was established under the Heavy Industry Ministry at Shenyang, Liaoning Province. The bureau was led by Duan Zijun and tasked to promote the production of Chinese military aircraft. The Nanchang CJ-6A is China's first indigenous-built production aircraft.
It's precursor was the Nanchang CJ-5, a Soviet license built version of the Yak-18 produced in the Nanchang Aircraft Factory beginning on July 25, 1954 till roughly 1958.
The Chinese remained unimpressed by the newer Yak-18A and chose to take a tentative design and development step and create a trainer tailored to their specifications. A 28 year old Aeronautical Engineer graduate of Qing Hua University named Bushi Cheng was tasked to the project. On August 27, 1958 the first Nanchang CJ-6 was test flown. The Chinese have produced the CJ-6 in large numbers in order to train their growing air force. Between 1964 and 1966 an armed version of the CJ-6 was built to carry bombs. The "Bomber" models were used in the early 60s' for patrol along the national borders. A small number were retrofitted in 1985 for use as agriculture chemical sprayers and renamed the "Petrel", along with several that were modified to incorporate towing hooks for glider training. More recently the aircraft is used by aerobatics teams within China for airshow work.
Total production is believed to be over 3000 aircraft, serving in countries outside of China such as Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, North Korea, Tanzani Zambia and Sri Lanka. Less than1500 still fly in China today.
Examples of the Nanchang and YAK will be on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum at the San Carlos Airport.
We live on different hemispheres, speak different languages, and salute different flags but without question, we share a common pursuit for the glory of aviation. Side by side, Russians have developed and significantly contributed to the advancement of aviation technology. Numerous Russian pioneers and design firms have conceived, tested, and proven innovations that are the trademark of Russian aviation. Some of these ideas were very practical and entered into full production and deployment; others never made it beyond drawings and desktop models. Then, there were the occasional outlandish designs that sponged up vast resources only to disappoint. We will examine concepts and features that are common on both sides of what was "The Iron Curtain", once more proving that the laws of physics are absolute and universal regardless of which flag is flying! Come and wade ankle deep in the ocean of Russian Aviation!
By Faride Khalaf