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Yakovlev Yak 18

The Yakovlev Yak-18, a military primary trainer aircraft, is a tandem two-seat aircraft that was manufactured in the Soviet Union.

It was initially equipped with a Shvetsov M-11FR-1 radial piston engine, which provided a power output of 119 kW (160 hp).

This aircraft was introduced into service in 1946 and was also produced in China under the name Nanchang CJ-5.

Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev, a prominent figure among the second generation of Russian aircraft designers, is primarily recognized for his exceptional fighter designs.

However, it is worth noting that Yakovlev also maintained a division dedicated to the development of light aircraft.

In May 1945, Yakovlev embarked on a new project, the design of the Yak-18, a two-seat primary trainer aircraft.

This aircraft was intended to replace the previously utilized Yakovlev UT-2 and Yakovlev Yak-5, which were in service with the Soviet Air Forces and DOSAAF.

In 1944, an upgraded version of the UT-2 had already been constructed, incorporating several features that would later be found in the Yak-18.

The new aircraft took to the skies a year later, powered by a 119 kW (160 hp) Shvetsov M-11 five-cylinder radial engine.

Notably, it boasted pneumatically operated retractable main landing gear and a fixed tailwheel.

Following its successful maiden flight, the Yak-18 was officially introduced as a trainer aircraft later that same year. Yakovlev continued its production until 1956.

The Yak-18 also gained international recognition, as examples of the aircraft were exported to China in kit form starting from 1950.

Subsequently, the Chinese began manufacturing licensed copies of the Yak-18 in 1954, designating them as CJ-5.

During the Korean War, the Yak-18 gained significant recognition for its role as a night bomber in the North Korean Air Force.

To enhance its bombing capabilities, the aircraft underwent modifications that included the installation of bomb racks on the wing center section.

Under the cover of darkness, these modified Yak-18s would fly over United Nations (UN) troop locations, dropping bombs and causing disruption to UN forces.

Notably, one of the most successful attacks carried out by the North Korean aviation during the war occurred in June 1953.

In this instance, four or five Yak-18s targeted a fuel dump in the Inchon area, resulting in the destruction of approximately 5.5 million US gallons (21 million L; 4.6 million imp gal) of fuel.

The distinct sound produced by the Yak-18’s five-cylinder engine reminded many US troops of early gasoline-powered washing machines, leading them to nickname the aircraft “Washing Machine Charlie.”

Additionally, the term “Bed Check Charlie” was also used to refer to these night intruders.

The Yak-18s, along with Polikarpov Po-2s, proved to be a considerable nuisance until US night fighters began successfully shooting them down.

Notably, one night fighter crashed while taking down a Bed Check Charlie, and another nightfighter resorted to ramming its target in order to eliminate it.

The utilization of Yak-18 as a primary trainer for Air Force flying schools and DOSAAF, along with its widespread usage in China and various other nations, has been well-established.

However, recent photographs depicting Kim Jong-Un’s visit to a North Korean Air Force base in March 2014 indicate that the North Koreans may still be employing original Yak-18s or CJ-5s for bombing purposes.
The original production version.
Retractable main undercarriage, fixed tailwheel
This version was built in small numbers.
It had retractable tricycle landing gear.
Cleaned up version of the Yak-18U, powered by a 194 kW (260 hp) Ivchenko AI-14 FR engine.
Built in large numbers.
Single-seat aerobatic aircraft for use by flying clubs.
Adaptation of Yak-18 two-seat trainer.
Single-seat aerobatic aircraft with retractable tricycle landing gear.
Aerobatic aircraft with retractable main gear.
Hongzhuan-501 (Red Craftsman)
Probable original designation for early CJ-5 production aircraft.
Nanchang CJ-5
The Yak-18 was built under license in China as the CJ-5 379 had been built when production ended in 1958.
8.35 m (27 ft 5 in)
10.6 m (34 ft 9 in)
3.35 m (11 ft 0 in)
Wing area
17.8 m2 (192 sq ft)
Clark YH (14.5%)
Clark YH (9.3%)
Empty weight

1,025 kg (2,260 lb)
Max take-off weight
1,320 kg (2,910 lb)
1 × Ivchenko AI-14RF 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine,
224 kW (300 hp)
2-bladed variable-pitch propeller
Maximum speed
300 km/h (190 mph, 160 kn)
700 km (430 mi, 380 nmi)
Service ceiling
5,060 m (16,600 ft)
Yakovlev Aircraft Since 1924 – Bill Gunston & Yefim Gordon.
OKB Yakovlev, A History of the Design Bureau and Its Aircraft—Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy Komissarov & Sergey Komissarov.
Soviet Aircrafts Illustrated-A.S.Yakovlev.
The History of Soviet Aircraft from 1918-Vaclav Nemecek.
Soviet AF Fighter Colours 1941-45-Erik Pilaeskii.
Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War, Vol 1, Single Engined Fighters-Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov.
Early Soviet Jet Fighters, The 1940s and early 50s-Yefim Gordon.

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