Yakovlev YAK 52 performance and specifications

The qualities of the Yak-52 have resulted in some 300 or so being sold to private Western buyers – almost certainly more than sales of any other kind of light aircraft in the same time! Its attractions are obvious, but include:

  • Fantastic value for money – an equivalent aircraft in the West would cost dramatically more. For example the Siai Marchetti SF260 costs today approaching US$ 500,000 and even well used versions command US$ 200,000 and this for an aircraft that is in many ways not the equal of the –52.

  • Delightful handling characteristics.

  • Very charismatic with a military feel.

  • Excellent power and performance.

  • Tough and robust.

  • Relatively cheap to run.

  • Fully aerobatic.

Inevitably, the aircraft has some disadvantages, but these are largely a function of its intended role. However now that the Yak-52 is in widespread use with Western private pilots, there are ways of overcoming most of these.


Empty weight 1015kgs (2238lbs)
Maximum take-off weight 1305kgs (2877lbs)
Maximum speed 285kph (178mph)
VNE 360kph (230mph)
Take off run 170m
Landing run 300m
Rate of climb 1400ft per minute
Range (standard fuel) 500kms; 300 miles (but extra fuel capacity is available).


An important point that is often overlooked by Western purchasers is that of airframe and engine lifetime. The following are extremely important and should be thought through carefully by a potential purchaser.

It should be remembered that the intended use of the Yak-52 was as a military and training aircraft run by State flying schools. As such the Yak-52 was typically based at one airfield for its entire life, where it did virtually nothing apart from hard aerobatics. The Yak-52 however is an extremely tough and robust aircraft, and designed for such treatment! Nevertheless it is important to recognise the ‘military’ environment in which the aircraft was operated. In addition the Soviet Union was then keeping 280 million people employed, and a combination of these factors was to have very conservative ‘lifetimes’ for all aircraft and aircraft components.

By lifetime this should be seen as ‘life before overhaul’ – i.e. this does not in anyway indicate that the aircraft should be discarded at the end of this time – it is simply that it needs an overhaul.

The particular issues involved are:

The airframes leave the factory with a 500-hour ‘life’ with a 100-hour extension. Historically after this, Yak-52’s would go to one of several State overhaul centres – particularly at Shakty, where they would be totally overhauled. In those days this meant a complete disassembly down to the last fuel pipe and electrical wire and re-assembly. Subsequent to this the aircraft was then given a new ‘lifetime’ and returned to service.

As sellers of these aircraft, our prime consideration is that of safety, but nevertheless we could see that a huge amount of work in these overhauls was totally non safety-related and involved renewing items that are subject to inspection during normal checks. Because of our formal relationships with the Yakovlev Design Bureau, we have now been granted authority to extend Yak-52 lifetimes in exactly the same way, subject only to a check of safety-related items. At the time of writing we are only beginning this system, and therefore it is difficult to be sure of costs, but we currently estimate that the costs should be about Euro 2,500 (£1,750) on the assumption that the check is done at the same time as a 100 hour check.

To be specific the check involves de-mating the wings and tail; crack and magnaflux testing of all structural components; similarly for engine mount as well as a detailed visual and x-ray inspection of other items.
In terms of engines the life today of a factory new engine – ie when fitted at the factory, is 750 hours, and that of a zero-timed one is 500 hours. It is possible that, in the future, these will be extended but of course this was the expected ‘life’ under tough ‘DOSAAF’ (ie Russian Flying Club) conditions.

As exclusive worldwide agents for Vedeneyev, we believe that these times will be extended. Remember also that these are ‘lives’ under the very harsh regime in which these aircraft were operated, including the use of relatively poor quality oil.

On Yak-52’s a number of other items also have finite ‘lives.’ The most important of these are the flexible hoses, whose life is ten years, at which stage they must be replaced. Also certain other items such as air bottles need to be pressure tested on a regular calendar basis for obvious reasons.

Also, we would caution prospective purchasers that, while, historically, logbooks were kept totally accurately in the former Soviet Union, introduction of a market economy has meant that some unscrupulous people in the aviation business have been altering logbooks in an unauthorised fashion, and indeed noting that overhauls or Service Bulletins have been completed, when they have not. We can only suggest to anyone looking at these aircraft that they should ensure that someone who speaks Russian and who has the appropriate training, reads the logbook to be absolutely sure that the work has been done correctly.

The above is not in any way intended to deter people purchasing a Yak-52. The aircraft are tough, robust and overall very cheap to run, particularly given the type of aircraft and its many virtues.