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:
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
Delightful handling characteristics.
charismatic with a military feel.
power and performance.
Relatively cheap to run.
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
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
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.