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  YAK 50

One of the most charismatic aircraft of all time and given the very small numbers left in the World (approx. 66), they will undoubtedly appreciate in the future.  Today, they provide the looks and flying qualities, as well as performance of a Second World War Fighter, together with a relative economy of operation (10 gallons an hour at economical cruise); lovely handling characteristics; a tough and highly agile airframe - the type was twice World Aerobatic Champion!  For those who lust after a piston-engine fighter, but are unable to afford $500,000 or more, the Yak 50 is the obvious answer.

Background and history 

Qualities of the aircraft 

We are enthusiastic about all Russian aircraft and of course all Yaks.  However, we imported the first two Yak-50s to the West some 14 years ago, and then operated them as an aerobatic team sponsored by ‘Vladivar’ and genuinely feel that they are one of the most desirable aircraft of all times.  Although now outclassed by more modern aerobatic aircraft, by virtue of its very light weight and high power, the 50 has a superb performance and genuinely feels like flying a small fighter.  We feel its strengths are: 

In order to present a balanced picture, it is also worth noting that: 

Structural Considerations 

The Yak-50 was designed to be flown very hard (+9 and –7G) for a relatively short life and when looking at aircraft today it is important to check that they have not been flown beyond these limits.  A point to note is that +9G was with the long-range fuel tank removed and no smoke system, which many Western pilots fit.  With these full, the 50 rapidly becomes +6G aircraft. 

The introduction of the Yak-50 coincided with a much more brutal way of competition flying with very high G. Certainly Yak-50s were then being flown at plus 11 G or more, which lead to four airframe failures. Yakovlev in consequence produced a series of airframe modifications, as the aircraft were required to fly harder than had originally been intended.

There are a total of eighty-five Service Bulletins for the Yak-50, although the majority of these are trivial such as manual changes etc. A number are however major structural ones including 53 / 61 / 79. It should be noted that 79 had a number of versions, the final one only coming out in 1986 at which stage most of Yak-50s were grounded with the introduction of the Yak-55.

Aircraft we sell 

We used to sell 50s that were totally zero-timed, and included zero-timed engine plus propeller; all Service Bulletins completed; new Ceconite; all wearing items replaced with new; new tyres brakes; flexible hoses; aileron bearings; Western altimeter etc etc, but there are virtually none left in the East!  We therefore tend to sell aircraft we get back from previous customers.

Standard modifications 

We can perform three modifications, which greatly improve the aircraft.  These are: 

Other modifications and options 

We can now ‘tailor-make' an aircraft to suit almost any requirements based on our long experience in this field.  Our options include:


The standard propeller is the Russian 2-blade V-530 propeller and significantly better performance can be obtained with German MT propeller; factory new MTV-9 250 3-blade propeller. The 50 has sufficient ground-clearance to accept the MTV-9 260 propeller, which gives yet further thrust.  It does however mean that all landings and take-offs must be done in the 3-point attitude. 

Fuel system 

Installing integral 75 litre tanks in each wing (additional 150 litres). These are a totally separate ‘wet wing’ and as fuel is used up, fuel is then transferred into the main tanks. This system is elegant, simple and adds very little weight.

Wing tips 

Rounded wing tips (with or without fittings for strobe/nav lights).

Aileron Servos

These were originally developed for the Russian Team Yak-50’s and greatly reduce aileron forces. However, cannot be combined with wing-tips.

Engine Gills - Sukhoi type ‘iris’   

The 50 has the standard Yakovlev system of individual veins controlling air into the engine. In hot climates and protracted climbs, these can be somewhat restrictive, and many people are opting to have the Sukhoi ‘Iris’ type gills, which allow  more air into the engine.

We can also fit :


Click here for full list of Yak-50 Service Bulletins

Click here for link to Yak-50 Service Bulletins after crashes