Background and history
Qualities of the aircraft
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:
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:
The Yak-52 has no less than 114 Service Bulletins (Airworthiness Directives) which are mandatory. The majority of these are very trivial, but a number are major and can only be done in a factory environment. The most important of these are 59 and 60 (centre section and main spar), while an additional main spar modification (no 107) can be done in the field by appropriate organisations (for example ourselves).
A Yak-52 without 59 and 60 really should not be flown, unless just ;straight and level' and before anyone considers purchasing an aircraft we strongly advise that someone who understands the logbooks and the SBs on these aircraft goes through the books to see what actually has been done.
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 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.
Largely because of the issues above in terms of Service Bulletins and ‘service lives’ our principal product is totally overhauled and zero-timed aircraft. Of course this does not necessarily apply when we are selling aircraft taken in part-exchange, and also in the area where we have somewhat of a speciality – that is either brand new (but older manufacture) or very low time Yak-52’s where clearly it is unnecessary to overhaul them.
Our basic Yak-52 (when we can get old aircraft from the East) is therefore totally overhauled in every respect which includes:
Depending on year of manufacture and hours flown, our prices for such an aeroplane begin from about Euro 65,000.
Although such aircraft might initially seem more expensive than second-hand aircraft which are available in the West, we have no doubt that, over a normal period of ownership, they will prove a great deal cheaper to run and operate.
As the aircraft has become widely used in the West, so have customers become more discerning as to adapting the aircraft from purely military/aerobatic training role into an aircraft that is more attractive and useable in a Western context.
Although most modifications can be done in the UK, our practice is now to agree a formal specification of an aircraft with new customers, based of course on previous aircraft that we have sold which they can see and inspect. We then build an aircraft to this specification in Lithuania, where we work exclusively with a highly skilled, 14 person team of specialists. The prices given below therefore are typically for modifications done during remanufacture and although these can be done retrospectively in the UK, inevitably they are more expensive given higher UK labour costs.
Importantly, this gives the opportunity to choose the colour scheme for the aircraft, which is of course totally open – approximately 60% of –52s we sell are done in military camouflaged scheme colours and we have a large library of documentation, particularly of appropriate Russian schemes.
Starting with the basis of an aeroplane as above, i.e. totally overhauled in mechanical respects, the following are some of the options we offer:
The standard propeller is the Russian 2-blade V-530 propeller. However the Speriot Factory has ceased making new blades for these propellers, which is making replacement costs increasingly expensive. In addition significantly better performance (65 kilograms static thrust) plus extra smoothness can be obtained with the German
MTV-9 250 3-blade propeller. This of course is a new propeller in current production, with no servicing concerns. The supplement for fitting such a propeller is Euro 9,000 with small spinner; for large spinner additional Euro 900.
To fit a spinner on the Russian 2-blade propeller is an extra Euro 1800.
Installing integral 80 litre tanks in each wing (additional 160 litres) Euro 8,000. These are a totally separate ‘wet wing’ outboard of the normal fuel tank and as fuel is used up fuel is then transferred into the main tanks. This system is elegant, simple and adds very little weight. (We have now converted some thirteen aircraft in this fashion, and can say the owners have been extremely pleased. However, we think it is important to point out that the conversion consists of opening the wing; re-enforcing the internal structure; making a ‘wet wing’ with internal sealant; re-sealing the wing. We have noticed on four aircraft that very small fuel leaks have developed. This is not a major problem, and with every conversion we supply more sealing compound, and this is very easy to apply through a detachable panel on top of the wing.
In addition to the lightweight electrical system, we can save up to a further 120lbs weight from a Yak-52, by removing the military/training/avionic equipment, and where appropriate replacing it with Western analogues.
Rounded wing tips (with or without fittings for strobe/nav lights).
These were originally developed for the Russian Team Yak-50’s and greatly reduce aileron forces. However, cannot be combined with wing-tips Euro 450.
Engine Gills - Sukhoi type ‘iris’
The 52 has the standard Yakovlev system of individual vanes controlling air into the engine. In hot climates and protracted climbs, these can be somewhat restrictive, and some people are opting to have the Sukhoi ‘Iris’ type gills, which allow more air into the engine.
We can also offer:
We can fit (within the limitations of the cockpits) any range of avionics, but as an example a Garmin 250XL GPS plus moving map plus COM together with Garmin transponder.
We can supply factory tool roll, including all specialist tools but not spanners etc, @ Euro 1,200
By way of explanation where labour is involved in these modifications, these prices are only valid if the work is done during the course of overhauling the aircraft in Lithuania. We can perform virtually all modifications in the UK, but inevitably at higher cost, simply because of our intrinsically higher labour costs, but also because the aircraft is not already disassembled. We can however quote for individual modifications.
For further information on aerobatics & spin recovery click here
Click here for Yak-52 Service Bulletins
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