Not so much a Chinese 'take out', but a Chinese 'take off' !
It would be perhaps wrong to describe this Chinese trainer as ‘universal’, but with over 10,000 built it is, indeed, popular. Despite appearances, it is not a direct copy of the Russian-designed Yak-18A, but has been extensively re-engineered to suit Chinese requirements by the Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Company. The prototype first flew on August 27, 1958, and entered People's Liberation Army Air Force service in 1960, followed by over 3,000 examples for the Chinese armed forces. Since then, it has been exported to Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, North Korea, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Zambia. Powered by a geared Nanchang Huosai-6JIA 9-cylinder radial engine of 285hp, driving a constant-speed prop, the CJ-6A is heavily reliant on pneumatics to operate flaps, brakes and start the engine. The control of various aircraft systems, such as the oil cooler and engine cooling gills are all manual, so there is a lot to manage during any flight. One good thing is that the CJ-6A has a levered-arm main undercarriage, like the Fokker S-11 Instructor and the Ercoupe (see diaries) which makes for easy landings. Brakes are pneumatic - of course - and cockpit visibility on the ground is good. This aircraft weighs less than a T-34, at around 3,000 lbs gross, and will cruise happily at about 175 mph. Most standard aerobatics are possible, and the spinning characteristics hold no terrors. Some operators in the USA have rebuilt the aircraft with the Vedeneyev M14P of 360 hp, which transforms the performance (or even gone to the M14PF of 400 hp, giving an initial climb rate of over 2,500 ft/min)
The example seen here, G-BVVG, is parked at the Great Vintage Flying Weekend, at Kemble, England and is in typical PLAAF markings. It was on the French register for a while, from 1999 to 2002, but is now owned by the Nanchang CJ6A Group of Marlow; prior to this it had been operated by the amazingly-named ‘Peking Duck Group’ of Bracknell !
A very popular ‘warbird’, the CJ-6A is now being released in batches by the Chinese authorities, and several specialist companies in the USA are currently importing and overhauling these aircraft for re-sale. You can pick up a decent CJ-6A for less than half the price of many used Cessna 172s, and have a lot of fun in the bargain. Providing you don't mind a high cockpit workload at times, these are a worthwhile aircraft to buy, and a rugged machine which will allow you to park in the 'warbird' section of the ramp at most air shows!