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A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force YS-11M (2013)
Role Turboprop airliner
National origin Japan
Manufacturer Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation
First flight 30 August 1962
Introduction 30 March 1965, for All Nippon Airways (first passenger flight with Japan Air Commuter in 1965)
Status In limited service
Produced 1962–1974
Number built 182
Unit cost
US$2M (1972)[1]

The NAMC YS-11 is a turboprop airliner built by a Japanese consortium, the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. The program was initiated by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 1954, the aircraft was rolled out in 1962, and production ceased in 1974. The YS-11 was produced at a loss, and was the only airliner wholly designed and manufactured in Japan until the development of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.[2][3]

Development and design[edit | edit source]

Wind tunnel model of YS-11

In the mid-to-late 1950s, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry identified a requirement for a short-haul airliner to replace Douglas DC-3s flying on Japan's domestic routes, and encouraged companies in Japan's aircraft industry to collaborate to develop and produce the new airliner. A joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Fuji Heavy Industries (now better known as the parent company of automobile manufacturer Subaru), Shin Meiwa, Showa Aircraft Industry Company and Japan Aircraft Industry Company was set up in 1957, being formalised as the Nihon Aeroplane Manufacturing Company (NAMC) in 1959.[4][5] NAMC was a "paper company" that relied upon personnel and infrastructure provided by its constituent manufacturers.[6]

NAMC designed a low-winged twin-turboprop monoplane seating 60 passengers. Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter was involved in designing it.[7] Another prominent engineer on the project was Teruo Tojo, the second son of Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, who later became chairman of Mitsubishi Motors.[6] Although the aircraft was mainly designed and manufactured in Japan, the engines were built by Rolls-Royce, with the 2,275 kW (3,050 ehp) Rolls-Royce Dart RDa.10/1 being selected for the new aircraft.[8] Due to the lack of domestic technology at the time, entire aircraft systems such as cabin pressurization were copied from foreign sources, using information gleaned from Japanese airlines, trading companies and diplomats.[6]

Electronic equipment, avionics, mechanical and fuselage components were supplied either by Japanese companies or foreign suppliers during the YS-11's production lifetime. The twin-engined YS-11 delivered similar operational performance to the four-engined Vickers Viscount, and had 50% more capacity than the similarly configured Fokker F27 Friendship. MITI supervised the pricing of the aircraft in order to ensure that it was competitive with the Martin 4-0-4.[6]

The first prototype made its maiden flight from Nagoya Airport on August 30, 1962, with the second prototype flying on December 28, 1962. It received its Japanese Type certificate on August 25, 1964, with American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification following on September 9, 1965.[8] All Nippon Airways used a YS-11 to carry the Olympic torch in the run-up to the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[9]

182 were produced in total, of which 82 were exported to 15 countries.[10]

The last examples off the production line, mostly delivered to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (i.e. YS-11A-402 EA/EB), were fitted with license-built General Electric T64-IHI-10J engines.

Operational history[edit | edit source]

The first production YS-11 flew on October 23, 1964 and was delivered on March 30, 1965, with initial airline operations by Toa Airways beginning in April 1965.[8] At first, deliveries were mainly to Japanese airlines, and NAMC developed the YS-11A, with higher gross weight, to make the aircraft more attractive to the North American market, and in particular to meet the requirements of Piedmont Airlines, which ordered ten YS-11A-200s, with an option for an additional ten aircraft.[11] Orders slowed after the needs of the Japanese commuter airlines for which it had been designed were met. This, together with losses growing to $600 million,[3] resulted in production being stopped after completion of 182 aircraft, with the last YS-11 being delivered to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force on May 11, 1973.[12] The end of the program was precipitated by the 1971 Smithsonian Agreement, which led to an appreciation in the value of the Japanese yen.[6]

112 YS-11s remained in service as of 1994.[6] The YS-11 was slowly phased out by airlines in Japan due to new directives issued by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism requiring all commercial aircraft in Japan to be fitted with a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). Aircraft without TCAS were forced to cease operations at the end of 2006. Since equipping a YS-11 with TCAS would have cost ¥100 million (about US$1 million), a refit was deemed economically unsound. Aircraft still in flying condition were sold to foreign companies. On September 30, 2006, Japan Air Commuter Flight 3806 marked the final flight for a YS-11 in Japan's commercial aviation industry.[13] In 2007, the YS-11 was added to the Mechanical Engineering Heritage of Japan as item number 13. As of 2014, 15 were operated by the Japanese military, and two in Mexico.[14] As of 2017, only eight remained in service with the Air Self-Defense Force for flight checks and other purposes.[9] As of July 2018, one aircraft remains in commercial service with Planes For Africa.[15]

Variants[edit | edit source]

Initial production variant. 23,500 kg (51,810 lb) gross weight. 48 built.[11]
Increased gross weight (24,500 kg (54,010 lb) passenger airliner.[11]
Combi version of YS-11-200, fitted with large cargo door and capable of carrying both passengers and freight.[11]
Pure cargo version of -200, used only by Japanese defence forces.[11]
Passenger airliner with further increased (25,000 kg (55,110 lb)) gross weight produced from 1970.[16]
Combi version of -500.[17]
JASDF "Super YS" powered by T64-IHI-10J.

Customer variants[edit | edit source]

  • YS-11-101: TOA Domestic Airlines
  • YS-11-102: All Nippon Airways
  • YS-11-103: Japan Air Self Defense Force
  • YS-11-104: Japan Civil Aviation Bureau
  • YS-11-105: Japan Air Self Defense Force
  • YS-11-106: Japan Domestic Airlines
  • YS-11-107: Filipinas Orient Airways
  • YS-11-108: Japan Domestic Airlines
  • YS-11-109: Japan Domestic Airlines
  • YS-11-110: Japan Civil Aviation Bureau
  • YS-11-111: All Nippon Airways
  • YS-11-113: Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
  • YS-11-114: TOA Airways
  • YS-11-115: Aeronautic College
  • YS-11-116: Filipinas Orient Airways
  • YS-11-117: Hawaiian Airlines
  • YS-11-118: Japan Civil Aviation Bureau
  • YS-11-120: LANSA
  • YS-11-121: Filipinas Orient Airways
  • YS-11-124: Japan Domestic Airlines
  • YS-11-125: Cruzeiro do Sul
  • YS-11-128: Austral (later Austral Líneas Aéreas)
  • YS-11-129: TOA Airways
  • YS-11A-201: NAMC
  • YS-11A-202: Cruzeiro do Sul
  • YS-11A-205: Piedmont Airlines
  • YS-11A-206: Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
  • YS-11A-207: Japan Maritime Safety Agency
  • YS-11A-208: All Nippon Airways
  • YS-11A-209: Southwest Air Lines
  • YS-11A-211: VASP
  • YS-11A-212: VASP
  • YS-11A-213: All Nippon Airways
  • YS-11A-214: Southwest Air Lines
  • YS-11A-217: Japan Domestic Airlines
  • YS-11A-218: Japan Air Self Defense Force
  • YS-11A-219: China Airlines
  • YS-11A-220: Olympic Airways
  • YS-11A-222: TOA Airways
  • YS-11A-223: All Nippon Airways
  • YS-11A-227: Japan Domestic Airlines / TOA Airways
  • YS-11A-301: Korean Air Lines
  • YS-11A-305: Japan Air Self Defense Force
  • YS-11A-306: Transair
  • YS-11A-307: Japan Domestic Airlines
  • YS-11A-309: Aerotransportes Litoral Argentino (later Austral Líneas Aéreas)
  • YS-11A-310: Korean Air Lines
  • YS-11A-313: TOA Airways
  • YS-11A-314: Air Afrique
  • YS-11A-321: Air Gabon
  • YS-11A-402: Japan Air Self Defense Force
  • YS-11A-404: Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
  • YS-11A-500: Piedmont Airlines
  • YS-11A-523: Philippine Civil Aeronautics Administration
  • YS-11A-621: Trans Gabon
  • YS-11A-623: Pelita Air Service
  • YS-11A-624: Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
  • YS-11A-626: Reeve Aleutian Airways

Operators[edit | edit source]

Phuket Air YS-11A-200 (2005)

An Asian Spirit YS-11 in the Philippines (2007)

In July 2011, Transair Cargo, Air Link International Airways, Aero JBR, Aerodan and ALCON Servicios Aereos each operated one YS-11 for a total of five aircraft in commercial service.[18] By July 2018, Aircraft For Africa was the only commercial operator, with one aircraft in service.[15]

All Nippon Airways (1990)


YS-11 at Baguio City, Philippines (2006)

Mid Pacific Air NAMC YS-11A-659 at Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii (1982)

Piedmont Airlines YS-11A at Washington National Airport with the U.S. Capitol in the background (1972)

Air Caribbean YS-11 (1999)

NAMC YS-11A of Austral Líneas Aéreas at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (1972)

Mey-Air YS-11 (1971)

Civil operators[edit | edit source]

Former and present operators of the NAMC YS-11 include:

Military operators[edit | edit source]

NAMC YS-11A of the Greek Air Force (1993)

YS-11P Special painting for the 50th anniversary (2008)

YS-11EA (2010)

YS-11EB (2011)


JSDF delivery breakdown: JASDF
2 YS-11EA for Electronic Warfare
4 YS-11EB for ELINT
3 YS-11FC for Flight Checker
1 YS-11NT for Navigation Trainer
3 YS-11P for Passenger/VIP Transport

2 YS-11M for Freighter
2 YS-11M-A for Freighter
6 YS-11T-A for MPA trainer[20]

Incidents[edit | edit source]

There have been over twenty hull loss accidents involving YS-11 aircraft.

Aircraft on display[edit | edit source]

  • 2179 – YS-11A-500 on static display at Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum in Manila, National Capital.[59]
United States

Specifications (YS-11A-200)[edit | edit source]

A JAC NAMC YS-11 (2003)

Data from [62]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Capacity: 64 passengers
  • Payload: 5,400 kg (11,904 lb)
  • Length: 26.3 m (86 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 32.0 m (105 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 8.99 m (29 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 94.83 m² (1,020.4 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 14,600 kg (32,187 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 23,500 kg (51,808 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Dart Mk.542-10K turboprop engines, 2,250 kW (3,030 shp) each


  • Cruise speed: 454 km/h (245 knots, 282 mph)
  • Range: 2,200 km (1,188 NM, 1,367 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 6,982 m (22,900 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 6.2 m/s (1,220 ft/min)

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Airliner price index". 10 August 1972. p. 183. https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1972/1972%20-%202020.html. 
  2. Mecham, Michael; Anselmo, Joe (17 March 2008). "Mitsubishi Leads Japanese Aircraft Resurgence". Aviation Week & Space Technology. http://aviationweek.com/site-files/aviationweek.com/files/uploads/2014/10/AW_03_17_2008_p68-70.pdf. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Anselmo, Joe. "Milestone for the MRJ" Aviation Week & Space Technology, 24 October 2014. Accessed: 25 October 2014.
  4. Endres 1996, p. 22.
  5. Taylor 1966, p. 107.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Mercado, Steven C. (September 1995). "The YS-11 Project and Japan's Aerospace Potential". http://www.jpri.org/publications/occasionalpapers/op5.html. 
  7. JIRO HORIKOSHI, 78, DIES IN TOKYO; DESIGNER OF ZERO FIGHTER AIRCRAFT January 12, 1982 New York Times Retrieved September 8, 2016
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Endres 1996, p. 23.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Kudo, Ryuji (2017-09-08). "YS-11, a symbol of recovery from war, expensively gathering dust" (in en-us). The Asahi Shimbun. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709080001.html. 
  10. Odagiri, Hiroyuki (1996). Technology and Industrial Development in Japan. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-19-828802-2. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Endres 1996, p. 24.
  12. Endres 1996, pp. 26–27.
  13. Farewell to the wings of YS-11[dead link] Yomiuri Online (Yomiuri Shimbun)
  14. Hoyle, Craig (24 October 2014). "Big in Japan: Tokyo’s Top 10 aircraft projects". Flightglobal. Reed Business Information. http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/big-in-japan-tokyos-top-10-aircraft-projects-405209/. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "World Airline Census 2018" (in en-GB). https://www.flightglobal.com/asset/24536. 
  16. Endres 1996, pp. 24, 26.
  17. Endres 1996, p. 26.
  18. Flight International 2011 World Airliner Census, p.22; retrieved 31 August 2011
  19. Historical Aircraft – NAMC YS-11A Retrieved September 30, 2016
  20. Kawasaki XP-1 As YS-11 Replacement Airliners.net, military aviation and space forum
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  • Taylor, John W. R. (1966). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company. 

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