CJ-6A 'Nanchang' Fighter Plane

Built under license for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in China, the basic Yak-18 was known as the Nanchang CJ-5. Produced at the Nanchang Aircraft Factory from 1954 through 1958, the design showed deficiencies for jet pilot training that led the Chinese to independently design a more modern aircraft.

The result, the CJ-6, was a completely new aircraft design. The wing root section is identical to the Beechcraft T-34 Mentor – the USAAF’s equivalent training aircraft, on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The new aircraft featured fully retracting landing gear, unlike the Soviet style semi-retractable gear and a completely flush riveted aluminium alloy construction.

The CJ–6 has so many rivets it makes you wonder whether The People’s Rivet Factory was having a clearance sale. The fact that they’re so overbuilt and required so much labor provides peace of mind to those pulling Gs in them now. That inherent strength makes the CJ–6 a robust aerobatic performer.

The CJ-6A boasts excellent control harmony, with good rate of roll while at the same time being stable enough to be used as an all-weather instrument platform. It stands on rugged trailing link undercarriage built to withstand enormous landing loads.

The airframe is certified to +6G and -3G. This is a conservative limit for the heavy duty construction methods used in this aircraft, which is one of the most overbuilt and sturdy types flying in Australia.

The CJ-6A was manufactured up until June 2011, when the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force finally replaced it with the updated composite 2 seat training aircraft. Still powered by the powerful and reliable M-14 engine from which the CJ-6’s engine is derived, the new Nanchang CJ-7 is replacing the trusty CJ-6A after over 50 years of service.


  • Maximum level speed: 165 kts (310 km/h)
  • Maximum dive speed: 194 kts (360 km/h)
  • Landing speed: 75 kts (140 km/h)
  • Operating ceiling: 17,000 ft (5,200 m)
  • Range: 500 km with reserves