MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Japanese turboprop Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (NAMC) YS-11 made its maiden flight from Nagoya Airport (NKM) in 1962.

Development of the airliner began in the mid-1950s. The Japanese government wanted to create a replacement for the venerable Douglas DC-3.

ANA was a major operator of the NAMC YS-11 under the ANK/Air Nippon banner. The final example was retired in September 2006. (Photo: Alan Wilson from Peterborough, Cambs, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Global Competitor


The aircraft was seen to be key in reviving the nation’s aviation business following World War II, as well as developing itself into a major competitor in the global airliner business.

Indeed, with accommodation for 60 passengers, the YS-11 had 50% more seats than its Dutch rival the Fokker F27 ‘Friendship.’ It was also powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart engines, unlike its British contemporary the Vickers Viscount which had four. Despite this, the YS-11 performance easily matched the Viscount.

However, testing of the type was not straightforward. Issues with excessive noise and vibration, tendencies to stray to the right due to its propellors’ wake and poor maneuverability. These issues were eventually resolved and the YS-11 entered revenue service with Tao Airways in April 1965.

Piedmont Airlines would operate 21 NAMC YS-11s. N254P is pictured here at Washington National Airport (DCA). (Photo: RuthAS, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

US Success


Following the development of an upgraded version designated the YS-11A, orders from the US market commenced. Hawaiian Airlines (HA) became the first operator in 1966 after the signing of a lease agreement with NAMC.

The largest international operator of the type was Piedmont Airlines (PT), who ordered ten with options on a further ten in October 1967. Following a successful entry-in-to-service, PT exercised all options and added a further model to its fleet.

The final YS-11 to be built was delivered to Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force. 182 of the type had been built.


Featured image: Japan Air Commuter operated 12 YS-11s between 1988 and 2006. (Photo: Amayagan, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)