The Nanchang CJ-6 (Chinese: 初教6) is a Chinese basic trainer aircraft designed and built by the Nanchang Aircraft Factory (now Hongdu Aviation) for use by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

A Nanchang CJ-6A
Role Basic Trainer
Manufacturer Nanchang Aircraft Factory (Hongdu)
First flight August 27, 1958
Introduction 1960
Status Operational
Primary user People's Liberation Army Air Force
Produced 1958-present
Number built 2,000+
Nanchang CJ-6 in Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution

Development edit

Engine from PT-6A (export version of CJ-6) on display at Bangabandhu Military Museum,Bangladesh

The CJ-6 (Chu Jiao 初教 = Chuji Jiaolianji 初级教练机 = basic trainer aircraft) is an all-original Chinese design that is commonly mistaken for a Yak-18A. Its predecessor, the Nanchang CJ-5, was a licence-built version of the Yak-18. However, advancements in pilot training brought a need for a new aircraft with improved performance and a tricycle landing gear. When the Soviet Union developed the Yak-18A, PLAAF engineers decided that its performance and design would not suit China's needs.[1]

The aircraft was designed in 1958 by the Nanchang Aircraft Factory (now Hongdu Aviation). As the Shenyang Aircraft Factory already had experience building the Shenyang JJ-1 begun technical research for the CJ-6, more than 20 Shenyang designers were transferred to Nanchang, including chief designers Tu Jida and Lin Jiahua.[2] Xu Shunshou and Huang Zhiqian, then China's top aircraft designers, were also involved.[1]

During late 1957 Aeronautical Engineers Cheng Bushi and Lin Jiahua began work in Shenyang on a trainer design that addressed the shortcomings of the Yak-18A. The design they delivered featured an aluminum semi-monocoque fuselage, flush-riveted throughout, and introduced a modified Clark airfoil wing design with pronounced dihedral in the outer sections. The dihedral and an angular vertical tail distinguish it externally from the otherwise vaguely similar Yak-18A. Wind tunnel testing validated the design, and in May 1958 the program was transferred to the Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing factory where Chief Engineer Gao Zhenning initiated production of the CJ-6. The first flight of the CJ-6 was completed on August 27, 1958, by Lu Maofan and He Yinxi.

Power for the prototype was provided by a Czech-built horizontally-opposed piston engine, but flight testing revealed the need for more power, so a locally manufactured version of the Soviet AI-14P 260 hp radial, the Housai HS-6, was substituted along with a matching propeller, and with that change the CJ-6 was approved for mass production. In 1965 the HS-6 engine was upgraded to 285 hp and redesignated the HS-6A, and the aircraft equipped with the new power plant were designated the CJ-6A.

A total production run estimated at more than 3,000 aircraft supplied CJ-6 aircraft for PLAAF training, as well as for export (as the PT-6) to countries including Albania, Bangladesh, Cambodia, North Korea, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka.

It is expected Hongdu/Yakovlev joint developed CJ-7 Trainer (L-7) primary trainer will replace CJ-6s in PLAAF.

CJ-6 attained its civil aviation type certificate on February 28, 2019, more than 60 years after it entered military service in China.

General information edit

One thing to note is that the Nanchang CJ-6 makes extensive use of pneumatics to control the gear and flap extension/retraction, operate the brakes and start the engine. An engine-driven air pump recharges the system; however if air pressure is too low to start the engine then the onboard air tank can be recharged by an external source. If an external source is not available then the engine can be started by hand swinging the propeller.

Variants edit

A restored and repainted Nanchang CJ-6 is flown in adventure flights off the coast of Perth, Western Australia.
CJ-6 trainer used by "Thin Air Adventures" in Abbotsford Canada
CJ-6 trainer
Hongzhuan-502 (Hongzhuan - Red Craftsman)
Initial designation of production CJ-6 aircraft.
Two-seat primary trainer aircraft, powered by a 260-hp Zhuzhou Huosai HS-6 radial piston engine.
Improved version, powered by a 285-hp Zhuzhou Huosai HS-6A radial piston engine.
Two-seat armed border patrol aircraft, powered by a 300-hp Zhuzhou Huosai HS-6D radial piston engine. Small number built.
Export designation of the CJ-6 and CJ-6A.
Export version of the CJ-6A
Haiyan A (Haiyan - Petrel)
Haiyan Prototype. First flew on August 17, 1985.
Haiyan B
Single-seat agricultural topdressing, aerial spraying, fire-fighting aircraft, fitted with an upgraded 345-hp Huosai HS-6 radial piston engine.
Haiyan C
General aviation variant for agriculture and leisure flight.

Operators edit

Bangladesh Air Force PT-6
Sri Lanka Air Force PT-6
  People's Republic of China
  North Korea
  Sri Lanka

Civilian use edit

Due to its low price and sturdy construction, the CJ-6A is a popular hobby plane. A used CJ-6 in the United States can cost as little as $75,000.[5] The aircraft appears on the civil register of the US, Australia, New Zealand, UK, South Africa and other countries.

In Australia, CJ-6 aircraft are generally operated in the Limited Category. This is administered by the Australian Warbirds Association Limited (AWAL). The AWAL operates under an approval from the Australian government's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to manage the operation of ex-military aircraft.

Accidents and incidents edit

  • 5 July 2021: A privately owned CJ-6A was involved in a collision with a lawn maintenance machine while attempting to land at Saint-Esprit Aerodrome, killing the operator of the lawn machine and damaging the aircraft. The pilot was uninjured.[8]
  • 7 August 2023: A Sri Lanka Air Force Chinese-manufactured Nanchang CJ-6, also known as PT-6, a primary trainer aircraft, crashed shortly after departing from China Bay Airport, resulting in the fatalities of the two officers who were on board.[9] Following this incident, the Sri Lanka Air Force grounded the entire PT-6 aircraft fleet until a thorough investigation is conducted and completed.[10]

Specifications (CJ-6A) edit

Data from Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide [11]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 8.46 m (27 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.22 m (33 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)
  • Airfoil: root: Clark YH (14.5%); tip: Clark YH (9.3%)[12]
  • Empty weight: 1,095 kg (2,414 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,400 kg (3,086 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Zhouzhou (SMPMC) HS-6A radial engine, 213 kW (286 hp)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed variable-pitch propeller


  • Maximum speed: 300 km/h (190 mph, 160 kn)
  • Never exceed speed: 370 km/h (230 mph, 200 kn)
  • Range: 700 km (430 mi, 380 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 6,250 m (20,510 ft) +


  • Guns: 2 x 7.62 mm machine guns
  • Hardpoints: Weapons stations and hardpoints under the wings , with provisions to carry combinations of:
    • Rockets: Rocket launchers
    • Bombs: Bombs

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Nanchang CJ-6 trainer key design team members". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011.
  2. ^ ""南昌造"初教6 上万飞行员的"摇篮机"". People's Daily. 2018-08-28. Archived from the original on 2019-02-18. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  3. ^ a b "World Air Forces 2020". Flightglobal Insight. 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Ecuador Army Aviation Aircraft Types". Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  5. ^ "The best in Nanchang CJ-6 restoration, sales and service". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  6. ^ "SLAF PT-6 Crash in Kantale". Sri Lanka Air Force. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  7. ^ Hapuarachchi, Pavani (15 December 2020). "Update: SLAF trainer aircraft crash lands near Kantale". Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  8. ^ "TSB says Quebec pilot in fatal collision with lawn tractor didn't get OK for landing". CityNews Halifax. Retrieved 2023-03-26.
  9. ^ "PT–6 Crash in China Bay". Sri Lanka Air Force. 7 August 2023. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  10. ^ Balasuriya, Darshana Sanjeewa (8 August 2023). "SLAF temporarily grounds all PT-6 aircraft". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  11. ^ Rendall, David (1995). Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide. Glasgow, UK: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 505. ISBN 0-00-470980-2.
  12. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.

External links edit