The very first airliner manufactured in Japan after World War II was the NAMC YS-11. Powered by two of the famous Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines, it first flew on 30 August 1962. Hiroshima based Toa Airways put the aircraft into service in April 1965.

Typically seating 60 passengers, the YS-11 was designed to replace Douglas DC-3s on short haul routes. In production from 1962 to 1974, 182 aircraft were delivered, including 75 sold abroad to 19 customers in 15 countries.

NAMC YS-11 Video

Following on from last weeks video about the Boeing 747SP, this week we head to Japan for a look at the NAMC YS-11. NAMC stands for Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, in case you were wondering.

The video above runs for about 24 minutes. There is no narration but it does show you the YS-11 inside and out, with an interesting music soundtrack. You also get parts with no music and you can hear the sound of the Darts. From 13:28 to about 16:00 it switches to YS-11 memories with some cool vintage footage. Skip through it to whatever interests you!

NAMC YS-11 Operations in the United States

Hawaiian Airlines was the first operator in the United States, taking three on lease, one in November 1966 and two the following month. They only kept the for two years before phasing them out in favour of Douglas DC-9 jets.

A major operator was Piedmont who, in October 1967, ordered 10 aircraft at a cost of US$22.5 million along with 10 options. Those were exercised for another US$22.5 million and they also bought one more for a total of 21.

As reported in the New York Times, the NAMC YS-11 was the only one that could operate in an out of small, mountainous airports on an economical basis. Piedmont flew them from 1968 to 1982, a solid 14 years of accident free service.

Amusingly the only real problem was with the initial seats. They were too narrow and too hard for American passengers, so they had to be replaced with a larger, softer version.

Overall Thoughts

Japanese commercial operations ceased on 30 September 2006, though they continued on with airlines such as Asian Spirit in the Philippines and elsewhere after this date. None remain in commercial service, so there are no opportunities to fly on a YS-11 any longer.

Happily, Japan is currently working on a regional jet called the Mitsubishi SpaceJet, which is due to enter service sometime in 2020. In addition to Japan Airlines and ANA, both SkyWest and Trans States have ordered them in the USA. That means you’ll see them in the colours of a mainline airline there too.

Have you ever flown aboard a NAMC YS-11? What was it like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Peter Cook via Flickr.
Hawaiian Airlines by Elliot Epstein on
ANA YS-11 cabin by Cassiopeia sweet via Wikimedia Commons.