Design work on the YS-11 began in 1957 when the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MJTI) urged six of the country’s leading aviation companies to join forces in the development of what was to become Japan’s first postwar airliner. The ensuing joint design bureau became known as TADA (Transport Aircraft Development Association or Yusoki Sekkei Kekyu Kyokai). What finally came off the drawing boards was a conventional design, tailored for the Japanese domestic market. In 1959 TADA was replaced by NAMC (Nihon Aeroplane Manufacturing Company) to provide manufacturing and marketing capability. Among the participating companies, construction responsibilities were divided as follows: Fuji - tail unit; Japan Aircraft - control surfaces; Kawasaki - wings; Shin Meiwa- aft fuselage; Showa Aircraft - composite structures; and Mitsubishi - forward fuselage and final assembly.

Two prototypes were built by NAMC, each powered by two 3,060 h.p. Rolls-Royce Dart RDa.10/1MkP542 engines, plus two further airframes for static testing. Fifty-four YS-11s were to be built between 1963 and 1966, according to plans, for All-Nippon Airways (25), Japan Air Lines (about 10), the Japanese Defence Agency (10), the Maritime Safety Agency (2 for ASR) and the Meteorological Agency (four for weather observation).
The first flight came on August 30, 1962, when the YS-11 first took to the skies. Japan Domestic Airlines placed the type into service on April 1, 1965. A higher gross weight version, the YS-11A, became available in 1967. Not surprisingly, Japanese airlines were the largest customers, although Piedmont Airlines took delivery of 21 aircraft. Other customers included Hawaiian Airlines, Cruzeiro do Sul, VASP, and Olympic Airways.

Throughout its production life, the YS-11 was dependent on state subsidies. In 1971 the Japanese government announced that it would no longer provide financial backing and production ended two years later, with a total of 182 aircraft completed. Although from an economic point of view the YS-11 was a Y38 billion disaster for Japanese taxpayers, the airplane itself proved to be a solid and reliable design. Over the years, many YS-11s were passed on to smaller operators all over the world. Among these were a number of US-based companies, such as Mid Pacific Air, Provincetown-Boston Airline, Reeve Aleutian Airways, Simmons Airlines, Pinehurst Airlines, and Airborne Express.

112 of the YS-11 were in service in 1981, the largest operators being TDA with 42 and ANA with 34. The fleet has totalled more than three million hours.


Engines: two 3,060 h.p. Rolls-Royce Dart RDa.10/1MkP542
Span: 105 ft
Length: 86 ft 3 in
Height: 30 ft
Gross weight: 50,265 lb
Empty weight (equipped): 31,970 lb
Max cruising speed at 20,000ft: 296 mph
Econ cruising speed at 20,000ft: 288 mph
Max rate of climb at SL: l,520 ft/min
Service ceiling: 27,500 ft
TO field length (SR422B): 2,900 ft;
Landing field length (SK422B): 3,790 ft
Range max fuel/ 5,4001b load, res 230-mile & 45min: 1,485 miles
Range with max payload, same res: 380 miles


Engines: 2 x RR Dart
Length: 26.3m (86.3ft)
Wing span: 32m (105ft)
MTOW: 25,000kg (55,115kg)
Max payload: 5,900kg (13,000lb)
Economical cruise: 245kt
ROC: 800fpm at l40kt
Takeoff dist: 1,200m (3,940ft)
Landing dist: 1,000m (3,280ft)
Range (max fuel): 1,735nm
Range (max load): 600nm

Engines: 2 x RR Dart