June 10, 2023

There may be loads of dialogue today about China and the event of latest plane – together with the COMAC C919. That is on no account the primary plane in-built China, nevertheless. China was constructing some Soviet plane beneath license within the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, and shortly after began its personal plane improvement. One of many earlier massive passenger plane was the four-engine narrowbody Shanghai Y-10. It was designed based mostly on the Boeing 707, however solely three plane had been ever constructed.

Improvement within the Seventies

China developed an aviation manufacturing business quickly after 1949, nevertheless it was extremely reliant on the licensed meeting of different plane, such because the Xian H-6 (based mostly on the Tupolev Tu-16). Growing a home design and manufacturing business was seen as an necessary step, and would replicate the talents and improvement of the nation.


One of many earliest such tasks was carried out in Shanghai by the Shanghai Plane Manufacturing Manufacturing unit. It designed a brand new plane (recognized throughout improvement as “708”) to showcase the talents of the nation and promote additional plane improvement.

A serious focus of China’s opening up coverage on the time was to import abilities and expertise from Western nations. To design the Shanghai Y-10, the corporate reverse-engineered the Boeing 707. Opinions differ as to how this was achieved – and to what extent – however it’s clear there are a lot of similarities between the plane and the Boeing 707 and Boeing 720. A Pakistan Airways Boeing 707 crashed in China in 1970, and a few imagine that this was used as a part of the research for the brand new plane.

Designing and establishing the Y-10

Improvement of the Y-10 continued all through the Seventies. A lot of this was based mostly on specs and design of the Boeing 707/720 however engineered and constructed domestically in China.

The Boeing 720 was a shorter variant of the Boeing 707, designed for decrease capability flights and operation from shorter runways. The Y-10 really extra carefully matched the Boeing 720 in capability and airframe measurement, however the Boeing 707 in vary. The Y-10 has a fuselage size of 42.9 meters, in comparison with the Boeing 707-320 at 46.6 meters and the Boeing 720 at 41.7 meters.

The Y-10 carefully matched the Boeing 720. Picture: Getty Pictures.

The engines, in fact, had been a giant a part of the plane design. It was deliberate to make use of domestically constructed engines, from the Aero Engine Company of China (AECC). It had already constructed engines for domestically constructed plane – largely smaller army plane, although. The WS-8 turbojet engine was deliberate for the Y-10, nevertheless it was by no means efficiently constructed. As a substitute, the Y-10 used the identical Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofan engines because the Boeing 707.

Three prototype plane had been constructed

Finally, solely three Y-10 plane had been ever constructed. These had been all launched as prototypes by the Shanghai Plane Manufacturing Manufacturing unit. All three had been used for flight testing (one only for static floor testing), however they didn’t enter common airline service.

This was as a result of route and state of the nationwide airline, CAAC, on the time. CAAC (the Civil Aviation Administration of China) was each the regulator and monopoly operator within the early days of aviation in China. It was arrange in 1949, with its airline division CAAC Airways arrange in 1952. It was not till 1988 that CAAC was break up up into separate regional airways.

Planning and improvement of the Shanghai Y-10 had taken a very long time, and in the end, CAAC had already sourced plane from different nations. By the point the Y-10 first flew in 1980, CAAC was already working many plane varieties, together with the Boeing 707 and the Soviet Ilyushin Il-62 quadjet. It merely didn’t want the Y-10, and this system quickly got here to an in depth.

There was little curiosity in revitalizing an previous program (with hyperlinks to Maoism and the times of the Cultural Revolution). And the Shanghai Plane Manufacturing Manufacturing unit had shifted consideration to different applications, such because the licensed manufacturing of the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80.

China is now rising as a major plane producer. Its curiosity and success on this began a lot earlier, although. Be happy to debate these early tasks, or newer ones, additional within the feedback.