A little-known Airliner, a little-known Airline

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The YS-11 by NAMC (Nihon Aeroplane Manufacturing Company) was a 1960s turboprop (60-seater) aircraft that was the only true Japanese entry into commercial aviation. It was built by a joint venture of five (or so) companies that included: (Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Fuji) heavy industries. BTW, all these three companies have played a role, more recently, in the production of B787. One of the primary designers of YS-11 was Jiro Horikoshi, who was responsible for the famous WW II fighter, A6M Zero.

The YS-11 can be said to consist of, "U.S. Parts + British Engines + Japanese Assembly" e.g. the aluminum was from ALCOA, the landing gear from Goodyear, and of course the Rolls-Royce engines were British. It was a highly capable (and well-liked) aircraft, known for its superior performance (and capacity) in hot and high (short-runway) conditions of the time. It even broke through to the U.S. market for Piedmont Airlines. “We searched the world over for a plane which would operate safely in and out of small, mountainous airports,” had said, president of the company. “The YS-11 was the only one we could find which would do it on an economical basis.” Piedmont officials had said the YS-11 had the best power weight ratio — it could lift more weight out of the (Appalachian) mountain airports than any American (Convair was one of the primary competitors) or other plane they could find. YS-11's advantage came because of the state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce Turboprop (Dart) engines - the same ones that had powered the Vickers Viscount. However, there was just one place where the Japanese engineers miscalculated; their error, which they fixed soon, was anatomical rather than mechanical: the first planes had seats (built to Japanese standards) were too narrow (and too hard) for American consumers...

The livery, I've selected to fly here, is for SWAL (Southwest Air Lines - not to be confused with the U.S. (low-cost) carrier Southwest Airlines). This Southwest Air Lines had operated domestic services, in Japan, since 1967. It changed its name to JTA (Japan Transocean Air) in July 1993, is now majority-owned by JAL (Japan Airlines), and no longer flies any YS-11. For scenery, I've fallen back to one of my least-used (Orbx) add-ons, the Wales, for a dusk flight, north to south on the western part of the country, mostly across rolling hills, from Warton Aerodrome (EGNO) to Cardiff Airport (EGFF). One interesting observation: On approach to Cardiff, in one of the shots, you can locate the (coal-powered) Aberthaw Power Station, a prominent landmark on the South Wales coast (initially I thought it was a Nuclear Power Station). Thanks for viewing these images of this (SIM) plane, may not be high-fidelity, but certainly unique in its own right. [Aerosim(YS-11)/Orbx(Wales)/REX]





















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Very nice! I used to work at Warton. I left about 20 years ago. 

I use another Night Environment product (not ORBX), and VFR Real 3D photo scenery for the UK.

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Thanks, Mark. It always feels good to come across a place (or plane) around here, that one has had some association with (in RL) in the past.

And, about VFR Real 3D photo scenery U.K., I recall you had posted a few pictures here. That’s good stuff!

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**More Great Aviation History** Love The Cockpit Shot**

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Nice post, appreciate the history you provided.

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