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Shanghai Y-10

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The Shanghai Y-10 was a four engined commercial passenger jet aircraft developed in the 1970s by Shanghai Aircraft Manufacture Factory (now known as Shanghai Aviation Industrial Company., or SAIC). The Y-10 designation stands for Yunshuji ("transport") model 10. The Y-10 is noteworthy in that it was a reverse-engineered design of the Boeing 707 Model 120 with some minor differences. After thawing relations with the West in 1972, China had acquired a Boeing 707 fleet but decided to forge ahead with its own jetliner that was free of dependence on foreign parts, except for the American engine.

The aircraft used Pratt & Whitney JT3D-7 turbofan engines, which were spares belonging to CAAC's small fleet of Boeing 707 aircraft. Shanghai had intended to use a Chinese-built Shanghai WS8 turbofan, but the Pratt & Whitney engine was selected before the WS8 could reach certification. The plane carried 178 in high-density, 149 in economy, or 124 in mixed-class. The flight deck had room for five crewmembers: pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator, and radio operator.


Development work began in August, 1970 for Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The plane was intended to serve as a demonstrator and help the Chinese industry obtain experience in large aircraft design and flight testing. The Y-10 development totalled 537.7 million yuan. The Chinese government prided itself on the program, citing a foreign press report that said, "After developing this kind of highly complex technology, one could no longer regard China as a backward country." However, the project was heavily tainted by politics since the beginning due to the fact that it was spearheaded by Wang Hongwen, one of the Gang of Four. It's worth noting that the strategic vision of an independently developed large transport plane had long been voiced by Mao Zedong and, in 2006, a similar project with updated design goals made its way into the Eleventh Five Year Plan, a periodic strategic socioeconomical development plan from the Chinese government.

Only two examples were built. The first prototype (01) was used for static testing. A second prototype (02) was used for flight testing. The plane first flew on September 26, 1980. Until its retirement in 1984 it made 130 flights with 170 hours of flying time, and visited Beijing, Harbin, Urumqi, Zhengzhou, Hefei, Guangzhou, Kunming, and Chengdu. It also flew seven times to Lhasa in Tibet.

However by the time the prototype was first flown, debate about its viability surfaced. The Y-10 was based on a design that was already 30 years old. It was rumored that CAAC, which already owned a modest Western fleet, would not purchase the plane. China was beginning to embrace trade with the West, and some saw the isolationist design as an inefficient throwback to Maoism. Furthermore, China in the early reform era was ruled by rehabilitated cadres previously persecuted in the Cultural Revolution by Wang Hongwen, the project initiator, resulting in the cancellation of the project in 1983, officially due to cost and market concerns. In fact, during its maiden flights, no governmental officials attended the ceremonies for fearing the connection to the Wang Hongwen and the Gang of Four. By 1985 SAMF had been granted production licensing for the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and shifted all efforts towards this program.

Specifications (Y-10)

Orthographically projected diagram of the Shanghai Y-10.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5 (pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator, radio operator)
  • Capacity: up to 178 passengers
  • Length: 42.93 m (140 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 42.24 m (138 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 13.42 m (44 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 244.5 m² (2,632 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 58,120 kg (128,130 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 110,227 kg (243,009 lb)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney JT3D-7 turbofans, 84.7 kN (19,000 lbf) each



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Designation sequence
Y-6 - Y-7 - Y-8 - Y-10 - Y-11 - Y-12 - Y-13

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