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Harbin Y-12

Twin-Engine Turboprop Utility Aircraft

The Harbin Y-12 serves as a turboprop utility platform for a plethora of global operators including China and its PLAAF.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/7/2018
The Y-12 is a modern, high-winged twin-turboprop-powered utility aircraft designed, developed, and manufactured by the local concern of Harbin Aircraft Industry Group of China. First flown on July 14th, 1982, the aircraft has been in constant production since service entry occurred in 1985. The type serves a myriad of operators on several continents, these customers ranging from Cambodia and Djibouti to Uganda and Zambia (though its primary user remains China). Its versatile design is such that the aircraft can serve at the military, government, and civilian levels.

The high-wing arrangement provides for excellent lift and drag properties, giving the Y-12 equally-excellent short-field / rough-field capabilities. The mainplanes are braced by thick struts emanating from the lower sides of the fuselage. The cockpit carries its crew of two in a side-by-side seating arrangement with good views had over the short nosecone. The fuselage is slab-sided to better serve internal volume and the empennage raises as it tapers to the rear. Rectangular windows run along the sides of the fuselage. The tail unit is completed by a single, clipped vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage of the Y-12, of three-wheeled design, is fixed for simplicity and ruggedness.

Origins of the Y-12 are based in the earlier Y-11, an aircraft also developed by Harbin, and this product was another twin-engined, high-winged performer of similar form and function (though only about 50 were produced). The goal of the new program was to expound upon the stronger qualities of the earlier Y-11 so improvements were instituted throughout the design. Dimensions increased and all-new mainplane members were forged as the project moved along during the early 1980s. A single prototype was used to prove the Y-12 design sound.

Once approved, the Y-12 entered production with thirty early-form aircraft designated as "Y-12 (I)". These carried a pair of American-Canadian Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6A-11 turboprops of 500 horsepower each. More improvements followed (including the introduction of uprated PWC PT6A-27 engines), once in service, to produce the "Y-12 (II)" designation. The series was then officially certified for Chinese airspace in 1985.

The "Y-12 (III)" was in the works with the indigenous WJ-9 turboprop to power it and this mark eventually became the Y-12C in service. The 19-seat "Y-12 (IV)", certified around 1995, became an improved model with increased wingspan and modified wingtips.

The Y-12D serves the Chinese Army in the parachute training role and sports four-bladed propeller units. The Y-12E, certified around 2006, has seating for 18 and is driven by 2 x PWC PT6A-135A engines with four-bladed propellers.

The Y-12F is a heavily-modified variant featuring all-new wing mainplanes, larger fuselage, more powerful engines (PWC PT6A-65B), and a wholly-retractable wheeled undercarriage. Performance of this model is improved over earlier marks. A first-flight of this aircraft was recorded in December of 2010 and the type was certified before the end of 2015. The Y-12G is its proposed cargo-minded variant.


Active, In-Service
[ 400 Units ] :
Harbin Aircraft Industry Group - China
National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Cambodia National flag of China National flag of Colombia National flag of Democratic Republic of the Congo National flag of Djibouti National flag of Eritrea National flag of Ghana National flag of Guyana National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iran National flag of Kenya National flag of Kiribati National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mali National flag of Mauritania National flag of Mongolia National flag of Myanmar National flag of Namibia National flag of Nepal National flag of Pakistan National flag of Paraguay National flag of Peru National flag of Republic of the Congo National flag of Seychelles National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Tanzania National flag of Tonga National flag of Uganda National flag of Zambia Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ghana; Guyana; Indonesia; Iran; Kenya; Kiribati; Malaysia; Mali; Mauritania; Micronesia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Pakistan; Paraguay; Peru; Republic of the Congo; Seychelles; Sri Lanka; Tanzania; Tonga; Uganda; Zambia
- Transport
61.84 ft (18.85 m)
56.59 ft (17.25 m)
18.64 ft (5.68 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Harbin Y-12 production model)
Empty Weight:
6,283 lb (2,850 kg)
11,684 lb (5,300 kg)
(Diff: +5,401lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Harbin Y-12 production model)
2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop engines developing 620 horsepower each and driving four-bladed propeller units.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Harbin Y-12 production model)
Maximum Speed:
205 mph (330 kph; 178 kts)
Service Ceiling:
22,966 feet (7,000 m; 4.35 miles)
Maximum Range:
839 miles (1,350 km; 729 nm)
1,600 ft/min (488 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Harbin Y-12 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Harbin Y-12 production model)
Y-12 - Base Series Designation
Y-12 (I) - Initial form; fitted with PWC PT6A-11 turboprop engines of 500 horsepower each; serving as prototype and about 30 pre-series/early-series aircraft.
Y-12 (II) - Improved model with uprated PT6A-27 engines offering enhanced performance and capabilities.
Y-12 (III) - Power from WJ-9 turboprop
Y-12 (IV) / Y-12C - Improved III-model with increased wingspan and modified wingtips; 19-seat passenger capacity; WJ-9 turboprops used in Y-12C.
Y-12D - Chinese Army variant used in parachute training; four-bladed propellers.
Y-12E - Powered by PT6A-135A engines; four-bladed propellers.
Y-12F - Extensively modified variant with retractable undercarriage, more powerful engines, larger dimensions, and all-new wings.
Y-12G - Cargo-minded variant of the Y-12F
"Turbo Panda" - Now-abandoned English/Japanese venture; based in the Y-12 (II).
Twin Panda" - Abadoned initiative based in the Y-12 (II).

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