An Adventure Flight in the Nanchang


The Nanchang is owned and operated by Ian Lilley of Superior Air Adventures, based at the Benalla Aviation Museum, in conjunction with Military Air Training Heritage Pty Ltd.

The Chinese Nanchang CJ-6A (CJ stands for Chuji Jiaolianji, or 'Primary Trainer') is a more powerful version of the CJ-6, which first flew in 1958. The CJ-6A is believed to still be in service with the Chinese 'People's Liberation Army Air Force' and 'People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force' (PLANAF) today, along with other air forces including that of North Korea. The CJ-6A's design is based on Cold War Soviet philosophy, and includes the use of compressed air for starting the engine, retracting and extending the landing gear, flap operation and wheel brakes. Air is pressurised by a compressor driven by the engine, stored in a tank, and piped to the various services. There is a separate air tank to operate the services if the normal supply fails. The CJ-6A's structure is of aluminium 'stressed skin'. Control surfaces are metal frames covered with stretched fabric. Fuel is carried in two tanks, each located inside each wing structure. 'Nanchangs' are popular in Australia, the U.S. and Europe as affordable and reliable 'warbirds' with good performance and fuel economy.

Nanchang CJ–6A, VH–LNM, was manufactured in China in 1983.  Imported into Australia in 2003, it was an ex-People's Liberation Army Air Force machine, painted in a dull green colour.  After refurbishment, paint stripping and inspection, it was repainted in the colours of the People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF), or more simply, the air arm of the Chinese Navy.  Some Western flight instruments have been fitted to the cockpits, and a 'bubble' canopy has been fitted to the front cockpit for improved visibility, however the configuration of the rear cockpit has been left as close as possible to that used by Red Chinese pilots during the Cold War.

Technical specifications

Engine: Huosai 6A nine-cylinder air cooled radial engine of 285 hp, geared to drive a metal constant-speed (variable pitch) propeller.  The red 'gills' on the front of the engine are shutters controlled by the pilot to regulate airflow for engine temperature control.

Wing span: 10.22 m Length: 8.46 m Empty weight: 1,068 kg Maximum take-off weight: 1,400 kg Cruise speed: 140 knots (226 kph) Maximum speed (diving): 190 knots (306 kph) Landing speed: 75 knots (138 kph)