Monday, March 26, 2007

The Harbin Y-12IV The econobox of STOL

In today's money hungry aviation field, someone has made quite a bargin. And that someone would be Harbin Aviation of China. Not widely known in the west, yet already CAA certified due to joint production in Canada as the "Twin Panda". All of the 200 odd produced being sold to South American countries after fully westernizing the plane. Harbin astutely took their base Y-12 and produced the "E" and "IV" models slanted particularly at the west, based heavily on what happened with the "Twin Panda" project. The result is probably the most affordable small STOL airliner in it's class.
Looking a bit like a twin Otter with a double tail, the Y-12IV is the slowest of all our entries, but also the one with the greatest range. Almost double some of our other contestents.The aircraft has an accident shadow, but nearly all of the accidents were of the very early models, not one of the newer ones having any problems. The Y-12IV is said to cost around $2.25 million USD in 2005 terms. So far the few operators that have them, namely Pacific Airline fleets, seem to be very happy with them.

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