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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: Yak-55M as competition airplane


Thread: Yak-55M as competition airplane

Message: Yak-55M as competition airplane

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From: Klein Gilhousen <kleing at>

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 22:06:39 UTC


  At 12:58 PM -0700 2/26/97, lee mckerracher wrote:
>     Hi There,
>     Just out of interest, how do you find the Yak 55M as a competition
>     aeroplane?

I took delivery on my Yak-55M about 20 months ago.  Since then I've put
about 210 hours on it, run a few thousand gallons of 100LL through it, and
competed in five contests.  This is my first aerobatic airplane and these
were my first contests.

The first contest I entered sportsman, finished third + best first time
sportsman.  I have competed in intermediate since then.  I managed a good
solid last place finish the first three of these due to my own mistakes
(and one where I couldn't get the Yak to start for the 3rd flight) and
finished middle of the pack in the last contest.  I'm contemplating flying
in advanced for '97, especially after looking over and flying the '97
intermediate known which looks like a sportsman routine to me except for
the inclusion of a snap roll.

I have seen the type well competed in advanced and even unlimited by
another pilot** (Mitch Travis).  I'd say that the biggest problem is that
it's big and and appears slow so that every little error is easy to see.
Mitch says the fix for this is to FLY FASTER, lots faster.  Of course, when
you're flying perfectly then the judges will also see that.  ;-)  ;-)
(Hey, I can be an optimist, can't I?)  Some have said that it's tricky to
fly well.  I wouldn't know about that as it's the only plane I have much
experience in.  My belief is that with enough critique, I could get to the
point of consistently bringing home trophies in intermediate.  Advanced
also looks do-able but it'll cost me a few thousand gallons of 100LL to get
ready.  Unlimited??  Ask Mitch.

The airplane has, with a few exceptions, been problem free.  The starting
system in the airplane, as it was delived to me, was inadequate.  Mitch
fixed it up for me last summer by adding an air pump unloading valve,
replacing the overpressure valve and rearranging things a bit.  Now it
holds air indefinitely instead of maybe overnight as it was.  He also
replaced the Russian generator with a lightweight B&C alternator and the
Russian Ni-Cd battery with a sealed lead acid.  Electrical is MUCH better
now.  Without good electrical for the shower of sparts, it won't start no
matter how much air you've got in the air tank.  (Fortunately, it always
starts right up when hand propped.)  I've also replaced the original two
bladed prop for a three blade MT.  Much better verticals now (and they were
pretty good before.)  The only thing that has broken was the tachometer
generator.  Getting a replacement part took only one day and it was cheap.
This is the only maintenance I've had to do except for oil changes.
Probably the cheapest plane to operate I've ever owned.

Klein Gilhousen
Bozeman, MT
Yak-55M N41126

** At the Pendleton, OR contest last September, only one unlimited
competitor showed up.  So Mitch Travis who'd been flying Advanced in his
Yak-55M, gamely agreed to "move up" to unlimited so there'd be a full five
category contest.  Mitch had never before flown the known, nor did he have
a free style worked out.  So he asked another unlimited Sukhoi driver who
was not at the contest to fax him his freestyle.  The first time Mitch ever
flew either the "known" or the freestyle was in the contest.  So, for
Mitch, it was a three unknown flight contest.  Given all these handicaps,
Mitch did amazingly well.  I was proud of the way he made his Yak perform.


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn