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Review: A1R Design Bureau - Yak-55M


Publisher: A1R Design Bureau

Review Author:
Ray Andersen

Suggested Price:




The Yak-55 is a single seated, singleengine, high powered all-metal cantilever aerobatic monoplane built byYakolev since the early 1980's. The aircraft features a tailwheelconfiguration with fixed titanium sprung main landing gear. Anabundance of power is provided with the 360 horsepower Vedeneyev M14P9-cylinder radial engine driving a two-bladed V-530TA-D35propeller. Additionally the aircraft features a teardrop slidingcanopy and wings mounted midway up the fuselage and which are builtwith a thick and symmetrical section to aid inverted flights.

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The M-version covered in this review, is an updated versionfeaturing smaller wings to meet the high requirements of roll ratedemands of DOSAAF. The Yak-55M achieves an impressive roll rate of 345degrees per second as well as a g-limitation of -6 to +9. The aircraftstalls at 100 km/h (54 knots) and has a never exceed speed of 450 km/h(240 knots). A total of 106 M-version aircraft were built by the endof 1993 and the aircraft has proved itself very successful in variousaerobatic competitions at all levels.

General Information And Aircraft Specs:

  • Produced by Yakolev
  • National Origin Soviet Union
  • First Flight 28th of May 1981 (Yak-55)
  • First Flight May 1989 (Yak-55M)
  • Role Aerobatic monoplane
  • Built 106 aircraft (M-version) until 1993; 108 aircraft (55-version)
  • Status Active
  • Crew 1
  • Capacity 1
  • Length 23 ft 11 in (7.29 m)
  • Height 9 ft 2 in (2.80 m)
  • Wingspan 26 ft 7 in (8.10 m)
  • Wing Area 138 sq ft (12.8 m2)
  • Gross Weight 1,885 lb (855 kg) for aerobatics
  • MTOW 2,150 lb (975 kg) for ferry flights
  • Power Plant 1x Vedeneyev M14P 9-cylinder radial engine - 268.5 kW / 360.1 hp
  • Max Speed 165 kn (190 mph / 305 km/h)
  • Stall Speed 54 kn (62 mph / 100 km/h)
  • Ferry Range 381 nmi (438 mi / 705 km)
  • Vne Speed 240 kn (280 mph / 450 km/h)
  • Rate of Climb 3,050 ft/min (15.5 m/s)
  • G-limits +9, -6
  • Roll Rate 345 degrees per second

Purchase, Download And Installation

I purchased this add-on at store.flightsim.com and the purchase andthe download went easily and without any issues. The file downloadedis named ADB-120-YAK-55M-FSX-P3D.ZIP and is a 223 MB zip file which onlytook about 1 1/2 minute to download due to a very good connection tothe download server.

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The installation was also very easy - the included installationwizard took care of the entire installation which also only took a fewmoments. There were no current updates available to the versioninstalled so the version tested is the version v1.1 forPrepar3D v4+.

The installation wizard features an 'Auto-Find' the correctinstallation folder which is the standard P3D directory. This you canof course always override during the installation process and therebyselect your preferred installation folder. As info, LM recommends notto install inside the main P3D directory probably due to potentialissues when upgrading the platform.

After the installation was completed I entered the virtual hangarand found the aircraft perfectly placed within the virtual hangar,with one model and a total of five liveries.

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Included in the pack is also a 28 page PDF manual featuring variousbasic information as a quick overview, recommended settings, specs,diagrams, performance, limitations, a beautiful overview of theinstrumentation with explanations, a complete checklist frompre-flight inspection to engine shut-down and so on. The manual iseasy to read and I recommend going through it before taking theaircraft for the first spin. The manual can be located in the aircraftfolder and during the installation process you are also able to createa desktop icon for the manual.

I did not find any other tool or similar to support this aircraftadd-on.


I started my test with a complete walk around the aircraft justlike a pre-flight inspection, and this to get a complete view of theaircraft from all sides. The aircraft is bigger than I had expectedfor an aerobatic bird but very streamlined and very beautiful.

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The model features the unique designs of the aircraft such as thetall main landing gear, the sliding canopy and the wings placed midwayup on the fuselage - I compared the model with several pictures of thereal aircraft which I found online, and the resemblance was reallygood. It seems that there has been a lot of focus on creating thisbird in accordance to real life and A1R Design has done this withgreat success.

The textures used are high quality multi-layer textures that arebeautifully created. The textures show the aircraft as being used butvery well maintained and polished which looks great and gives a veryrealistic visual experience of the aircraft. Also the textures shows agreat many details of the model, the wings and the fuselage - evendown to the small markings, rivets, curves and other specific details- I am very impressed by the visual appearance of this model.

There are not that many animations included in this model - this ofcourse is fair enough since this aircraft in real life does notfeature that many movable parts. All animations are very well createdwith a realistic appearance and motion. The animations are thesliding canopy, the controls being the ailerons, the rudder and theelevator, also rotating wheels and gear suspension are included aswell as the propeller and the exhaust pipes underneath the enginecowl.

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I did not find that many effects included in the model. You have asmoke effect when starting up the engine where the smoke first startsas a short time, medium dense, dark smoke which appears on the tophalf of the engine and hereafter there comes a less dense white/greysmoke below the engine which is quickly blown away by thepropellers. The quality of the smoke looked very similar to thedefault engine smoke from the P3Dv4 platform.

I could not find the light switch for either the external nor theinternal lights - also I could not find any external lights on themodel like beacon, wingtip or landing lights which probably is verywell in accordance to real life... I don't really know. Strangethough, because this is the first time I have tested an aircraftwithout any lights and this surely limits the usage of this aircraftfor daytime operations only.

The model is very authentic and true to real life as I can see it,and the experience and the atmosphere created around this aircraft isreally good and provided me with a very realistic experience.

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If you click 'Shift+2' a window appears where you are able toconfigure a few details - e.g. the aerobatic angle mounted on thewingtip to aid the pilot during aerobatics, but also a tie-down forparking, show/hide the pilot and covers for the pitot-tube. Here youcan also select a few options for the virtual cockpit which I'll getback to in the section for the internals. For the tie-down andmounting/de-mounting the aerobatic angle you need to be on ground withthe engine off and at a standstill, otherwise the features will not beimplemented.

I did not find any pre-flight inspection tool or a virtualmaintenance hangar or similar tool which I have seen in other add-ons,however, overall I am certainly very impressed with the model, theaccuracy and the level of detailing and quality.



After the walk around the exterior of the aircraft I now climbedinside to view the cockpit. There is no 2D cockpit included in thisadd-on but instead a very beautiful and realistic virtual cockpit. Thecockpit is quite simple meaning not very complex with a lot of systemsand switches, etc. however, looking around in the virtual cockpit wasstill quite an experience.

I absolutely love the authenticity created with this bird - here Irefer to all the legends found around in the virtual cockpit;they are not in English and for me impossible to understand. Of courseI could recognize most of the instruments but it was still quite achallenge to get the quick overview of the functionality of thevarious buttons and switches and levers - here the manual helped meout a lot and I later found out that I could just place the mousecurser over a switch, and the legend would now pop-up / appear inEnglish. The legends in the original language are really an awesomedetail which absolutely provides and creates a superb authenticexperience for the simmer.

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The textures used are high quality multi-layer textures, showing avery realistic environment with some degree of wear and tear and lotsof details. The gauges are beautiful and very realistic and in generallooking around the virtual cockpit was a really good experience. The3D experience is perfect and the finish is really beautiful andrealistic, and my experience was certainly like being inside a realYak-55M cockpit.

The cockpit can be slightly modified using the 'Shift+2' command asshortly described in the section of the exterior - here you are ableto add e.g. a transponder and select if you want the altimeter to showthe altitude in meters or in feet. Here you are also able to make aquick start-up of the engine as well as a quick shut-down.

There are several animations included such as the control stick,the throttle, the rudder and the gauges, switches and the canopy,etc. All animations are very well made with a smooth and realisticmotion that fits the model and adds to the overall experience of theaircraft.

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I did not see that many effects in the virtual cockpit - there wasno light effect but when starting up the engine there was a kind ofsmall cockpit panel shake effect which was nice. I also noticed thatwhen taxiing over a rough surface such as grass, the g-meter needle wouldbounce up and down. The effect on the instrument needles was howeveronly limited to the g-meter needle. This could have been nice to seean impact on all the other instruments as well.

Overall my experience of the virtual cockpit is great - veryrealistic, very authentic and absolutely an awesome experience.


The sounds included in the Yak-55M add-on covers the completeengine rpm sounds as well as start-up and shutdown of theengine. There are also an environmental sound set covering the soundof clicking a switch or a button, moving a lever and sliding thecanopy open/closed. The aircraft features no flaps or retractable gearand therefor there are of course no sounds for these movements.

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The sound of the engine is absolutely awesome - there is a deeprumble when the engine is at idle and that rumble just sounds likepower getting ready to be released. Both inside the cockpit as well asoutside, the engine is very loud especially when throttling up to maxpower setting - The quality of the engine sound is superb and veryrealistic. I found a few movies on YouTube so that I could reasonablycompare the engine sound against the real world sound, and theresemblance is in my opinion really good.

The environmental sounds are also good quality and overall thesound sets included in this add-on absolutely helps in creating a veryauthentic and certainly a very realistic environment and experience offlying this awesome bird.

I tested the sound in first ordinary stereo, then in a 2.1 setupfeaturing two front speakers and an active sub and finally in acomplete 7.1 surround sound setup - the sounds performed perfectly inall tests. I certainly would recommend using the 7.1 setup for such anawesome engine sound - that really gave me goose bumps.

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Flight Dynamics And Characteristics

I started my flight tests by climbing inside the cockpit andstarting up the engine - already now I was very excited simply becausethe rumble from the engine is just so awesome. The view from thecockpit is good but since this aircraft features a tailwheelconfiguration, the nose position is of course rather high minimizingthe forward view - this does make the aircraft more difficult to taxibecause you either have to lean much to one of the sides or raise theseat all the way up.

The taxi from the apron to the runway was still easy - whenthrottling up the engine, the propeller quickly reached enough powerto make the aircraft roll and I could taxi the aircraft with a verylow rpm setting. Controlling the aircraft using the rudder is fair -the reaction is quick and firm and the same with the wheel brakes,they are very efficient and will stop the aircraft very fast.

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Performing the takeoff can be done with either full power whichmakes the takeoff roll very short, or you can apply just about 25%throttle and the aircraft will still gain enough speed to be able totake off in a slow and comfortable manner. If you take off with aquick increase of throttle you will encounter a fair torque to theright side due to the propeller however, this is easily compensated byapplying some left rudder.

It is very much fun to perform a climb in this aircraft because youcan almost climb the aircraft with a 90 degrees nose up - the engineis really powerful and the aircraft has a very low weight.

In general this aircraft is very easy to fly, the controls are firmand the reaction time for control inputs on each element (aileron,elevator and rudder) is immediately executed. Cruising is veryrelaxing if you trim the aircraft properly - it almost flies itselfand you have a superb view almost all 360 degrees around.

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Performing aerobatics I quickly realized that this was exactly whatthis aircraft was designed to do - it rolls extremely quickly and youare able to do all thinkable aerobatic maneuvers without that mucheffort. Even flying inverted is super easy which probably is due tothe design of the wings. One thing I did notice was that you have tobe a bit careful on pulling the stick, because I found that theaircraft tends to go into a high-speed stall easily. I also tested theaircraft's ability to perform a 'Skip-Stewart' and this aircraft doesit super easily just like the Pitts models - the maneuver is done at afew feet in the air where you raise the nose high while making anaggressive bank angle and rudder in the opposite direction - herekeeping the flight line straight along the runway and the altitude atthe same height all the way.

The aircraft stalls easily as I mentioned in regards to thehigh-speed stalls, but a regular or ordinary stall is also easy toprovoke. When flying the aircraft close to the stalling speed you dohave to be very cautious or you will encounter a stall and a possiblespin afterwards. When the aircraft stalls the aircraft flips oververy quickly and if you try to counteract the roll, you will mosttimes over-control the aircraft resulting in an opposite roll beforeentering the spin. Absolutely a lot of fun for an aerobatic personlike me, but also something you need to be aware of when flying alanding pattern.

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Landing the Yak-55M is overall quite easy, however it can also berather challenging - of course during stormy weather conditionseverything can be challenging and especially when the controls are soresponsive as in this aircraft. What I discovered during severalapproaches and landings was that when you cut the power setting toidle, the aircraft only slows down very slowly, and this can be anissue on shorter fields. The aircraft just keeps on flying and theflair tends to come a long way down the runway - I know that I ofcourse could just come in lower and at a lower airspeed, but myexperience with the stalling of this aircraft tells me to have alittle more airspeed available as safety on both base and final.

I also tried coming in high on final and this was a nice experience- using the side-slip maneuver works great with this aircraft. Theaircraft is easy to control in this maneuver and the result is ahigher descent rate with a superb view of the runway and thesurroundings.

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Touching down and applying the wheel brakes will decrease yourspeed and at first I was a bit worried if I would over-brake theaircraft thereby lifting the tail and smashing the nose and propellerinto the ground, but this was not possible - no matter how fast I camedown the runway and how much I held the wheel brakes, the tail neverlifted... This I do find a bit strange and I would think it is notthat true to real life.


To wrap up my experience of the Yak-55M created by A1R Design,then this is a really well made, high quality aircraft add-on thatsurely will provide the simmer with a realistic and awesome aerobaticexperience.

The aircraft model is very well made and resembles the real Yak-55Mbeautifully. There has been a lot of focus on the details and thetextures used are high quality multi-layer textures, that brings theaircraft to life and support the realistic atmosphere surrounding thisbird.

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The cockpit is high quality with great work on details, texturesand overall the entire environment and I absolutely love the legendswhich are in the original language. Superb detail!

I find this aircraft to be very realistic in both its appearanceexternally and internally but also in regards to the sounds and theflight dynamics. The aircraft is very sensitive on the controls andcertainly an excellent aerobatic bird for sure.

If you like to test your skills within the aerobatic world, thenthis is an aircraft that I most certainly can recommend trying out. Itwill put your skills to the test and bring you lots of fun when youfinally master it.

I rate the Yak-55M with a good 4.5 out of 5 stars - truly anexceptional experience I had testing this aircraft and I would like tothank A1R Designs for creating this beautiful aircraft.

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Review Computer Specifications:

  • Windows 10 (64 bit)
  • Windows 7 (32 bit) (secondary system)
  • Intel Core™ i7-4790K 4x4.00 GHz (Turbo 4x4.40 GHz)
  • Asus Maximus VII Ranger (ROG-series)
  • Antec Kuhler H20 650 Water Cooler
  • Kingston HyperX Beast-series 32 GB DDR3-2133 RAM
  • 500 GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
  • 3Tb Seagate Barracura (7200 rpm, 6 GB/s)
  • Asus GeForce GTX 980 Strix OC 4 GB
  • 150/150 Mbit Fiber Internet Connection
  • Prepar3D v4+
  • REX SkyForce3D for P3D v4

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Ray Andersen

Rays Aviation

Purchase A1R Design - Yak 55M

See other aircraft from A1R Design Bureau

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