The only Japanese airliner to enter production since WW2, the YS-11 achieved a degree of success in its domestic market and in North America.
The YS-11 was a product of the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Company (or NAMC), a consortium of Fuji, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi, Nippi, Shin Meiwa (now Shin Maywa) and Showa. NAMC formed on June 1, 1959 to design and develop a short to medium range airliner, with particular attention being paid to meeting the specific operating requirements of the Japanese domestic airlines.
NAMC selected the Rolls-Royce Dart over the Allison 501 to power the new airliner. Fuji was given responsibility for the tail unit, Kawasaki the wings and engine nacelles, Mitsubishi the forward fuselage and final assembly, Nippi the ailerons and flaps, Shin Meiwa the rear fuselage and Showa the light alloy honeycomb structural components.
The YS-11 first flew on August 30 1962 (a second prototype flew that December), and was awarded Japanese certification in August 1964. By that time the first production aircraft were under construction, and the type entered service with Toa Airways (now JAS) in April 1965. Initial production was of the YS-11-100, the follow up YS-11A-200 (first flight November 1967) was designed for export markets and featured an increased max takeoff weight. The YS-11A-300 was a combi passenger/freight model, while the YS-11A-400 was a pure freighter with a forward freight door.
The YS-11A-500, -600 and -700 were equivalent to the -200, -300 and -400, but with a 500kg (1100lb) greater max takeoff weight. Production ceased in February 1974.
By late 1998, 66 YS-11s remained in commercial service. The largest operators were All Nippon (6) and Japan Air Commuter (12).