YAK 52 flight training

Yakovlevs Display Team Yak 52 Flight Training


Yakovlevs Display Team AOPA Aerobatics Course 10 Hours £4230


The AOPA Basic Aerobatic Certificate is conducted in one of our 3 Super Yak 52s. This is a Russian Warbird with a 9 cylinder radial engine putting out over 400 horse power. During aerobatic flight the engine burns approximately 120 litres of fuel an hour and 1-2 litres of oil. If you have aspirations of flying warbirds and/or becoming a display pilot we are the only place to do your training. All our instructors are display pilots with the team and Jez the boss is a Display Authority Examiner-one of only a few people in the country qualified to issue a Display Authorisation. All our aircraft have massive 3 bladed props and you will be shown how to you use the rudder correctly as all the propeller forces are very apparent.  The Yak 52 is a complex aircraft and requires careful engine management and descent planning. This is why it is the perfect trainer for those wanting to fly warbirds and more advanced aerobatics. The first hour is a familiarisation flight to get to grips with all the systems and handling characteristics in and out of the circuit. Our course is 10 hours long including the test and is run from our HQ at Henstridge Airfield in Somerset, UK. We are surrounded by Class G airspace so no time is lost transiting to training    areas. 

What is the AOPA Basic Aerobatic Certificate?

Satisfactory completion of this course will enable the applicant to obtain the recognised AOPA Basic Aerobatic Certificate as well as the EASA AR.  AOPA and the British Aerobatics Association (BAeA) have designed the syllabus in order to encourage those pilots who wish to become proficient in the basic aerobatic manoeuvres to undertake training through a properly structured formal course.

This Certificate indicates that the holder is competent to safely fly aerobatic manoeuvres for which they have been cleared.  The manoeuvres learnt will also enable the student to take part in the Beginners’ events organised by the BAeA.

A pre-requisite to fly the Yak 52 solo is completion of an AOPA basic certificate.   

An applicant may commence the course at any time after qualifying for a pilot’s licence. There are no minimum pre-entry hour or time requirements to enter the course of training. However, under EASA FCL.800, a pilot may not apply for the inclusion of an AR in a Part-FCL pilot licence until he or she has completed 40 hours as pilot-in-command since the issue of the licence. The AR is required for pilots who wish to undertake aerobatic flying in EASA aircraft, but is not required in the UK for pilots flying non-EASA aircraft irrespective of the type of pilot licence they hold. 

The course of training is reflected in the syllabus contents shown below and upon completing the course applicants will be able to apply for the issue of an AR. For the issue of the AOPA Basic Certificate, they are required to have their competence assessed in the air. The application forms for the issue of the certificate must be completed by the applicant and the instructor(s) conducting the course. The airborne assessment of competency must be conducted by an instructor registered with AOPA for this purpose. This flight is additional to the 5 hours of aerobatic instruction required for the course. Note the 5 hours is airborne aerobatic time not block time. This equates to 8 hours block time. Our course is 10 block hours including the Yak 52 familiarisation flight and the AOPA test. 


From June 2018, in order to undertake Aerobatic flights in an EASA aircraft, an EASA Licence & Aerobatic Rating is required:

FCL.800 Aerobatic rating

(a) Holders of a pilot licence for aeroplanes shall only undertake aerobatic flights when they hold the appropriate rating.

(b) Applicants for an aerobatic rating shall have completed:

(1) at least 40 hours of flight time completed after the issue of the licence;

(2) a training course at an ATO, including:

–  theoretical knowledge instruction appropriate for the rating;

–  at least 5 hours* of aerobatic instruction in the appropriate aircraft category.

(c) The privileges of the aerobatic rating shall be limited to the aircraft category in which the flight instruction was completed. The privileges will be extended to another category of aircraft if the pilot holds a licence for that aircraft category and has successfully completed at least 3 dual training flights covering the full aerobatic training syllabus in that category of aircraft.

The AOPA Basic Aerobatic Certificate is recognised as an EASA Aerobatic Rating, and can be added to an EASA licence.  Further current information can be found on the CAA website.

* The 5 hours of aerobatic flying is considered equivalent to the 8 hours “chock to chock” flying time required for the AOPA Basic course.

Overseas students are welcome – we have no additional requirements for overseas students from non-EASA regulated countries.  If unsure, you should contact your country’s general aviation services directly to check if the AOPA Basic Aerobatics Course is recognised in your country. We can recommend local accommodation and potentially transport to and from the local train station and/or airport. 

Payment for the test has to be arranged between the candidate and the instructor giving the test (£75 included in the course price), but a fee of £15 must be paid to AOPA to cover the cost of administering the issue of the certificate. However, if the applicant is a pilot member of AOPA, this fee will be reduced to £10. For the issue of the AR, applicants who meet the PIC requirement should apply to the CAA using Form SRG Form 2157 together with the relevant fee under normal CAA payment methods. 

What does the course cover?

Our course consists of a minimum of 9 block hours’ dual flying with a qualified instructor. The first hour is a familiarisation flight in the Yak 52 and includes general handling and circuits. Pilots with some aerobatic experience may qualify for a reduction in the flying hour requirement.  The theoretical knowledge section of the course (see below) consists of a minimum of 8 hours of which 4 will be classroom based. 

Flight Training 

    • Slow Flight 
    • Stalling and Advanced Stalling
    • Steep turns including max rate turns
    • Unusual Attitude Recovery
    • Loop
    • Aileron (Ballistic) Roll
    • Barrel Roll
    • Slow (level) Roll
    • Stall Turn
    • Half roll off the top of a Loop- Immelmahn
    • Half Cuban Eight (rolling on down line) & Reverse Half Cuban (Rolling on the up line.)
    • Quarter Clovers
    • Linking manoeuvres and sequences
    • Spin recovery-we teach incipient, normal erect, accelerated, flat and inverted spinning.

Theoretical Knowledge

1. Technical Subjects

–   Legislation affecting aerobatic flying

–   Airframe and engine limitations 

–   Stalling & spinning – principles of flight

2. Physical Limitations

–   Body stresses – ‘g’ forces

–   Disorientation

–   Airsickness

3. Limitations Applicable to the Specific Aeroplane Type

–  Load factors

–  Airspeeds

–  Engine (including inverted flight limitations)

4. Emergency Drills

–   Use of parachutes

–  Aircraft abandonment

5. Aresti System   –   Notation for basic aerobatic manoeuvres – www.arestisystem.com

Progress beyond the AOPA Basic Aerobatic Certificate depends upon students’ objectives. We can further develop students’ aerobatics through Standard, Intermediate and Advanced aerobatic manoeuvres, which can include sequences, Competition aerobatics and even display flying.

The course costs: £4230 

This includes: 

-10 block hours in the Yak 52 

-8 hours ground school of which 4 will be classroom based. 

-Helmet, parachute and flying suit

-Landing fees

-Instructor and examiner fees

-AOPA Test Fees

-Tea and Coffee


aerobatic training
Yak 52 climbing through the clouds for spin and aerobatic training
yak 52 flight training
One of our 3 Super Yak 52s, waits for the next pilots to undertake Yak 52 conversion training.


The Yakovlev Yak-52 (Russian: Яковлев Як-52) is a Soviet primary trainer aircraft which first flew in 1976. It was produced in Romania from 1977 to 1998 by Aerostar, as Iak-52, which gained manufacturing rights under agreement within the former COMECON socialist trade organisation[1]. The Yak-52 was designed as an aerobatic trainer for students in the Soviet DOSAAF training organisation, which trained civilian sport pilots and military pilots.

A descendant of the single-seat competition aerobatic Yakovlev Yak-50, the all-metal Yak-52 is powered by a 268 kW (360 hp) Vedeneyev M14P nine-cylinder radial engine. Our aircraft have all been lightened and have the upgraded M14PF 298 kW (400 hp) engine and have been fitted with a three-blade propeller.

Since the aircraft was designed to serve as a military trainer, the development of the aircraft incorporates a number of features to be found on the early postwar fighters: notably the cockpit tandem layout (instrument panel, seat design, cockpit opening system), tail design, tricycle landing gear, fuselage mixed construction (monocoque with steel tube construction), inner flaps, controls position, access panels on sides of the fuselage, even the location of the radio antena and overall dimensions of the airplane, which extensively match the Yakovlev Yak-17 UTI jet fighter trainer (NATO code name Magnet).

The aircraft has inverted fuel and oil systems permitting inverted flight for as long as two minutes. 

At 998 kg (2,200 lb) empty weight, the Yak-52 is responsive and very capable as an aerobatic aircraft. Yet it is also easy to fly and land. It has been used in international aerobatic competition up to the Advanced level. It is stressed to +7 and –5 Gs, rolls (to the right) at 180 degrees/second and is capable of every manoeuvre in the Aresti catalog.

The Yak-52, like most Soviet military aircraft, was designed to operate in rugged environments with minimal maintenance. One of its key features, unusual in western aircraft, is its extensive pneumatic system. Engine starting, landing gear, flaps, and wheel brakes are all pneumatically actuated. Spherical storage bottles for air, replenished by an engine driven compressor, are situated behind the rear cockpit and contents displayed on the instrument panels. The operating pressure is between 10 and 50 bars (145 and 725 psi) and an emergency circuit is reserved for lowering the undercarriage if the normal supply is exhausted or the compressor fails. Additionally both main and reserve bottles can be charged from a port on the ground with compressed air, usually from a Scuba type air bottle. The ground steering/braking arrangement, especially, takes some adjustment for flyers accustomed to hydraulics, because the aircraft uses differential braking controlled by rudder pedals and a hand operated lever on the control stick.

The tricycle landing gear is retractable, but it remains partially exposed in the retracted position, affording both a useful level of drag in down manoeuvres and a measure of protection should the aircraft be forced to land “wheels up.”

Our Yak 52 Conversion course consists of a minimum of 5 block hours and costs £2112. It includes ground school on the basic systems, all landing fees, helmet, parachute, flying suit and tea/coffee for the duration of the course. 

The course consists of:

-Ground school

-Walkaround teach including how to refill the air, oil, pulling through





-Descent Management

-Engine Management

-Slow Flight

-Steep Turns

-Constant Speed Propeller

-Retractable Undercarriage

-Turbo and Superchargers

-Emergency Drills

The course can be completed as part of our AOPA Aerobatic Course which is 10 block hours. A lot of the above is covered in the aerobatic course and circuits would be included too. The AOPA Aerobatics Course costs £4230 and any additional training after to reach solo standard would be charged at £420 an hour. Please note we cannot guarantee any student will meet the standards required in the times quoted, what we can guarantee is quality instruction and facilities to aid learning.

YAK 52 Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT)


This course is designed for those who have completed the 5 hour Yak 52 Conversion course, those who own their own Yak or those pilots who just want to improve their basic handling skills and become a safer pilot.

The course consists of 3 hours ground school covering upset prevention, stall and spin theory followed by 2hours of briefings and debriefings and 3 block hours of flying.

The Flight Training covers:

-Slow flight


-Unusual Attitude Recovery

-Advanced stalling (accelerated stalls while climbing, descending and turning, base to final turn with too much rudder and inverted stalling).

-Incipient Spin entry and recovery

-Normal erect spins

-Accelerated and flat spins

-Inverted Spins

Yak 52 flight training
Yak 52 in a Vertical Dive
yak 52 formation training
Formation School in Echelon Right

We run formation schools throughout the year, to register your interest in a formation school or to enquire about a bespoke course email matt@yakovlevs.com


We run courses for those who own their own aircraft as well as providing our Yak 52s for hire.

Yakovlevs Display Team
Jez the leader of the team in front of the lead aircraft a Super Yak 52.

Jez Hopkinson

Hours Flown: 10,000+

Qualifications: CAA/EASA Examiner & ATPL. Display Evaluator

Position: Head of Training and Lead Pilot of the Yakovlevs Display Team.

Interests: Teaching SCUBA diving, Snow skiing and Skydiving

Jez Hopkinson FRAeS is the owner of the Yakovlevs Display Team and has lead the team for over 18 years.  He  bought his first Yak 52 in 1994 and with a couple of  friends  founded the European Yak Club, which quickly grew to include hundreds of members from all over Europe.

He first set up the Yakovlevs display team  in 1998, after buying a Yak 50. He says the Yakovlevs was a natural next step to take. Jez is also an CAA/EASA Examiner and has his own aerobatic flying school since 1995 and now he is very involved with the Air Display world on a formal basis, checking show pilots competency as part of his role as a Display Authorisation Evaluator.

When he is not busy examining or running the team, he likes to spend his free time skydiving, snow skiing and scuba diving, but his real passion is actually cooking, with a glass of good wine in his hand.  He has been known to dabble in Russian  wine making.

Jez sits as a member of GASCo, the General Aviation Safety Council, where he is also one of their Regional Safety Officers. He lectures on aviation safety, specialising in flight safety over water and helps run Ditching and Sea Survival Seminars at the RNLI centre in Poole. In November 2014,  he was bestowed the prestigious honour of a Fellowship with the Royal Aeronautical Society.



Matt Kitson

Hours flown: 4,000+

Qualifications: ATPL, CRI, Aerobatics Instructor, DA

Interests: Keeping fit, judo, hiking and more flying!


Matt Kitson is a First Officer on the Boeing 747 400 with British Airways. He is also a Class Rating  Instructor CRI(A) and an Aerobatic Instructor specialising on the Yak-52 and Slingsby Firefly T67M.

Matt started his flying adventure in 2009, having previously been a Royal Marines Commando for 8 years, serving in Afghanistan. Matt is credited as being one of the youngest Royal Marine’s boxing champion at 18 years old in the super-heavy weight class. He later joined the Royal Navy as Trainee Officer Aircrew before leaving to join Ryanair as a First Officer in 2014 flying the Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft before progressing to his current job as First Officer for British Airways on their B747-400 fleet in 2016. Outside of his airline career, Matt quickly developed a passion for aerobatics, joining the British Aerobatic Association’s competition circuit competing at sportman level, before becoming an aerobatics instructor,  teaching at RAF Boscombe Down on the T67M and now with the Yakovlevs Display Team and Airborne Services Limited.  Matt joined the Yakovlevs Display Team in 2017 and has already deployed with them to Zhengzhou China in 2018. He flies at position 2 and 2018 will be his first year flying with the team.

Marc-Antoine (Marco)

Hours Flown: 2,500+

Qualifications: ATPL, DA, FI, Aerobatics and Formation Instructor

Position: Yak 2, Formation and aerobatic instructor

Interests: Dirt biking and fromager activities

Marc-Antoine (Marco) joined the Yakovlevs in 2016. He caught the flying bug at an early age, starting his training aged just 15, before undertaking his first solo soon after his 16th birthday in a Robin HR200.

Marco joined the French Air Force in 2005 and became a pilot on the Alpha Jet before progressing to become an aerobatics and formation instructor on the Grob 120-A and TB-30 Epsilon. After seven years in the French Air Force, Marc entered the civilian market, gaining his Air Transport Pilot Licence as well as a civilian instructor rating and taking up a teaching position with Roger Janin Flying Club in Paris. Leaving France, Marco then joined Flight Training London at Elstree Aerodrome.

Joining the team early in 2016, Marco has quickly demonstrated his credentials and has been busy spending his inaugural year with the team learning the various formation positions and is now fully qualified and teaches aerobatics and new members of the team formation flying.

Airborne Services Yak 52 Price List

  • Yak 52 1 hour dual: £445
  • Yak 52 solo hire: £385
  • Yak 52 Conversion Course (5 hours + 3 hours ground school): £2212
  • AOPA Aerobatics Course (10 block hours inc. test, 8 hours ground school): £4442
  • UPRT/ Stall and Spin Course: £1432 (3 hours flying, 5 hours ground school)
  • 5 hours Yak 52 training: £2200
  • Training in your own aircraft £60

All prices include VAT, Helmet, Parachute, briefing & debriefing, landing fees, and tea and coffee. 

We offer aerobatic, UPRT, Stall and Spin training and Yak 52 Conversions in your own aircraft for £60 an hour inc. VAT.