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In the early 1970s, Yakolev began design work for a new jet airliner that, like the Yak-40, would operate out of unimproved airfields but with capacity for 100 to 120 passengers.
The first of four prototypes performed its initial flight on 7 March, 1975 and the type was ordered into production at state factories in Smolensk and Saratov.
It was powered by Lotarev D-36 turbofans providing 14,330 lbf thrust each; no thrust reversers were fitted. Fuel tanks were in the wings and wing centre section, with initial fuel capacity being 15,795 litres, increased in 1981 to 23,175 litres.
The Yak-42 had low mounted wings and a T-tail, and all flight surfaces were swept. It had tricycle landing gear with twin-wheel nose gear that retracted forward and, initially, twin-wheel main gear that retracted from the wings into the fuselage. Later production had four-wheel main gear with 2x2 bogies.
By 1995, around 185 Yak-42s had been built. Sales were modest in comparison with the Yak-40; delays in its development programme meant that by the time it was in service, better options were available elsewhere.
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