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Project Notes

#746 Hongdu K-8/JL-8

Building the Hongdu K-8/JL-8 trainer aircraft from the Trumpeter 1:72 kit. No electronics in this one.



The Hongdu JL-8 (Nanchang JL-8), also known as the Karakorum-8 or K-8 for short, is a two-seat intermediate jet trainer and light attack aircraft designed in the People’s Republic of China by China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. The primary contractor is the Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation 洪都航空工业集团.

The first flight of the Hongdu Aviation (320 Factory) K-8 trainer aircraft was on November 21, 1990. The K-8 was the first large-scale export project for China’s aviation industry.

Initially, the aircraft was to have used many parts manufactured in the United States, including the Garrett TFE731 engine and several cockpit displays, and communication and avionics systems, but due to political developments and an embargo from the US, other suppliers had to be used.

K-8: Original variant powered by the Garrett TFE731-2A turbofan engine

The JL-8, for the Chinese domestic market, was originally powered by the Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress AI-25TLK turbofan jet engine with 16.9 kN of thrust, but this has been replaced by the WS-11, the Chinese-manufactured version of the AI-25TLK.

K8-001 K8-001-hanger

Paint Scheme

The build depicts K8-001, the first prototype to fly.

Feature Color Recommended Paint Used
fuselage 1 gloss white H1 H11 (flat)
  flat black H12  
interior grey H311  
fuselage 2 red H327 H13
  silver H8 H8
  gloss clear   H30

Build Log

F-16 / F-18 Pilots from PJ Production were used to crew the aircraft.

build01a build01b build01c build01d

build02a build02b build02c build02d build02e build02f


build04a build04b build04c

Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.