The prototype Yak-53 was derived from the Yak-52, differing in being a single seater designed as an aerobatic trainer. The front cockpit was deleted and the canopy modified to suit. The cockpit used the flying controls of the Yak-50 without the spring loading of the Yak-52, and the use of the undercarriage and tankage of the prototype Yak-52 to save weight, making the Yak-53 100 kg (220 lb) lighter than the Yak-52.
The prototype Yak-53 set two world records for time to height in its class on 15 February and 23 February 1982. Some sources state that a 3-bladed propellor of western origin was used for the record setting flights.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 7.68 m (25ft 2½in ft in)
- Empty weight: 900 kg (1,984 lb)
- Gross weight: 1,060 kg (2,340 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Vedeneyev M-14P, 268.45 kW (360 hp)
- Maximum speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
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- Gunston, 1997
- Gordon, Yefim (2005). OKB Yakovlev: A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft. Hinkley: Midland. pp. 289–90.
- Gunston, Bill. Yakovlev Aircraft since 1924. London, UK: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1997. ISBN 1-55750-978-6.