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I-16


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James_White #1 Posted 14 October 2011 - 01:24 PM

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Polikarpov I-16.

Design work on the I-16 began during the summer of 1932 at the Central Aero and Hydrodynamic Institute. At this juncture Polikarpov was in the kind of straits that could only happen in the Soviet Union. His career which had entailed a swift ascent to the top post of the OSS (the department for experimental land plane construction), had taken a sudden downward plunge upon the occasion of his arrest during the 1929 purge. Instead of a firing squad or a gulag, however, Polikarpov and his design team were sentenced to an "internal prison," there to continue their work under the close supervision and scrutiny of the state. Evidently, his prosecutors judged him too vital to the future of Soviet military power to inflict the usual penalties of summary execution or slow death in a labor camp.

TSKB12, spring 1934

http://img707.images...305/tskb12i.jpg

When the tiny I-16 flew for the first time in December 1933, it was far ahead of any other fighter design in the world, featuring retractable landing gear, a cantilever wing and variable pitch propeller. Although not among the best remembered aircraft of the thirties, it was nevertheless a very able and rugged machine and featured prominently in the events of the time.

TSKB12 in the sky, 1934
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When it first appeared, the I-16 Ishak (Little Donkey) was powered by a radial engine which developed a modest 450 hp. Even with this it achieved a creditable 376 km/h (234 mph) and, as the world's first single-seat fighter to have low monoplane wings, an enclosed cockpit (on some versions) and a retractable undercarriage. It was immediately put into mass production alongside the Polikarpov I-15 biplane fighter. Development led eventually to one version,  of the I-16 reaching over 520km/h (325 mph), with an engine of about two-and-a-half times the original power.

assembly line of I-16
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Initial service experience revealed that the ShKAS machine guns had a tendency to jam. This was the result of the guns being installed in the wings upside-down to facilitate the fit. The problem was addressed in later modifications. Evaluations from pilots confirmed the experience with prototypes. Controls were light and very sensitive, abrupt maneuvers resulted in spins, and spin behavior was excellent. A barrel roll could be performed in under 1.5 seconds (roll rate over 240 degrees/second). The machine guns were fired via a cable and the required effort, coupled with sensitive controls, made precision aiming difficult. The rear weight bias made I-16 easy to handle on unprepared airfields because the aircraft was rather unlikely to flip over the nose even if the front wheels dug in.
The pilots had poor visibility and the canopy tended to become fouled with engine oil and the moving portion was prone to slamming shut during hard maneuvers which caused many pilots to fix it in the open position. The I-16 was a difficult fighter to fly. The front section of the fuselage, with the engine, was too close to the centre of gravity, and the pilot's cockpit too far to the rear. The I-16 had insufficient longitudinal stability and it was impossible to fly the aircraft "hand off".

I-16 type24.
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At this point the I-16 might well have faded into obscurity, if not for the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936. This war drew support from all over the world. The Nationalists, supported mainly by German and Italian forces, were the better equipped. Britain, France, the United States, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Turkey all sent an assortment of aircraft to the Republican forces, directly or indirectly. But by far the major supporter of the Republicans was the Soviet Union, which supplied 1,409 of the 1947 aircraft contributed by other countries. 475 of these aircraft were Polikarpov I-16s.
When the Spanish Civil War broke out, almost 500 were put into service with the Republicans. The outstanding maneuverability, firepower and rate of climb, surprised the enemy leading to the opposition nickname of Rata (Rat) and the friendly name Mosca (Fly). The Finnish nickname for I-16 was Siipiorava ("Flying Squirrel"). Equipped with the Soviet 20 mm cannon it was the most powerful aircraft weapon in front line service with any nation on the eve of World War II. It had a very high rate of fire and was extremely reliable. Another batch of I-16s was purchased by China to fight the Japanese, again surprising the other side with excellent performance.

I-16 first entered combat in Spain in November 1936. Flown in many cases by Soviet pilots, they proved more than a match for German Heinkel He 51 fighters and Arado Ar68, but met their equals in the Italian C.R.32 biplanes and were overpowered by Messerschmitt Bf 109s. From March 1937, all remaining I-16s were concentrated into Fighter Group 31, and this was by far the most successful of all Soviet-equipped units.
Meanwhile, I-16s were fighting also in China, and in 1939 were operated against the Japanese in Mongolia. Their final fling came during the early part of the Second World War, but by then they were overshadowed by more advanced foreign types. Suffering the brunt of the German invasion, those remaining were replaced by more modern fighters in 1942-1943.

German soldiers taking photos at unsuccessfully landed I-16, summer 1941
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When the Germans invaded Russia in June 1941, the I-16 was still Russia's most important fighter and, in spite of being obsolete, well over half of the 7,000 built were flown in action until 1943. One of the most startling uses of the tiny but rugged fighter came ramming attacks. Pilots were taught to hit the tail surfaces of German bombers, then bail out. In theory, the strength of the I-16 would allow the pilot grace to bail out afterwards.

I-16 is being prepared for sortie.
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If German pilots decided to out maneuver the I-16 in dogfights, which invariably bleed off speed, they were usually caught by surprise as the Russian pilot quickly got the upper hand. However, against slashing climbing and diving attacks, the I-16 was in trouble.
Sources.
http://www.aviation-history.com/
http://en.wikipedia....Polikarpov_I-16
http://www.airwar.ru

METAL_BAWKSES #2 Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:44 AM

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No love for the Rata?  That's a shame.

I've always liked this stubby little plane.  It looks like a parody of an aircraft or a children's toy by modern standards, yet it was one of the best fighters around when it was first built.

Odd_Ball #3 Posted 23 October 2011 - 12:11 AM

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It looks a lot like the Geebee racers of the 1930's.
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Solar_ #4 Posted 28 December 2011 - 11:08 AM

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I had the pleasure of seeing 5 of these beauties flying together at the 1998 Warbirds over wanaka airshow in New Zealand. It was the first time they had flown since sometime during or shortly after WW2. They are an awesome looking machine and the sound they make is excellent. Seeing all five pounding along at full clip 10M off the deck was an amazing experience.

The video isn't mine, but I was there, glued to the fence.



Zulnex #5 Posted 29 December 2011 - 03:59 AM

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Splendid read. Thank you. B)
Loving the above video as well.

Warenwolf #6 Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:02 AM

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Quote

One of the most startling uses of the tiny but rugged fighter came ramming attacks. Pilots were taught to hit the tail surfaces of German bombers, then bail out. In theory, the strength of the I-16 would allow the pilot grace to bail out afterwards.

Soviet pilots called this tactic taran. Supposedly at the very first day of the German invasion of Soviet Union, Lieutenant I. I. Ivanov crashed his Polikarpov I-16 into the tail section of a German Heinkel He 111 bomber.
Official BETA RELEASE DATE (according to ESLAF announcement (disinformation manager) ): 30.02.2012

So no need to ask further.

DerJager #7 Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:48 PM

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View PostWarenwolf, on 16 January 2012 - 10:02 AM, said:

Soviet pilots called this tactic taran. Supposedly at the very first day of the German invasion of Soviet Union, Lieutenant I. I. Ivanov crashed his Polikarpov I-16 into the tail section of a German Heinkel He 111 bomber.

That claim was discredited, at least if he was anywhere near where he thought he was.
Kommando Nowotny, the first opperational jet squadron, the most notorious 262 squadron among allied pilots, and the origional Kommandos.

<S> Walter Nowotny, Hans-Joachim Marseille, Otto Kittel, and all the fallen aces of Germany.

Warenwolf #8 Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:26 PM

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View PostDerJager, on 16 January 2012 - 08:48 PM, said:

That claim was discredited, at least if he was anywhere near where he thought he was.

What part of it - timing, position, manner of how the plane was brought down or if a plane was brought down at all?

And do you have source? (don't take it personally just interested in info regarding the subject)
Official BETA RELEASE DATE (according to ESLAF announcement (disinformation manager) ): 30.02.2012

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jarmenkell #9 Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:57 PM

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I like it, out of the tier 3s i find it to be the more fun to play, but once you get hit you are going down.

DerJager #10 Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:59 PM

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View PostWarenwolf, on 17 January 2012 - 01:26 PM, said:

What part of it - timing, position, manner of how the plane was brought down or if a plane was brought down at all?

And do you have source? (don't take it personally just interested in info regarding the subject)

That an He111 bomber was brought down by ramming at the possition that Lt. Ivanov said he rammed a bomber at.

Either his navigation was off by a rather large margine (from what I've read, nearest He-111 brought down by ramming was some 35miles to the south, and egressing back to base), he misidentified the bomber as an He-111, or it never happened.


Don't have the source on hand, I'll try to dig it up for you.
Kommando Nowotny, the first opperational jet squadron, the most notorious 262 squadron among allied pilots, and the origional Kommandos.

<S> Walter Nowotny, Hans-Joachim Marseille, Otto Kittel, and all the fallen aces of Germany.

Schultz #11 Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:22 PM

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I  think in the video the engine has some problems, it doesn't sound good,it's not a clean sound, it's like a farting engine.

Warenwolf #12 Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:57 PM

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View PostDerJager, on 17 January 2012 - 09:59 PM, said:

That an He111 bomber was brought down by ramming at the possition that Lt. Ivanov said he rammed a bomber at.

Well the guy died in the process so I doubt he made any statement about this. Of course, the dead heroes (the type propaganda loves) cannot correct whatever official version of the event there is. ;)

Regardless, taran attacks did happen (over 250 of them are recognized) - Ivanov may or may not be the first one to preform such attack though.
Official BETA RELEASE DATE (according to ESLAF announcement (disinformation manager) ): 30.02.2012

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DerJager #13 Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:47 PM

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Maybe I'm thinking of someone else then. I've never been good at remembering Slavic names, all just a bunch of babbling to me.

Same with chinese, just sing-song noises. Probably because they don't really use sharp sounds, westerners aren't trained to pick out their subtle differences in speach patterns.
Kommando Nowotny, the first opperational jet squadron, the most notorious 262 squadron among allied pilots, and the origional Kommandos.

<S> Walter Nowotny, Hans-Joachim Marseille, Otto Kittel, and all the fallen aces of Germany.

Warenwolf #14 Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:17 AM

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View PostDerJager, on 18 January 2012 - 09:47 PM, said:

Maybe I'm thinking of someone else then. I've never been good at remembering Slavic names, all just a bunch of babbling to me.

Same with chinese, just sing-song noises. Probably because they don't really use sharp sounds, westerners aren't trained to pick out their subtle differences in speach patterns.

Ironically Nowotny (that you mention in your sig) is actually slavic in origin (slavic variant is written Novotny - used both as surname and name) :P
Although his first name is as German as they come.
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Janek #15 Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:44 PM

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One of the most beautiful planes in history for me, with Ki-27 and A5m4.

galiats #16 Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:26 AM

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The best aircraft of the Spanish civil war. Unfortunatly the fascists prevailed with Hitlers support.




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