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Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9

Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52

   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell

   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation

Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander

   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto

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Polikarpov I-16

(Variants/Other Names: None)

Polikarpov I-16 Rata
(Photo source unknown. Please contact us if you deserve credit.)

History: The first low-wing monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear to enter service, the Polikarpov I-16 was obsolete even before the Second World War began, yet plodded along as the Soviet Union's first line fighter until 1943 when the Red Air Force finally introduced top-notch aircraft to slug it out with the Luftwaffe for the remainder of the war.

Of advanced design for its time, the I-16 was, none-the-less, an illustration of poor timing, being the fastest of its type when first introduced, highly maneuverable, with excellent climbing speed and roll rate, yet soon outclassed by a newer craft developed by Germany and Japan. While the aircraft performed well against German combat aircraft during the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939), and against the Japanese Air Force in Manchuria starting in 1937, by the time Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the aircraft was outclassed by new generations of enemy fighters. Yet, as the most numerous of the Soviet fighters available at that time, it bore the brunt of the battle for several years.

On the plus side, its simple, rugged construction, all-wood monocoque fuselage and metal wings made the I-16 easy to maintain under frontline conditions, and enabled it to absorb heavy punishment while staying in the fight. In fact, the plane itself was sturdy enough to be used as a ram to destroy enemy aircraft in midair when ammunition ran out in a dogfight.

On the negative side, it had poor longitudinal stability, a tendency to stall in a glide, and was exceedingly temperamental, requiring highly skilled airmanship to perform well and not kill the pilot before the enemy had a shot at him.

Although more than 7,000 of the fighters and their two-seat trainer variants were produced, not more than a handful have survived, with 3 non-flying craft being in museums (two in Russia, one in China). However, at least 6 wrecked I-16's had been restored to flying condition in New Zealand by the end of 1998, all of them Type 24s dating from 1939. At least one was imported to the USA in 1999.

Nicknames: Yastrebok ("Hawk") or Ishak ("Little Donkey") in Russia. In Spain it was known as the Mosca ("Little Fly") to the Republicans, and Rata ("Rat") to the Nationalists against whom it was flown. It was also called Abu ("Gadfly") by the Japanese.

Specifications (I-16 Type 24):
        Engine: One 1,000-hp M-62 radial piston engine
        Weight: Empty 3,252 lbs., Max Takeoff 4,542 lbs.
        Wing Span: 29ft. 1.5in.
        Length: 19ft. 9.75in.
        Height: 7ft. 10.75in.
            Maximum Speed at 10,000 ft: 304 mph
            Ceiling: 31,070 ft.
            Range: 373 miles
            Four 7.62-mm (0.3-inch) Sh KAS machine guns (Two in forward fuselage; two in wings)
            Up to 441 pounds of bombs or six RS-82 rockets on underwing racks

Number Built:  7,000+

Number Still Airworthy:  6

[ Pilot Report by Mark Hanna ]

Aviation-History.com I-16 Page
The Polikarpov Fighters -- Alpine Fighter Collection, Wanaka, New Zealand
Rata Flight Test Report, by Dave Morss




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