Yak-3 pictured at Wanaka, New Zealand, in April 1998.
(Photo courtesy of Graham Orphan, Classic Wings magazine.)
History: During the final two years of the
Second World War, the Yak-3 proved itself a powerful dogfighter. Tough and agile below an
altitude of 13,000 feet, the Yak-3 dominated the skies over the
battlefields of the Eastern Front during the closing years of the war.
The first attempt to build a fighter called the Yak-3 was
shelved in 1941 due to a lack of building materials and an unreliable engine. The second
attempt used the Yak-1M, already in production, to maintain the high number of planes
being built. The Yak-3 had a new, smaller wing and smaller dimensions then its
predecessor. Its light weight gave the Yak-3 more agility. The Yak-3 completed its trials
in October 1943 and began equipping the 91st IAP in July of 1944. In August, small numbers
of Yak-3s were built with an improved engine generating 1,700-hp, and the aircraft saw
limited combat action in 1945. Production continued until 1946, by which time 4,848 had
The story of the Yak-3 did not end with the Second World War.
In 1991, the Museum of Flying, in Santa Monica, California, asked Yakovlev to produce a
new series of Yak-3s to be built at Orenburg, Russia. The new Yak-3s were built using the
plans, tools, dies and fixtures of the original. They were powered by American Allison
engines, and given the designation Yak-3UA. These aircraft are
now available on the civilian market.
("Killer"); Ostronosyi ("Sharp-Nose" -- Generic term for all
inline-engine powered Yak fighters).
Engine: One 1,300-hp Klimov VK-105PF-2 V-12 piston engine
Weight: Empty 4,641 lbs., Max
Takeoff 5,864 lbs.
Wing Span: 30ft. 2.25in.
Length: 27ft. 10.25in.
Height: 7ft. 11.25in.
Range: 559 miles
engine-mounted 20-mm ShVAK cannon
(0.5-inch) UBS machine guns
Number Built: 4,848 (Original 1940s-era
Number Still Airworthy: At least 5
European Yak Club
Kiwi Aircraft Images Yak-3
Yak-3U Race Team
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