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Polikarpov I-16
 
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Asbestos

 
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Post subject: Polikarpov I-16  Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
[edit by ND: here we should soon add the research card for these aircraft - it's better to keep one thread per family of aircraft]

I've read conflicting info on the spin characteristics of the I-16. Some sources say that it easily went into difficult to recover spins and others state that that's just a myth and that it had very benign characteristics. Anyone know which is right?
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PostMon Feb 13, 2012 3:14 am
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'Warspite'

 

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Post subject: Re: I-16 Spin Characteristics? Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
Asbestos wrote:
Figure this is the forum to ask this question... but I've read conflicting info on the spin characteristics of the I-16. Some sources say that it easily went into difficult to recover spins and others state that that's just a myth and that it had very benign characteristics. Anyone know which is right?


Author William Green quotes a Japanese source which test flew an I-16 brought over by a Manchurian defector:

The..."Russian fighter was insensitive by comparison with Japanese fighters and its centre of gravity was too far aft, resulting in serious elevator heaviness." He added that the nose rose alarmingly as soon as the flaps were lowered for landing and that it was difficult to wind up the undercarriage on take-off.

Green also says that Luftwaffe pilots who tested captured I-16s reported it was extremely manoeuvrable but longitudinal stability was poor.

Experience against the Japanese A5M2a in China showed the I-16 had the edge in diving speed and level speed while its 9mm pilot armour was proof to Japanese light AND heavy MG fire.

Fleet Air Arm test pilot Eric Brown (in 'Testing for Combat') said the I-16 was one of the few Soviet types he actually flew. He said the forward view from the cockpit 'was terrible' and he complained that the cockpit was narrow. This from the man so small his nickname was 'Winkle' Brown. He said that during takeoff directional stability was poor and he also complained that the 18-20 turns on the handcrank to raise the undercarriage resulted in a 'wobbly' climb as he struggled with the stick, the rudder and the handcrank at the same time.

He said the controls were 'sensitive' and the featherlight ailerons gave a high rate of roll. "The Rata was agile and had outstanding zoom-climb capability." He also said accelleration was 'surprisingly poor' in a dive.

One handy point was that if the guns jammed they could be re-cocked from the cockpit like a WW1 aeroplane and the jam might be cleared.

Wikipedia says:

Quote:
wind tunnel testing suggested that TsKB-12 with its short tail would enter an unrecoverable flat spin, but real-life trials were necessary to confirm this. Since Cyclone engines were rare it was decided to risk the M-22 prototype for this purpose. On 1 March and 2 March 1934, Chkalov performed 75 spins and discovered that the aircraft had very benign stall behavior (dipping a wing and recovering without input from the pilot when airspeed increased) and intentional spins could be easily terminated by placing controls in the neutral position. The stories of vicious spin behavior of the I-16 perpetuated in modern literature is unfounded (perhaps extrapolated from Gee Bee experience). In fact, the I-16's stablemate, the biplane Polikarpov I-153, exhibited much worse spin characteristics.


Brown said the aircraft reminded him of the Granville Gee Bee as well so that may explain the spurious spin stories.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granville_Brothers_Aircraft

Hope this helps!   Smile
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PostMon Feb 20, 2012 1:22 pm
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Asbestos

 
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Post subject: Re: I-16 Spin Characteristics? Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
Interesting stuff, Warspite, though I'm not sure if it answers the spin question. I kind of hate Soviet aircraft because the experiences of Soviet pilots have taken forever to really get out of Russia so we have all these misconceptions perpetuated in Anglo-American literature (example: The Soviets mainly used the P-39 for ground attack, the I-16 easily went into dangerous spins, other stuff I'm forgetting at the moment...)

On the other hand, I really like Soviet aircraft, they made some interesting stuff, occasionally designed under absolutely appalling (but very Soviet I suppose) conditions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharashka



'Warspite' wrote:


Experience against the Japanese A5M2a in China showed the I-16 had the edge in diving speed and level speed while its 9mm pilot armour was proof to Japanese light AND heavy MG fire.

Aside from the rare experimental airframe it is my understanding that the Claude only carried light machine guns (2 x 7.7mm).

Perhaps Japanese naming conventions have caused some historical confusion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_92_Heavy_Machine_Gun

Not to be confused with the Type 92 Machine Gun, which fired a rimmed 7.7mm round (as opposed to the semi-rimmed 7.7mm of the Type 92 'Heavy' MG and as opposed to the rimless 7.7mm fired by the Type 99 rifle)

Oh, Japan...
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PostMon Feb 20, 2012 4:19 pm
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'Warspite'

 

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Post subject: Re: I-16 Spin Characteristics? Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
Asbestos wrote:
Interesting stuff, Warspite, though I'm not sure if it answers the spin question. I kind of hate Soviet aircraft because the experiences of Soviet pilots have taken forever to really get out of Russia so we have all these misconceptions perpetuated in Anglo-American literature (example: The Soviets mainly used the P-39 for ground attack, the I-16 easily went into dangerous spins, other stuff I'm forgetting at the moment...)

On the other hand, I really like Soviet aircraft, they made some interesting stuff, occasionally designed under absolutely appalling (but very Soviet I suppose) conditions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharashka



'Warspite' wrote:


Experience against the Japanese A5M2a in China showed the I-16 had the edge in diving speed and level speed while its 9mm pilot armour was proof to Japanese light AND heavy MG fire.

Aside from the rare experimental airframe it is my understanding that the Claude only carried light machine guns (2 x 7.7mm).

Perhaps Japanese naming conventions have caused some historical confusion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_92_Heavy_Machine_Gun

Not to be confused with the Type 92 Machine Gun, which fired a rimmed 7.7mm round (as opposed to the semi-rimmed 7.7mm of the Type 92 'Heavy' MG and as opposed to the rimless 7.7mm fired by the Type 99 rifle)

Oh, Japan...


I think the Wikipedia link does it for me. My other sources quoted several flying characteristics and you will notice that spinning was NOT mentioned as a fault. I think the Japanese and the Luftwaffe would have picked it up and made it a point if it existed. When you get to the Wiki link you will see that it clearly states that the spinning claim has followed this type around solely due to its similarity with a really notorious spinner, the Gee Bee.

With regard to gun calibres I am at fault there. The William Green page specified the 12.7mm as the 'heavy' but I reduced it to the word 'heavy' as I was rushing to deal with another matter.
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PostMon Feb 20, 2012 5:36 pm
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NeuralDream

 
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I do not remember reading about such a problem. Also, I would be surprised if it were true. It doesn't look like the kind of aircraft that would spin easily.

As for a comment mentioned earlier about its bad diving acceleration, it certainly is not surprising. Its airframe's design is an airbrake by itself. Having carburetor engine did not help either.
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'Warspite'

 

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I-16 Rata from YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_6jZ0YbMz4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y51F59LSDE


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