|World War II aircraft|
|Country of origin||Russia|
|Dimensions||Wing span 29'6" (9 m)|
Length 20'1" (6.13 m)
Height 10'8" (3.25 m)
|Internal fuel||67 gal|
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- 1 The Polikarpov I-16 in World War II
- 2 The Polikarpov I-16 in Aces High II
The Polikarpov I-16 in World War II
When Polikarpov I-16 was introduced into Soviet air forces in early 30th it was a revolutionary design. It was the world's first low-wing cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear to have attained operational status. It was a backbone of VVS when Eastern front was opened in 1941. However at that point its performance potential was already exhausted and it was already planned to be replaced by a newer designs like Yak-1, LaGG-3 and MiG-3.
It was very small aircraft of 9m wingspan and 6.13m of length with rear weight bias making it difficult to fly and easy to fall into spin, also the recovery was easy. When British instructor had an opportunity to fly I-16, after landing the aircraft he was sweating heavily and commented "Let the Russians fly this airplane!" I-16 was built in many variants. It engine was being constantly upgraded during from early 480 hp Shvetsov M-22 in type 4 variant up to 1,100 hp M-63 in late variants type 29. The armament was in constant evolution as well resulting in most heavily armed early war fighter aircraft.