This is coolbert:
Those Soviet pilots fighting fascist forces in the skies over Spain [Spanish Civil War] and China [Second Sino-Japanese War], would have flown the Polikarpov I-16.
A fighter plane well advanced for it's time. Had many features that were "firsts", unique and deadly [to both friendly and foe alike!].
HAS AN APPEARANCE THAT CATCHES YOUR EYE RIGHT AWAY. AN AIRPLANE BOLTED TO A GIGANTIC ENGINE. STUBBY LITTLE FUSELAGE, WINGS, TAIL. THE PROPORTIONS ARE INTUITIVELY NOT RIGHT??!!
"Polikarpov I-16 Ishak (Rata) Though it looked like a stumpy racer, the Polikarpov I-16 was very much a fighter"
WAS VERY ADVANCED FOR IT'S DAY, BUT DID HAVE A GLARING PROBLEM! WAS DIFFICULT TO FLY AND CAUSED PROBLEMS FOR PILOTS THAT WERE NOT "ON THEIR TOES" ALL THE TIME! IF THE ENEMY DID NOT SHOOT YOU DOWN, YOU MIGHT VERY WELL CRASH IF YOU WERE NOT CAREFUL!
"Though it looked like a stumpy racer, the Polikarpov I-16 was very much a fighter, and the first in the world to go into service combining cantilever monoplane wings with retractable landing gear. It was also the greatest fighter of its day, but it was slightly marred by being tricky to fly and dangerous to an inexperienced pilot."
"The aircraft soon proved to be rather difficult to fly - it was almost unstable under all three axes, and had to be flown with ceaseless attention. On the plus side, its rolls and loops were so fast as to be quite startling."
"The outbreak of Civil War in Spain on the 18th July 1936 led to urgent pleas from the Republicans to Russia for fighter aircraft. After a suitable payment in gold, Stalin dispatched a large number of I-16’s for Republican service. Straight into action, the stubby monoplane mastered most opposition with ease."
"In 1937 more than 250 I-16’s were supplied to China. These aircraft fought over China until 1943"
There were a number of "affectionate" nicknames for this aircraft:
* "The Red Army pilots nicknamed the aircraft Ishak (Russian: Ишак, Donkey)."
* "The Nationalists [Spain] nicknamed the stubby fighter "Rata" (Rat)."
* The Republicans [Spain] affectionately called it "Mosca" (Fly)."
The design of the I-16 bears a remarkable resemblance [not totally so] to the American racing aircraft, the famous Gee Bee R-1.
The Gee Bee in it's time was the FASTEST airplane in the world. Incorporated unique and advanced designs NOT SEEN anywhere else!
WAS ALSO DANGEROUS AND DIFFICULT TO FLY. SO MUCH SO THAT IT WAS SAID ONLY THREE PERSONS IN THE WORLD COULD PILOT THE AIRCRAFT, AND TWO OF THOSE WERE ALREADY DEAD!!
"But the R-1 rapidly earned a reputation as, potentially, a very dangerous machine. The small wings, very low polar moment of inertia, and tiny control surfaces made for an aircraft that could rapidly get away from all but the most skilled pilots. Unfortunately, this shortcoming was common to most air racers of the day."
Again, the huge engine way out of proportion in size to the rest of the aircraft. An airplane bolted to an engine.
Jimmy Doolittle in the years prior to World War Two [WW2] developed a cult following from his successful piloting of the Gee Bee during aircraft races.
I have often wondered if Polikarpov "borrowed" the basic design and concepts as incorporated into the Gee Bee during the design and development phase of the I-16? Or was this a case of parallel development?