Emhar Aircraft 1/72 WWII Yak3 Russian Fighter Kit
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In 1943, Yakovlev designed Yak-1M which was a smaller and lighter version of Yak-1. A second Yak-1M prototype was constructed later that year, differing from the first aircraft in plywood instead of fabric covering of the rear fuselage, mastless radio antenna, reflector gunsight, and improved armor and engine cooling. The chief test pilot for the project Piotr Mikhailovich Stefanovskiy was so impressed with the new aircraft that he recommended that it should completely replace Yak-1 and Yak-7 with only Yak-9 retained in production for further work with the Klimov VK-107 engine. The new fighter, designated Yak-3 entered service in 1944, later than Yak-9 in spite of the lower designation number. A total of 4,848 aircraft were produced.
Lighter and smaller than Yak-9 but powered by the same engine, Yak-3 was a very agile dog fighter and a forgiving, easy to handle aircraft loved by both rookie and veteran pilots. Early combat experience found it to be superior to all Luftwaffe fighters at altitudes below 5,000 m (16,400 ft). It could roll with the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 and its turn was far superior; a full circle in 18.6 seconds. The two biggest drawbacks of the aircraft were its short range and the tendency of the glued-on plywood covering the top of the wings to tear away under high-G loads. The pneumatic system for actuating landing gear, flaps, and brakes, typical for all Yakovlev fighters of the time was also less reliable than the hydraulic or electrical systems, but it was preferred due to significant weight savings. The first 197 Yak-3 were armed with a single 20 mm ShVAK cannon and one 12.7 mm UBS machine gun, with subsequent aircraft receiving a second UBS for a weight of fire of 2.72 kg (6.0 lb) per second using high-explosive ammunition.
The designation Yak-3 was also used for three other Yakovlev projects - a Yakovlev Yak-1 modification with all-metal wings and increased armament known as I-30, a proposed but never built heavy twin-engine fighter, and Yakovlev Yak-7A.
Since 1991, a number of Yak-3 have been newly manufactured by Yakovlev for the warbird market using the original plans and dies. These are powered by Allison V-1710 engines and have the designation Yak-3M. Several of these are airworthy today, mostly in the United States, but also in Germany and Australia. Others have been converted to "Yak-3" status from Yak-11 trainers (with the fitment of a Allison engine) for private owners, with these aircraft also being very popular worldwide.