Archive digitization



Aviation and Diplomacy

Frank Piasecki

NATO 1949-2009 Projekt ekspozycji w Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego w Krakowie



Polish Aviation Museum

31-864 Kraków,
al. Jana Pawła II 39
phone: (12) 640 99 60,
(12) 642 40 70
e-mail: info@muzeumlotnictwa.pl

a cultural institution of the Malopolska Region

Małopolska – Kraków Region


Patronage

Kraków Airport







Aeroplane: Yakovlev Yak-17UTI (Yak-17V; NATO: Magnet)

Yakovlev Yak-17UTI (Yak-17V; NATO: Magnet)
USSR
advanced trainer
1949



  • Technical data


Span 9.2 m
Length 8.78 m
Take-off weight 2906 kg
Maximum speed 719 km/h
Ceiling
Range 330 km
Armament
Powerplant :
1 x turbojet RD-10A, 1000 kG of thrust
Virtual tour :

 

On 24th April 1946, the Soviet Union officially entered the turbojet era. Two prototypes were flown on that day: the MiG‑9 developed at the No. 155 Mikoyan and Gurevich Experimental Design Bureau and the Yak‑15, developed at the No.115 Yakovlev Construction and Experimental Bureau. The MiG‑9 was an entirely new design, featuring a nose wheel and powered with two tubojet engines placed in the middle part of the fuselage.

The Yak-15 represented another idea. It referred to the already checked, WK-107A piston engine powered fighter construction, Yak-3. The aircraft had an all metal construction. It featured a metal truss, covered with non stressed duralumin skin. In the redesigned front part of the fuselage, the piston engine was replaced with a turbojet, which the exhaust pipe was placed under the middle part of the fuselage by the wing's trailing edge. This so-called redan or stepped fuselage configuration was similar to the bottom part of the floats and fuselages of floatplanes. This shape however remained the source of several technical and aerodynamic problems.

The undercarriage was of conventional configuration with a tail wheel, as the Yakovlev was of the opinion that given the new powerplant the conventional landing gear would increase the pilot's confidence and allow for easier training. The Yak‑15 was powered with the German Junkers Jumo 004 engine, of which limited production started after the war in the Soviet occupational zone. The production continued in the Soviet Union, under the RD‑10 designation until 1946.

By the end of the Yak‑15's state trials in 1947, the designers were recommended to build a two seater training derivative, based on the same construction, but with a nose wheel. The first Yak‑21 entering production was renamed the Yak‑17UTI (the Yak‑17W name was also used). The next entering serial production was the fighter Yak‑15U, renamed to the Yak‑17. The Yak‑17UTI was flown in May 1947 (the rebuilt Yak‑15 fighter, with enlarged cockpit and nose wheel undercarriage).

Its performance was much poorer than expected (instead of the assumed 600 km range, it in fact 370 km, the achieved speed was 40 km lower). High altitude flights were impossible due to insufficient fuel capacity. The flight instruction gave 41 minutes of flight, but the engine flamed-out after 30 minutes. The aircraft was void of armament and some equipment (which was assembled on the prototype).

A major disadvantage was that several critical devices had not been doubled, therefore the instructor could not start the engine, retract the undercarriage or flaps for take off and landing from his cockpit. These procedures could be only performed by the student pilot. These were really dangerous "oddities" of the aircraft. As a result there was very limited time of schooling and training. Other oddities included the lack of a step for entering the cockpit which made it necessary to use a footstool to climb inside.

As there was no better aircraft available, the Yak‑17UTI entered production anyway. In spring 1948, control tests revealed consecutive minor performance decrease.
The production of the Yak‑17's and the Yak‑17UTI's ended in 1949, after producing 430 aircraft. An interesting fact is that rebuilding the Yak‑17's into the training versions took place at the repairing works and often at the airfield works of the bases, where the aircraft were stationed.

The Yak‑17W was introduced into service with the Polish Air Force at the beginning of 1951 and served until 1955, when they were withdrawn from service. Six aircraft (known in the military reports as the Yak‑17W) had the unofficial nickname of "Agatha", derived from a "female" position of the plane during removal of the unused engine fuel (gasoline). The aircraft was intended to help the pilot to train for the Yak‑23 fighters, but in fact the combat trainer variant MiG‑15s were often used for this purposes.

At the beginning of 1957, two Yak‑17W's were delivered to the Aviation Institute in Warsaw. After the delivery of the first Yak, serious fuselage damage eliminating the aircraft from further flights was discovered and the aircraft was written off. Then the other Yak‑17W, also flown by test pilot Andrzej Abłamowicz was delivered to the institute. To repair the second aircraft, the first one was cannibalised. The flyable Yak‑17W received the civil SP‑GLM registration. The aircraft was needed for testing preceding the building of a new Polish design, the TS‑11 "Iskra". The Aviation Institute's Yak‑17W later became a valuable exhibit of the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow.

Apart from these aircraft, three crated Yak‑17 fighters were delivered to Poland in 1950. After the assembly one was flown during an air show. At the same time, the Mielec works were preparing for Yak‑17 (in reports known as the G‑1) licence production. At the beginning of 1951 these plans were abandoned. However, a few RD‑10 engines to power the aircraft had already been assembled at the WSK Rzeszów works. The engines served as spare powerplants for the remaining Yak‑17's.

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