Yakovlev Yak-1

The Yak-1 was amongst the first few members of a large family of successful aircraft during World War 2 manufactured by the Soviet Union. In spite of often being overshadowed by its counterparts in the West (that included the Supermarine Spitfire, North American P-51 Mustang, Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190), Yakovlev fighters were amongst the best aircrafts produced in World War 2. They in fact become the most produced fighter aircraft of World War 2 when production of the Yak-1, Yak-3, Yak-7 and Yak-9 is combined where all were essentially modified variants of the initial Yak-1. Initially, its design was denoted as Ya-26.

It possessed a modern design with a mixed structure of a welded steel tube fuselage covered with a secondary light alloy structure. At first glance, the design of the exterior of the Yak-1 “Krasavyets” (which means “Little Beauty” in Russian) proved to be very effective because of a basic slender fuselage design, mid-set canopy and a low-cut vertical tail surface. This second structure had been covered with a sheet metal of light alloys over the front part, and plywood was laid over the rear part. The tail unit was made up of a light alloy structure which was then covered with fabric. The wing had a plywood-covered wooden unit made out of one piece. It appeared dihedral, tapered in thickness and chord. Power was derived from a single Klimov-brand engine developing some 1,100 horsepower or more depending on the model. The cockpit was located above the wing, with a rear-sliding section, and the landing gear was a wide track, inward retracting pneumatic system.

The Yak-1 was a high standard performer that quickly became a favorite for her pilots. Its initial production’s pace was a bit slow but because of the German invasion of 1941, the Soviet Government put the project into high priority. Eventually more aircrafts were produced in a number of variants. It is still celebrated as one of the best Soviet piston-engine designs of the war. Total production of the Yak-1 alone exceeded some 8,700 models.


Length: 27.89 ft (8.50 m)
Width: 32.81 ft (10.00 m)
Height: 8.66 ft (2.64 m)
Performance: About MACH
Max Speed: 368 mph (592 kmh; 320 kts)
Max Range: 435 miles (700 km)
Rate-of-Climb: 3,038 ft/min (926 m/min)
Service Ceiling: 34,465 ft (10,505 m; 6.5 miles)
Initial climb rate: Climb to 16,405 ft in 5 min 24 sec
Range: 435 miles max
Fuel capacity internal: 90 Imp gal (108 US gal)
Fuel capacity external:
Accommodation: 1
Hard points: 2
Empty Weight: 5,278 lbs (2,394 kg)
MTOW: 6,356 lbs (2,883 kg)
Engine(s): 1 x Klimov M-105P V12 liquid-cooled engine delivering 1,180 hp.
Armament Suite: 1 x 20 mm ShVAK cannon in propeller hub
1 x 12.7 mm Berezin UBS machine gun OR 2 x 7.62 mm machine guns in forward fuselage.
Up to 441 lbs of external stores including both bombs and rockets.