This Russian Mosca I-16 fighter
airplane bears some resemblance the Bee Gee series of American racers. According
to the Wikipedia entry, "The
I−16 was a Soviet single-engine single-seat fighter aircraft of revolutionary
design; it was the world's first low-wing cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable
landing gear to attain operational status and as such 'introduced a new vogue in
fighter design.' The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone
of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter,
nicknamed 'Ishak' or 'Ishachok' ('Donkey' or 'Burro') by Soviet pilots, figured
prominently in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and the
Spanish Civil War - where it was called the Rata ('Rat') or Mosca ('Fly')." Its
maiden flight occurred on 30 December, 1933. Amazingly, 10,292 were built between
1934 and 1942.
Mosca I-16 Fighter
Details of the I-16 Pursuit
This bee-shaped little fighter first came to the attention of the aviation world
during the Russo-Finnish war early in 1940 when observers watched it in action against
other foreign planes placed at the disposal of the Finns.
Against the Dutch Pursuit Fokker D-21, British Spitfires and fast Blenheim bombers,
the highly maneuverable "Mosca" fought off, outflew, and accounted for many enemy
planes. It was equipped to operate either with skis or landing gear which retracted
flush into the wings.
This winter will undoubtedly see these ships
again fitted with skis. The I-16 is powered with a Russian-built "Cyclone" of 700
h.p, and is armed with four to six machine guns of .30 and .50 caliber. Construction
is mostly plywood and fabric.
Although Model I-16 is several years old (having first seen air action against
German and Italian planes in the Spanish Civil War) details of its construction
and specifications have always been withheld. However, it is known that Russia has
more of this type (mostly improved and faster versions) than any other kind and
its top speed is somewhere around 300 m.p.h.
The latest I-16's are also used as dive bombers, carrying their loads in streamline
containers underneath the wings as shown in above photo.
Posted September 7, 2019