Yak-3 pictured at Wanaka, New Zealand, in April 1998.
(Photo courtesy of Graham Orphan, Classic Wings magazine.)
History: During the final two years of the
Second World War, the Yak-3 proved itself a powerful dogfighter. Tough and agile below an
altitude of 13,000 feet, the Yak-3 dominated the skies over the
battlefields of the Eastern Front during the closing years of the war.
The first attempt to build a fighter called the Yak-3 was
shelved in 1941 due to a lack of building materials and an unreliable engine. The second
attempt used the Yak-1M, already in production, to maintain the high number of planes
being built. The Yak-3 had a new, smaller wing and smaller dimensions then its
predecessor. Its light weight gave the Yak-3 more agility. The Yak-3 completed its trials
in October 1943 and began equipping the 91st IAP in July of 1944. In August, small numbers
of Yak-3s were built with an improved engine generating 1,700-hp, and the aircraft saw
limited combat action in 1945. Production continued until 1946, by which time 4,848 had
The story of the Yak-3 did not end with the Second World War.
In 1991, the Museum of Flying, in Santa Monica, California, asked Yakovlev to produce a
new series of Yak-3s to be built at Orenburg, Russia. The new Yak-3s were built using the
plans, tools, dies and fixtures of the original. They were powered by American Allison
engines, and given the designation Yak-3UA. These aircraft are
now available on the civilian market. [History by David MacGillivray]
("Killer"); Ostronosyi ("Sharp-Nose" -- Generic term for all
inline-engine powered Yak fighters).
Engine: One 1,300-hp Klimov VK-105PF-2 V-12 piston engine
Weight: Empty 4,641 lbs., Max
Takeoff 5,864 lbs.
Wing Span: 30ft. 2.25in.
Length: 27ft. 10.25in.
Height: 7ft. 11.25in.
Range: 559 miles
engine-mounted 20-mm ShVAK cannon
(0.5-inch) UBS machine guns
Number Built: 4,848 (Original 1940s-era
Number Still Airworthy: At least 5
European Yak Club
Kiwi Aircraft Images Yak-3
Yak-3U Race Team
Yakovlev's Piston-Engine Fighters
by Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Khazanov
Paperback, 144 pages
Published 2002 by Aerofax Midland Publ. Ltd.
An authoritative monograph describes the entire line of Yak piston fighters, from
the Yak-1 through the Yak-9.
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