When it flew for the first time in December 1933, the tiny I-16 was far ahead of any other fighter design in the world, thanks to its retractable landing gear, cantilever wing and variable pitch propeller. Although it wasn't the best remembered aircraft of the thirties, it was nevertheless a very able and rugged machine which featured prominently in world events.
For instance, when the Spanish Civil War broke out, almost 500 were put into service with the Republicans. The outstanding maneuverability, firepower and climb rate of the I-16 suprised the enemy, which led to the opposition calling it the Rata (Rat) and the more ubiquitous name Mosca (Fly). Extremely reliable and armed with a fast-firing Soviet 20mm cannon it was the most powerful aircraft in front line service with any nation on the eve of World War II. Another batch of I-16s was purchased by China to fight the Japanese during the mid-late 1930s, again surprising its foe with its excellent performance characteristics. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 4 inches
Length: 3 inches
Release Date: December 2005
Historical Account: "Crash and Burn" - Polikarpov was a Soviet OKB (design bureau) for aircraft, led by Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov. After his death on July 30th, 1944, at the age of 52, Polikarpov's OKB was absorbed into the Lavochkin design bureau, despite the fact that some of its engineers moved on to Mikoyan-Gurevich and its production facilities were given over to the Sukhoi design bureau.