Hobby Master HA2403 USAF Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 15bis "Fagot" Fighter - "TC 7616" Chuck Yeager / Tom Collins, 1953 (1:72 Scale)
"A MiG pilot, they decided, would be kept so busy flying his airplane that he would have little attention left over 'for engaging the enemy.'"
- Time Magazine, December 21st, 1953. Unanimous conclusion reached by Major General Albert Boyd, commander of Wright Air Development Center, Major "Chuck" Yeager, the first pilot to fly faster than sound, and Captain Harold E. Collins, who set an official speed record in a Sabre jet, after flying a captured MiG 15 in simulated combat against Sabre jets
The spectacular MiG-15 fighter used a combination of Russian ingenuity and "borrowed" advanced European aviation technology to become one of the most famous aircraft designs of its era. Called the "aircraft-soldier" by Russian pilots, the aircraft was exceptionally strong and dependable. The MiG-15 is still respected for its speed, maneuverability and firepower; advantages that made it a worthy adversary of the North American F-86 during the Korean War.
The Mikoyan and Gurevich (MiG) design team utilized captured German technology when developing the layout of the MiG-15. The plane's 35 degree swept wing, fuselage mounted engine and clean lines gave the aircraft exceptional performance. Powered by a unlicensed copy of the famous British Nene centrifugal flow jet engine, the MiG-15 was capable of speeds up to Mach .934. The initial prototype, the I-310, made its first flight in December 1947 and won a fly-off against the Lavochkin La-15. The MiG-15 went into production and entered front line service in 1949.
Shortly after its introduction the MiG-15 entered combat over Korea. Flown by Russian, North Korean and Chinese pilots, the swept wing MiG fighter terrorized U.S.A.F. B-29 bombers flying strategic bombing missions over North Korean cities. The MiG-15's speed, maneuverability, and heavy armament (two 23mm and one 37mm cannon) allowed it brush aside escorting fighters and rip through the B-29 formations. B-29 losses to MiGs reached such high levels that the U.S.A.F. stopped daylight B-29 bombing raids and flew all strikes under the cover of darkness. Although several MiG-15s were brought down by B-29 gunners and other U.N. aircraft, only the North American F-86 Sabre was the MiG-15's equal in combat. The MiG's combat success and its dependability made the plane very popular with Eastern Bloc and Communist nations around the world. Since 1950 roughly 7,500 MiG-15s have been built in Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and China. In addition to the Korean War, the MiG-15 has been used extensively as an air defense fighter, an air superiority fighter, a ground attack aircraft and reconnaissance fighter in a number of conflicts in the Middle East and the Orient.(courtesy Cavanaugh Flight Museum).
Shown here is a 1:72 scale replica of a captured Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 15bis "Fagot" fighter that was test flown by Chuck Yeager and Tom Collins during 1953.
Wingspan: 5.5 inches
Length: 6 inches
Release Date: March 2009
Historical Account: "Defection and Assessment" - On September 21st, 1953 a defecting North Korea pilot, No Kum-Sok, flew his MiG-15bis '2057' to South Korea. Anxious to recover valuable intelligence data the aircraft under went considerable test flying. One of the test pilots was Chuck Yeager and the other was Tom Collins who is the reason for the TC on the aircraft.
After putting the MIG through its paces, they decided that it 1) has "insufficient stall warning"; 2) has a cramped, uncomfortable cabin with poor heating and ventilation; 3) is hard to control in combat; 4) is "deficient in speed."
Probably most important was the three experts' judgment that the MIG lacks the instruments and controls that make a Sabre jet easy to fly. A MIG pilot, they decided, would be kept so busy flying his airplane that he would have little attention left over "for engaging the enemy."
Eventually the US offered to return the aircraft to its rightful owners but there was no response. In 1957, the aircraft was transferred to the National Museum of the USAF for public display.