Designed and built in Russia, the Yakovlev Yak-3 was one of the smallest and lightest combat fighters produced during World War II. As such, it proved itself a formidable dogfighter at altitudes below 13,000 feet.
The Yak-3 grew out of an effort to produce a lighter, lower-drag version of the Yak-1 fighter already in production. Design work began in 1941, but the program was held back by delays with the newly developed Kimlov VK-107 engine plus the need to build the maximum number of Yak-1s. The first Yak-3 prototype, a combination of a new wing design mated to a Yak-1M fuselage, with additional modifications, finally took to the air in mid-1943. Production models using the proven VK-105PF-2 engine entered service in July, 1944. The design was so successful that over 4,000 Yak-3s had been produced by mid-1946.
It was used predominantly in a tactical role, flying low over battlefields and engaging enemy aircraft below 13,000 feet. With its high power-to-weight ratio, it was easily able to out-climb and out-turn its German adversaries, the Messerschmidt Bf-109 and Focke-Wulf FW-190, making it one of the most formidable dogfighters of the war.
The Yak-3M on display, serial no. 0410101 was built in 1994 at the Yakovlev aircraft factory in Orenburg, Russia using the original plans, tools, dies, and fixtures. It is painted in the colors and markings of Captain Louis Delfino, one of the Free French pilots of the Normandie-Niemen regiment Escadrille, NO-1 Rouen. Captain Delfino finished World War II with 16 victories and later became a general in the French Air Force.
|ENGINE (ORIGINAL)||Klimov VK-105PF-2, V-12, 1,300 h.p.|
|ENGINE (AS DISPLAYED)||Allison V-1710-89, V-12, 1,300 h.p.|
|ARMAMENT||2 - 12.7 MM, machine guns & 1 - engine mounted 20 MM, ShVAK cannon|
|WING SPAN||30 feet, 2.25 inches|
|LENGTH||27 feet, 10.25 inches|
|HEIGHT||7 feet, 11.25 inches|
|MAX TAKEOFF WEIGHT||5,864 pounds|
|MUSEUM'S AIRCRAFT BUILT||1994|
|ON DISPLAY AT||Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison Airport (KADS), Dallas, Texas|
|MAXIMUM SPEED||407 m.p.h.|
|SERVICE CEILING||35,105 feet|