|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USSR / Russia / Pashinin|
Early in 1939, Mikhail M Pashinin, a former deputy of N N Polikarpov, designed a single-seat fighter reflecting Spanish and Japanese (Nomonhan Incident) experience as part of the high priority programme to produce a successor to the I-16. Assigned the designation I-21 (despite its earlier use for the Ilyushin-designed TsKB-32), the fighter was of mixed construction, with a plywood-covered metal wing, a welded steel tube forward fuselage and a wooden monocoque rear fuselage. Intended to take the Klimov-developed M-107 engine, the prototypes were fitted with the Klimov M-105P of 1,050hp because of the non-availability of the more powerful unit. Armament comprised an engine-mounted 23mm cannon and two wing-mounted 7.62mm machine guns. The first prototype was flown on 18 May 1940. State Trials, which commenced on 6 June, revealing poor stability. The second prototype was therefore fitted with revised outer wing panels with tapered leading and trailing edges. This prototype attained speeds of 488km/h at sea level and 573km/h at 5000m. As handling qualities still left much to be desired, a third prototype, flown in January 1941, embodied considerable wing redesign. The outer panels were sweptback and clipped, reducing span by 1.57m, and the tailplane was modified. Landing characteristics remained poor, the I-21 demanding an unacceptably long runway, and a pre-series of five aircraft was discontinued.
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