Polikarpov I-16
Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  FIGHTERVirtual Aircraft Museum / USSR / Russia / Polikarpov  

Polikarpov I-16

The first prototype flew on December 21, 1933. A total of 6555 were built.

Polikarpov I-16

 ENGINE1 x M-62, 735kW
    Take-off weight1900 kg4189 lb
    Empty weight1490 kg3285 lb
    Wingspan8.9 m29 ft 2 in
    Length6.1 m20 ft 0 in
    Wing area15.0 m2161.46 sq ft
    Max. speed525 km/h326 mph
    Cruise speed290 km/h180 mph
    Ceiling9000 m29550 ft
    Range w/max.fuel400-700 km249 - 435 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 20mm machine-guns, 2 machine-guns, 2 bombs or 6 missiles

Polikarpov I-16

Ron, 29.09.2014

I read recently that a half-roll was required first in order to dive or the engine might die in the I-16. Like the early Yak or Spitfire, a negative g dive was to be avoided.

Cargill, 14.12.2013

A comprehensive technical description and discussion of the flight characteristics and novel armament of this first modern fighter airplane, the I-16, can be found in the Tinker biography, "Five Down, No Glory" (Naval Institute Press, 2011).

a.casais, 08.11.2010

this little plane was called by the republicans "el mosca"( the fly)

Aaron, 14.08.2010

The Russian called it "mule" and "little donkey" and various other names. Rata is my favorite, but then I'm not Russian so it doesn't count. As far as all my research has taken me, no I-16 to see active service ever broke the 300mph barrier in level flight.
I'll list the charictarisics of (what I believe to be) the cream of the crop:
Type 29 : Most pilots prefered this to the Hurrican because of its dynamic maneuverability.
M-63 1,100hp. at 4210lbs. its maximum speed was 259mph/SL and 290mph/14,695ft. 3425fpm/SL and 16,400ft/5.8 service ceiling was listed at 32,000ft. officially. After that anything goes with the Russian industry and VVS.
This was a very dynamic fighter, small hard target and pretty much all they had when Germany invaded.
Arguably could be considered the best of the Spanish civil war. Dickenson thought so.

Heldmyer, 02.08.2010

Also it was the world's first cantilever-winged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear!

Roderick Johnson, 14.06.2010

Named "Moska" (Fly) by the Russians, "Rata" (Rat) by the Spanish, and generally called a "Boeing" by Fascist pilots who may have thought it a variant on the P-26 and didn't think the Soviets capable of producing it. Franco operated captured ones. A serious weakness by 1940 was no radio.

Sturm, 31.05.2010

Everything I've read confirms what Jagtai said. The I-16 was pretty dominant until the 109s came.

I understand this was a fairly demanding plane to fly. (I'm guessing the short length contributed to directional stability issues).

Ken Roper, 29.03.2010

Confederate Air Force museum at the Midland, Tx airport has arecently rebuilt and supposedly flyable (flew before delivery to CAF) I-16. Amusingly small! It seems there were six of these rebuilt/restored in Russia a few years ago. Worth a stop at the museum if you're passing by on I-20.

Jagtai, 11.03.2010

As far as I remember, the I-16 was superior UNTIL the appearance of the Bf 109.

Ilya, 06.08.2009

The depicted above colour profile is of Polikarpov I-16 type 24 of the 69th Fighter Regiment (69-iy Istrebitel'nyi Polk), Odessa Military District, July 1941.

Ronald, 06.08.2009

I like the variants with the 20-mm wing cannons.
It had a great roll rate at high speed.
It even had armor for the pilot.
I understand the I-16 Mosca stung the IJAAF and their hard pressed, slower Ki 27 Nates in the Nomonhan combat of 1939 with embarrassingly high losses. On the other hand, the sturdier Japanese Navy A5M2 Clauds seemed to carry the day by virtue of pilot skill, maintaining air superiority over the faster Russian I-16s.

Ronald, 02.09.2008

Weight of fire / sec. salvo = up to 3.02kg.
Climb to 5km = 8.2 min.
360 turn = 16-18 sec.

Dr. Nikholas M. Stage--PHD., 10.11.2007

This Soviet fighter plane, the I-16, could have WON
the Spanish Civil War (1936-1936) for the Pro-Communist
and Loyalist side of that civil war, if Joseph Stalin
would have understood that 350-to-400 more I-16s, that he had
in his Soviet arsenal, would have "beefed-up" the 140
I-16s already in Spain, being flown by mostly Soviet

This little plane, the I-16, was a spunky little fighter,
but it could out-fight Franco's mercenary Italian Air Force pilots and their Fiat-made planes,, and the Soviet I-16s
were more than a match for the new prototype German Me-109
109's being flown by the legendary "volunteer Nazi Condor Legion.
Stalin's own paranoia, and his tight-wad mentality,
did more to totally use up those I-16's, than finally being
exterminated by the Nazi Condor Legion.

However, history did vindicate this plane, as hundreds
of I-16s
fought most of the air battles, for the first 150 days after
Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 22nd, 1941.

There were 29 Soviet air aces that flew against Hitler
in I-16 fighter planes, in the first 120 days of the
4-year war on the Eastern(Russian) Front.

Again, not bad at all.

A good little, but tough, fighter plane, the I-16!!

Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

Virtual Aircraft Museum

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 - www.avitop.com Avitop.com