Polikarpov I-180


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Polikarpov I-180

Developed from mid 1938 by Dmitrii L Tomashevich (one of Polikarpov's deputies), the I-180 was originally conceived with an all-metal structure. Limited all-metal construction experience, however, led the Polikarpov OKB to adopt an essentially similar structure to that of the earlier I-16, with a wooden monocoque fuselage and a fabric-skinned metal wing. The first prototype, the I-180.1, was powered by a 1,100hp Tumansky M-88 14-cylinder two-row radial, intended armament being four 7.62mm guns. This aircraft was lost as a result of engine failure during its first flight on 15 December 1938. The second prototype, the I-180.2, differed primarily in having a 1,000hp Tumansky M-87A (later M-87B) 14-cylinder two-row radial and lengthened wing outer panels. These increased wing span from 9.00m to 10.05m and area from 14.68m2 to 16.11m2. First flown on 19 April 1939, the I-180.2 was lost on its 53rd flight. A third prototype, the I-180.3 flown on 10 February 1940, featured a redesigned and more advanced wing structure, a 1,100hp M-88R engine, a cockpit canopy and an armament of two 12.7mm and two 7.62mm guns concentrated in the fuselage. Flown with both wheel and ski undercarriages, the I-180.3 was lost in an accident during State Acceptance Trials.

In the meantime, a pre-series of 10 aircraft based on the I-180.2 had been under construction as the I-180S (Seriyny or Series), the first three of these having been completed in December 1939. The I-180S was powered by the M-88R and carried an armament of two 12.7mm and two 7.62mm fuselage-mounted guns, and, like the I-180.3, featured an enclosed cockpit. The I-180S was cleared for service trials, but the results of these were somewhat academic as this fighter had been overtaken by the more advanced I-185. As a part of the I-185 development programme, one pre-series I-180S fighter had the dated triangulated pattern mainwheel legs replaced with legs of cantilever type, this aircraft being referred to as the I-180Sh, the suffix indicating Shassi (chassis). In the event, it was not completed and flown, the entire I-180 programme having meanwhile been abandoned.

Polikarpov I-180A three-view drawing (1278 x 842)

  Take-off weight2456 kg5415 lb
  Empty weight2046 kg4511 lb
  Wingspan10.09 m33 ft 1 in
  Length6.88 m23 ft 7 in
  Wing area16.11 m2173.41 sq ft
  Max. speed585 km/h364 mph

bombardier, e-mail, 23.05.2011 15:08

Aircraft design and politics are things that shouldn't be mixed


Matthew Warren, e-mail, 10.03.2011 17:08

It's a great looking aircraft, with the reverse swept trailing edge. I wonder if the stall charistics of this aircraft might be very abrupt. I have flown the T-38 and the F-111, both swept wing of course. They both have sink rates, below min flying speeds, but they also both recover quickly from this level wing, 6000 to 10000 feet per minute sink rate. By pushing the stick forward, trading altitude for airspeed, both aircraft then regain flying speed. I believe that the Poli. I-180 would have an abrupt stall leading to spin, unless the torque of that big engine was controlled. The I-180 was pushing the limits of both Russian aircraft designers and the pilots of the time. MW.


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