General Information
Type I-28 (I-287)
Function Fighter
Year 1939 1940
Crew 1 1
Powerplant (1)
Type M-87A M-88
Power 950hp 1000hp
Length 8.54m
Height ?m
Wingspan 9.6m
Wing area 16.5m2
Weights and loads
Loaded 2660kg 2730kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 161 163
Power load (kg/hp) 2.8 2.7
at 0m 412km/h 439km/h
at 6000m 545km/h ?km/h
at 7000m ?km/h 566km/h
Landing 140km/h
Turn time 25...26sec
Takeoff ?m 352m
Practical ?km 450km
Ceiling 10400m 10800m
5000m 6.3min 6.1min
Fuel ?kg ?kg
100kg (overload)

I-28 (I-287) and I-28Sh by V.P.Yatsenko

26k b/w I-28 photo, courtesy of Sergey Andreev

Despite talks about 'Soviet leadership ignoring Nazi threat', late 30s saw an explosion in aircraft designs. Moreover, number of new design teams were created to challenge Polikarpov's domination in fighters production. Bureau of V.P.Yatsenko (located at Tushino Aircraft Factory N°81) was one of such bureaus, where he started building his original fighter I-287 (I-28, variant 7) in Spring 1938. Aircraft was intended for new M-90 engine.

Employment of inverted-gull wing allowed to use relatively low main landing gear. Ailerons occupied 40% of the wing span, between them single-piece landing flap was installed. Pilot's cockpit was located well aft the wing. All controls had rigid links, main landing gear had pneumatic retraction system. Construction mostly wooden, what was suggested by country leadership and industry, because practically all aluminum resources were allocated for production of bomber aircraft. Wood in the I-28 was used mostly as a plywood, impregnated with epoxy and than heated under pressure. Later this technology was adopted by S.A.Lavochkin and his associates in LaGG-3 (later - La-5 and La-7). Nose section was assembled around simple steel tube frame, supporting the engine.

Governmental order required to present aircraft on May 1, 1939. This requirement was fulfilled, but M-90 engine was not ready in time, and M-87A was installed. I-28 rolled out on April 30. Flight trials started on June 1, 1939.

7k b/w I-28 photo, courtesy of Complete Encyclopedia of World Aviation

During high speed dive trials (July 4) pilot P.M.Stefanovsky reached speed 725km/h, when engine cowling disintegrated. One of fragments damaged the tailplane, and aircraft performed sharp dip. Enormous inertial forces broke seat belts, and threw the pilot from the cockpit. Fortunately for P.M.Stefanovsky, the canopy was open and he came out of blackout early enough to deploy parachute... After proper investigations, designer was not blamed for the accident. There were no precise technique at the time to estimate loads on the engine cowling in new flight envelope, and I-28 crash stimulated corresponding studies.

Flight characteristics were promising, and I-28 was ordered into production even before trials ended (with crash). Saratov 'Sarcombine' factory was chosen as production base. Production of I.G.Neman R-10 (and its civilian conversion PS-5) was cancelled at this factory. New wood-processing technology caused problems (unlike the R-10). Despite a wealth of equipment was provided to the factory, parts fitting was not an simple issue. But factory staff was learning.

After the crash production was put on hold. Of 30 ordered series planes only the second prototype and five series aircraft were built. Second prototype was fitted with 950hp M-87B and later with 1000hp M-88 engine. M-88 also was installed on series planes.

Second prototype was presented on State Trials (April 20 to May 15, 1940). In July 1940 I-28 program was cancelled. First in the USSR high-speed fighter of new generation partially lost its value because slick fighters with liquid-cooled engines appeared more promising.

Strike variant I-28Sh with 2911kg takeoff weight was on drawing borders, but was abandoned together with I-28.

- I-28Sh
  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.2 p.67;
  • I-28
  • I-28 profile in Polsky
  • I-28, Yatsenko

  • Created April 10, 1996
    Modified January 21, 2000
    with help of Sergey Andreev
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