Yak-1 fighters by A.S.Yakovlev

General Information
Type Yak-1
Function Fighter
Year (production) 1940- 1944
Crew 1
Type M-105P family
Power 1050 to 1250hp
Length 8.48m
Height ?m
Wingspan 10.0m
Wing area 17.15m2
Weights and loads
Empty 2350 to 2630kg
Loaded 2780 to 3140kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 162 to 183
Power load (kg/hp) 2.24 to 3.00
at 0m 437 to 535km/h
Maximum 528 to 610km/h
at Altitude 3650 to 4860m
Landing 132 to 145km/h
Turn time 17 to 22sec
Climb during turn 750 to 1150m
Landing 500 to 560m
Takeoff 285 to 440m
Practical 550 to 1000km
Ceiling 8600 to 11000m
5000m 4.7 to 7.3min
Fuel 305kg
Gun TypeAmmo
1*20mm ShVAK 110 to 120
2*7.62mm ShKAS
1*12.3mm UBS
Salvo (kg/sec) 1.73
up to 200kg
Yak-1 early design from "Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War" by Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov, Vol.1p.125
Courtesy of Thomas Heinz

The first aircraft of the 'Yak' fighters family, basic version for large number of types and modifications. It turned to be the most successful among new generation of fighters which entered service just prior to German invasion: MiG-3 production was cancelled in December 1941, LaGG-3 - in early 1942 (except one factory, which run limited series until Fall 1943). Yak-1 was in production during almost four years: from September 1940 until July 1944.

Some of Yak-1 variants
(Aeroplan Magazine Page)

Production of the Yak-1 started even before the trial program of the I-26 prototype was fulfilled. As a result early batches suffered from number of defects, cured in parallel with tests and modifications of the prototypes. Input from both prototype trials and field service helped to improve the design quickly.

Yak-1 - conventional mixed design low wing cantilever monoplane with retractable landing gear. Engine cradle is a part of the wielded steel fuselage frame. Engine cowling - metal. Tail section top and bottom are covered with plywood, sides - fabric. Wing is of wooden construction with two box-spars, with stressed plywood skin (5 to 2.5mm). Pilot cockpit is covered with 3-piece plexiglas canopy with backward sliding central section. Armored seat has thickness 8mm.

Armament (initial configuration) included single 20mm ShVAK cannon firing through the propeller hub and pair of 7.62mm ShKAS machineguns. Until the end of 1942 Yak-1 was equipped with six RS-82 rails and hardpoints for 200kg bombs.

During production numerous changes were introduced. Engine power was increased from 1050hp to 1250hp (series machines). Bombs and rockets were deleted as Il-2 ground attack aircraft became available at large numbers. Two light machineguns were replaced by single 12.3mm UBS. Salvo was increased by 0.26kg/sec, effective strike range increased some weight was saved. Rear fuselage was cut down to provide better view for pilot. Sliding section of the canopy was fitted with emergency opening mechanism.

220k b/w Yak-1 on the mass production line, from 'Notes of an aircraft designer' by A.Yakovlev;

Yak-1 had a good handling and was not very demanding to the pilot skills. Even pilots with below average experience could operate it. And they did... Most of Soviet pilots had as little as 25 to 50 flight hours of training. But the losses could be heavier. Thanks to Yak-1 excellent performance on low and medium altitudes, even under-trained pilots could outmaneuver their opponents without risk of control loss. Many Soviet aces started their career flying Yak-1. A.I.Pokryshkin got his first Hero Star flying Yak-1 during the Kuban' air battle (April 17 to June 7 1943).

In Fall 1942 Yak-1 became the major fighter of Soviet Air Force. 1/3 of fighter regiments were equipped with this aircraft.

Score of Yak-1 variants and modifications were built. Unlike following designs (Yak-7, Yak-9 and Yak-3), those variants carried no specific factory designations, except one which was referred as Yak-1B (with UB machinegun).

Yak-1b from "Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War" by Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov, Vol.1p.130
Courtesy of Thomas Heinz

Assembly of Yak-1 started in 1940 at Moscow Factory N°301 (117 built before switching to Yak-7 assembly) and Saratov Factory N°292. Total production - 8667 aircraft. In April-July 1944 manufacturing gradually switched to the Yak-3.

Yak-1 was flown by female ace Lilya litvyak, nicknamed "The White Rose of Stalingrad" and Valeria Khomyakova, the first female pilot in history to down enemy aircraft.

In service until the end of World War II.

Two 16k shots of my 1/72 plastic Yak-1 in winter 1941 color scheme
Predecessor Experimental Modifications Series Modifications Developments

Yak-1 pre-series
Yak-1 'army' series
series Yak-1 with M-105P
Yak-1 M-105P/PA
Yak-1 M-105PA with bombs Yak-1 on skis
Yak-1 winter variant
Yak-1 with boosted VK-105 engine
Yak-1 M-105PF
Yak-1 M-106 Yak-1 M-105PF lightened Yak-1B
Yak-1 with improved view, armament and armor (Yak-1B)

Yak-1 with improved airdynamics

Yak-1 with RS-82
Yak-1 MPVO
  • "Yak fighters of the Great Patriotic War period" by A.T .Stepanets
  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.2 p.193-194;
  • "Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War" by Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov, Vol.1.
  • "Russian aircraft since 1940" by Jean Alexander, p.421-424;
  • Links
  • Yak-1 at "Russian Wings"
  • Yak-1 at "Sky Corner"
  • Yak-1 at Complete Encyclopedia of World Aviation
  • Yak-1 plastic/history
  • Yak-1 at Virtual Aircraft Museum
  • Yak-1 and Yak-7 of Normandie-Niemen
  • I-26, Yakovlev
  • Yak-1, Yakovlev
  • I-26 model page by Dariusz Tyminski
  • Soviet female pilots on WWII by Rolando Silva
  • Yakovlev Yak-1
  • Common Myths and Misconceptions
  • Yakovlev Yak-1
  • Yak-1B from Accurate Miniatures - not just about plastic!

  • Created January 25, 1996 Back to
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