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TsAGI centenary in the history of aviation: the MiG- 3

26 October 2018

“I liked this machine immediately,” said Alexander Pokryshkin, the flying ace. praising the front-line fighter MiG-3 “It can be compared to a strong, fast horse: In the hands of a determined rider it rushes at full speed, if you lose power you will turn out to be under its hooves.”

The MiG-3 development story started on the eve of the Second World War and was related to the dramatic events of those years. A talented Russian and Soviet aircraft designer Nikolay Polikarpov developed a project for a new high-altitude fighter, the I-200. But while he was on a business trip in Germany, his project was passed to the newly created Mikoyan and Gurevich Design Bureau. The I-200 project was improved there and was named the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-1. However, the aircraft had a number of defects: the canopy did not open in flight, the cockpit was not well ventilated, and the aircraft entered the spin easily due to tail heaviness.

The elimination of deficiencies resulted in a modified MiG-3. Scientists of the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) contributed to this project. They managed to improve flying qualities at high-angle-of-attack maneuvers, increase flying range and aircraft survivability.

The MiG-3 first flight took place in October 29, 1940. The fighter had a lot of advantages: it had the highest speed of 640 km/h, reached by a serial aircraft of that time at an altitude of 7000 m and 1350 HP take-off power. The interchangeability of components was its strong point: two or three defective machines were easily assembled into one. At the same time, the MiG-3 was called “the ill-tempered” airplane, that “does not forgive mistakes.” In particular, it had disadvantages in maneuverability at low and medium altitudes, where the main battles were fought.

The MiG-3 was taken out of production by Stalin’s personal order. The remaining machines were passed to air defense forces. Thanks to the excellent speed at high altitudes the aircraft successfully fought with enemy bombers, it was also used as a night fighter.

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