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Lavochkin La-5 – 240th IAP, Ivan Kozhedub, Soviet AF

Availability:

1 in stock

£44.99

1 in stock

SkyMax SM2001: Lavochkin La-5 of the 240th IAP, as flown by ace pilot Ivan Kozhedub (62 kills), Soviet Air Force, Eastern Front, April 1944,

Length 4.75 inches Wingspan 5.25 inches

The Lavochkin La-5 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development and refinement of the LaGG-3 and was one of the Soviet Air Force’s most capable types of warplane. The La-5’s heritage began even before the outbreak of war, with the LaGG-1, a promising yet underpowered aircraft – turning a full circle, for example, took 20 seconds. The LaGG-3 was a modification of that design that attempted to correct this by both lightening the airframe and fitting a more powerful engine. Nevertheless, this was not enough, and the lack of power remained a significant problem. In early 1942, two of the LaGG-1 and -3’s designers, Semyon Lavochkin and Vladimir Gorbunov, attempted to correct this deficiency by experimentally fitting a LaGG-3 with the more powerful Shvetsov ASh-82 radial engine. Since the LaGG-3 was powered by an inline engine, they accomplished this by grafting on the nose section of a Sukhoi Su-2 (which used this engine). By now, the shortcomings of the LaGG-3 had caused Lavochkin to fall out of Stalin’s favour, and factories previously assigned to LaGG-3 construction had been turned over to building the rival Yakovlev Yak-1 and Yak-7. The design work required to adapt the LaGG-3 to the new engine and still maintain the aircraft’s balance was undertaken by Lavochkin in a small hut beside an airfield over the winter of 1941-1942, all completely unofficially. When the prototype took flight in March, the result was extremely pleasing – the fighter finally had a powerplant that allowed it to perform as well in the air as it had been supposed to on paper. After flying, the LaG-5 (the change in name reflecting that one of the original LaGG designers was no longer with the programme), Air Force test pilots declared it superior to the Yak-7, and intensive flight tests began in April. After only a few weeks, the design was modified further, cutting down the rear fuselage to give the pilot better visibility. By July, Stalin ordered maximum-rate production of the aircraft, now simply known as the La-5 and the conversion of any incomplete LaGG-3 airframes to the new configuration. While still inferior to the best German fighters at high altitudes, the La-5 proved to be every bit their match closer to the ground. With most of the air combat over the Eastern Front taking place at altitudes of under 5,000 m (16,400 ft), the La-5 was very much in its element. Its rate of roll was excellent.

Designed as a successor to the LaGG-3, the radial-engined, high-performance Soviet Lavochkin La5 was first flown in 1941. The La 5 had a beefy M-82 radial engine and was more aerodynamic than its predecessor. It was also superior to Luftwaffe fighters; it could roll faster than the Bf 109 and climb faster than the Fw 190. Many Soviet pilots-such as Ivan Kozhedub, who scored 62 German kills in the fuel-injected La 5FN variant-became aces while flying the La 5, which came to be regarded as the Soviet Union’s finest fighter of the era.

Sold By : Plane Store SKU: SM2001 Categories: ,