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Yakovlev AIR-1

The Yakovlev AIR-1 (VVA-3) was a light biplane from the 1920s in the Soviet Union.

It was a two-seat aircraft and holds the distinction of being the inaugural creation of Aleksandr Sergeyevich Yakovlev, who both designed and constructed it.

Yakovlev’s initial foray into aircraft design took place during his tenure at the Zhukovsky Military Aviation Academy.

The aircraft he conceived was a lightweight biplane with seating for two individuals, propelled by a 60 horsepower ADC Cirrus piston engine.

Despite facing opposition from the academy’s directors, Yakovlev persevered and constructed the aircraft in his spare time at the Academy Club.

Originally known as VVA-3 (Military Aviation Academy-3), Yakovlev later renamed it the AIR-1 as a tribute to Alexei Ivanovich Rykov, the esteemed premier of the country and president of the Osoviakihm.

On 12th May 1927, Yakovlev’s close friend J.I. Piontkovsky piloted the aircraft’s maiden flight, praising its exceptional flying characteristics.

Piontkovsky subsequently undertook a non-stop journey from Sevastopol to Moscow, covering a distance of 1240 kilometres in a remarkable 15 and a half hours.

In 1928, Yakovlev introduced an enhanced version called the AIR-2, which saw the production of six units between 1928 and 1931, each equipped with distinct five-cylinder radial engines.

Notably, one of these aircraft, powered by a Siemens engine, received the designation AIR-2S and featured specially designed floats by V.B. Shavrov.
Prototype with a 60 hp (45 kW) ADC Cirrus engine.
Improved variant fitted with either a Siemens, Walter NZ-60 or NAMI M-23 radial engine.
AIR-2 fitted with two wooden floats.
Original designation of the AIR-1
6.9 m (22 ft 8 in)
8.85 m (29 ft 0 in)
Wing area
18.7 m2 (201 sq ft)
Empty weight
335 kg (739 lb)
Gross weight
535 kg (1,179 lb)
1 × ADC Cirrus, 45 kW (60 hp)
Maximum speed
140 km/h (87 mph, 76 kn)
1,240 km (773 mi, 672 nmi)
Service ceiling
3,850 m (12,625 ft)
Yakovlev Aircraft Since 1924 – Bill Gunston & Yefim Gordon.
OKB Yakovlev, A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft-Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy Komissarov & Sergey Komissarov.
Soviet Aircrafts Illustrated-A.S.Yakovlev.
The History of Soviet Aircraft from 1918-Vaclav Nemecek.
Soviet AF Fighter Colours 1941-45-Erik Pilaeskii.
Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War, Vol 1, Single Engined Fighters-Yefim Gordon and Dmitri Khazanov.
Early Soviet Jet Fighters, The1940s and early 50s-Yefim Gordon.
Soviet Secret Projects, Fighters Since 1945-Tony Buttler & Yefim Gordon.
Soviet Secret Projects, Bombers Since 1945-Tony Buttler & Yefim Gordon.
Soviet Aircraft of Today-Nico Sgariato.
Modern Soviet Fighters-Mike Spick.

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