(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

User Rating: 0 / 5

Please rate this article:
0 of 5 - 0 votes
Thank you for rating this article.

Polikarpov I-16
Where? Palatinate Forest
When?
 June 2010

The big news on the German Warbird scene in 2009 was the arrival on one of the rare airworthy Polikarpov I-16 "Ishak". It reflects the pleasant trend to operate an ever growing number of historic aircraft in Germany and for sure this special example adds an additional flavour to the already existing fleet.

The aircraft previously owned by the Alpin Fighter Collection (AFC) was shipped to Germany in February 2009 and the long-awaited first flight on German ground took place on May, 22nd at Lachen-Speyerdorf with the well-experienced Jurgis Kairys on the controls.

Before that of course the lengthy process of obtaining the permit-to-fly had to be passed. This could not least be realized because of the common effort by its new owner Thomas Jülch, Michael Düsing from the German Luftfahrtbundesamt and consultant Dieter Thomas, but also thanks to the assiduous documentation by the manufacturer SibNIA (Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute) in Novosibirsk, who ha been responsible for the restoration work. As an outcome of this the I-16 now proudly carries it "D-EPRN", which is easy to remember as it stand for "Polikarpov Red Nine".

Modifications in Germany included flight instruments directly behind the windscreen as looking up and down to check the instruments can become very cumbersome to the pilot, especially during landing or back light situations. Additionally also a G-meter has been installed to observe the flight testing phase and for security reasons as well as the cowling has been strengthened by aeronautical plastics.

After Thomas' got used to his new 'little toy' and did fly its first airshows I had the chance to fly an air-air mission with him over the Pfälzerwald / Palatinate Forest to the West of Mannheim on a glorious summer day in June 2010.

History of D-EPNR

Polikarpov I-16 Type 24 (c/n 2421319) was the first I-16 to be re-build by the SibNIA (Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute) as a purchase order by the Alpin Fighter Collection (AFC). The remains that were used during this reconstruction were discovered in Kerelia, 38km south west of the city of Kostomuksha.
The aircraft belonged to the 155th Fighter Squadron when it crashed in 1941/42 and was originally produced in the Gorky aircraft plant No. 21 around 1939/40. The wreckage indicated that some parts (engine and armament) were of the I-16 Type 18, whereas landing gear and the right cockpit door showed a Type 24.
Today's colour scheme represents the original aircraft, as fabric samples still showed the then typical standard VVS camouflage in dark green with a light blue underside finish, as well as the "White 9" on the rudder. After reconstruction as a Type 24, as this one offers a superior wing construction, it first flew again in 1996 and was transferred to New Zealand, where it was then fitted with a radio and an ELT (emergency location transmitter). It was registered in New Zealand on October 9th, 1997 as ZK-JIN and until August 2008 around only 44hrs were flown on the airframe.
After being sold to Thomas Jülch in Germany the aircraft arrived there on February, 9th 2009 and undertook its first flight in Europe on May, 22nd of the same year, carrying the German registration D-EPNR. It is now based at the City Airport Mannheim, where it joined the growing collection of the "Flugwerk Mannheim e.V." association.

Onomastics of the I-16

A rat, a fly, an eagle and a little donkey, the Polikarpov I-16 unites the most different characteristics of many different animals under its skin, but where do they originate from?
"Ishak" (donkey) is the most common name when referred to the I-16 in Russia as a reflection of its hard working role, which is especially valid for the first years of WW II, but sometimes also "Yastrebok" (hawk) has been used in the VVS, a name also adopted by the Finish Air Force (though this is not completely confirmed). During the Spanish Civil War the I-16 was called Mosca ("Little Fly") by the Republicans, whereas its Nationalist enemies called out "Rata" (rat) when they saw them. Finally "Abu" (gadfly) was its no-so-kind nickname in Japan, who fought against it and its Chinese pilots.

XXL-Photos

I-16 Rata I-16 Rata

If you want to know more about the history of the Polikarpov I-16 I can recommend the "Red Star" series book by Yefim Gordon about this type.

Extensive reports and photos from this flight were also published in

  • Flying Legends Airshow Magazine 2010
  • Aircraft August 2010: "RED STAR OVER GERMANY" Air-to-air with Thomas Jülch’s wonderful Polikarpov I-16, scheduled to be the ‘red star’ of this year’s Flying Legends (buy here)
  • Flugzeug Classic April 2011: Neuer Stern am Warbirdhimmel - Polikarpov I-16 »Ishak« (content)

recently published

Bell Cobra Flight

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Bell P-39 P-63 Cobras air-air at EAA Airventure Oshkosh
Where? Oshkosh, WI, USA
When?July 2017

EAA Airventure at Oshkosh in 2017 saw a rare gathering of Bell Aircraft Cobras. Three P-63 Kingcobras and a P-39 Airacobra attended the ‘World’s greatest Aviation Celebration’, amongst them all Cobras belonging to the Commemorative Air Force (CAF): the P-39Q of the Central Texas Wing, the world’s sole flying P-63F of the “P-63 Sponsor Group” and the most recent addition, the P-63A of the Dixie Wing from Peachtree City, Georgia.

Read more ...

more Airshows

Farnborough Airshow

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

Farnborough International Air Show 2014
Where? Farnborough, England
When? 15/07/2014

The bi-annual Farnborough Airshow ranks very highly amongst the three big European aeronautical trade fairs. Some even argue that it is the biggest one due to the strong presence of American and Asian companies, especially in the defence sector. One day onl at this huge event was barely enough to cover the static and flying display, thus this report is restricted to a walk-around I the static display and a look at the flying program in the afternoon.

Read more ...

more Air-Air

Piper Cub

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

Piper Cub air-air - Flugaufnahmen

Piper Cub D-EJGI

On a very nice summer day in 2006 I had the opportunity to have a nice photoflight with the Piper Cub D-EJGI.
After a long day of work getting up in the air was a very nice way to end the day, therefore we met with Hans, who was going to be my pilot on this flight, not very long before sunset. After the preparation of both aircraft we made our briefing, talked about safety, formations, flying directions before taking off from Manching.

Read more ...

Twitter feed

My Warbird Book

photos on www.airfighters.com