Aviation of World War II

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I-180 in flight

I-180 - in several versions it was designed and built to replace the I-16, as a mass fighter for one and a half hundred thousand pilots, who were to be released in the coming years according to the put forward slogan. According to the scheme, he repeated the I-16, but with a slightly larger size and power and significantly higher flight performance. The fate of the first three prototypes was tragic.

I-180-1 On the first of them, in the first flight on December 15, 1938, V.P. Chkalov. The reason was the engine shutdown. It was 24 degrees that day. When the aircraft descended at low speeds, the engine overcooled, and when trying to increase the mode, it stalled. Chkalov did not reach the runway quite a bit.

The design of the aircraft is all-metal, designed for the widespread use of extruded profiles, castings and stamped parts. A distinctive feature of the aircraft was a wing with zero sweep along the leading edge with a large narrowing towards the tips.

Armament consisted of four synchronous ShKAS machine guns (two above the engine and two in the center section). However, the project was not implemented in this form. Due to the unavailability of aircraft factories to master new technologies, the aircraft was redesigned and built of a mixed design. The fuselage is a wooden monocoque, a wing with tubular spars and ribs made of duralumin profiles, a duralumin wing toe and a braid riveted to it, followed by a linen sheathing. The plumage is duralumin, the trim of the rudders and ailerons is canvas. The chassis is three-post pyramidal, its cleaning is pneumatic. On the first and last flight, landing gear retraction was blocked.

I-180-2 On the second of them, on September 5, 1939, test pilot Thomas Susi crashed in the 53rd flight. The cause of the disaster was blinding the pilot with hot oil due to the destruction of the engine compartment oil cooler. The aircraft, as such, was not defamed, and the disaster did not affect the production of the third prototype and the introduction of the aircraft into the series.

I-180-3 The first flight took place on February 10, 1940. Factory tests were generally successful and the aircraft showed high flight performance (Vmax=575 km/h).
   However, the chain of failures of the I-180 aircraft continued. May 26, 1940, out of the blue, the most experienced pilot Stepan Suprun bonnets. A little more than a month later, on July 5, the pilot of the Air Force Research Institute Afanasy Proshakov, having exhausted all his abilities to pacify the I-180 spinning upside down, jumped out with a parachute and an uncontrollable airplane crashed into the ground. The construction of the first series continued.

I-180 serial. The first three aircraft from a series of ten aircraft were produced in December 1939 and were undergoing serial testing. By May 1, 1940, all ten were issued, and three of them were shown at the May Day parade.

Unexpectedly, at the end of 1940, the I-180 was discontinued. According to the existing version, the main role in all Polikarpov's aircraft after 1940 was played by the young deputy people's commissar of the aviation industry for new technology A.S. Yakovlev. Not a single new Polikarprov aircraft was put into production, although Lavochkin's worse aircraft were produced. The principle of the Party that there are no irreplaceable people was also implemented in aviation. As Yakovlev writes in his book "Stories of an Aircraft Designer" - Polikarpov "suddenly found himself defeated by young, unknown designers."

Last Polikarpov`s fighters
I-180-1 I-180-2 I-180-3
Year of issue 1938 1939 1940
Length, m 6.79 6.79 6.88
Wing span, m 9.0 10.05 10.09
Wing area, m² 14.68 16.11 16.11
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 1710 1847 2020
Maximum takeoff weight 2331 2459 2638
Engine M-88 M-87B M-88R
Power, hp 960/1100 950/1100 1000/1100
Maximum speed, km/h at sea level 435 408 455
at altitude 557 540 575
m 5000 5850 7000
Landing speed, km/h 120 130 130
Service Ceiling, m 10250 10250 11050
Cannon and Machine guns 4×Shkas 4×Shkas 4×Shkas
Bombs, ext., kg 200 200 200
Photo Description
Drawing I-17bis

Drawing I-180

The I-180-3 fighter on ski a landing gear.

The I-180-3 fighter on ski a landing gear.

The I-180 fighter in 1940

The I-180 fighter in 1940.


  • "The history of designs of planes in USSR 1938-1950" /Vadim Shavrov/
  • "Planes of Stalin falcons" /Konstantin Kosminkov and Dmitriy Grinyuk/
  • "Fighter I-180, I-185" /Mikhail Maslov/
  • "War in air" /№ 70, 2001/