Aviation of Word War II
La-5FN from the Point of View of the Luftwaffe
The Germans showed great interest in the new Soviet fighter. One of the first La-5s that the Germans inherited was piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Nikolai Vlasov. Vlasov made an emergency landing on July 30, 1943 on a La-5 with tail number "06" white near the town of Ostrov. The second La-5 (hull number “84” in white), inherited by the Germans, belonged to the “Valery Chkalov” squadron from the 159th Fighter Aviation Regiment, this plane was flown in the Luftwaffe test center located in Rechlin. They were conducted by test pilot Hans-Werner Lerche. Based on the test results, an act was drawn up, the text of which is given below.
The captured La-5 was painted in green and black camouflage, the propeller blades were black and green.
Luftwaffe Test Pilot: Hans-Werner Lerche
The La 5FN represents a significant advance in flight and operational performance compared to early Soviet fighters. Its data at altitudes up to 3000 m deserve special attention. But the maximum speed at all altitudes is lower than that of German fighters. The best rate of climb at the ground is comparable to that of FW 190A-8 and Bf 109. In ascent and bends up to 3000 m La 5FN is close to FW 190. At cruising engine power, the range and duration of flight is short (40 minutes).
During flights at altitude, it is prohibited to turn on the afterburner, because the flow area of the throttle air channel is not enough to achieve maximum power (the ASh-82FN engine allowed afterburner in the altitude range of 0-2000 m - ed.).
The aircraft was fully operational. His plaque is unknown, but the car has been in service for some time. The finish on all surfaces, especially the fenders (wood), is good. The handlebars and slats are very meticulous.
The pilot sits comfortably. The forward view from the cockpit in flight is sufficient, but during takeoff, landing and taxiing, it is significantly limited by the engine. Strong plume of exhaust gases on the ground and in the air. The high-altitude oxygen system has apparently never been used. Its design is based on the German diaphragm co-flow economizer system. Control of the pitch of the screw, radiators, blinds, trimmers, etc. manual by means of various rods. This leads to a distraction of the pilot's attention and a decrease in the flight characteristics of the La 5 during air combat.
During takeoff, engine power fluctuates somewhat, but within acceptable limits. The tail should be raised slowly and not too early. The small propeller-to-ground clearance makes piloting difficult. Acceleration on the takeoff run is good and the takeoff distance with flaps deflected by 15-20 ° is relatively short. Due to the absence of an indicator of the position of the trim tabs, special attention should be paid to the correctness of their mutual correspondence on the elevators and rudders.
Stability and Manageability
Longitudinal stability at flight angles of attack at any position of the landing gear and flaps is unexpectedly good, even during afterburner climb. Stick force is normal. When performing deep bends, the efforts increase significantly, but remain positive. To make a steady turn, you need to pedal to "keep the nose in the wind".
Static directional stability and rudder efficiency are usually satisfactory, but drop sharply at low flight speeds. Dynamic directional stability is weak, damping of yaw oscillations is unsatisfactory. At a speed of 450 km/h and an altitude of 200 m, the oscillation period is about 3 seconds, and the pilot cannot suppress them in a shorter time. Aiming the guns at the target is very simple. The aircraft reacts to deflection of the rudder by gradually raising or lowering the nose, but this is not a problem. Gaussian stride vibrations can be easily suppressed by light rudder movements.
The aileron performance is outstanding. At 450 km/h, a full revolution is completed in less than 4 seconds. At a speed of 600 km/h, the forces on the ailerons become excessive, but you can resort to the help of quick actions of the rudder.
At the cruising power of the engine with the landing gear and flaps retracted, the slats are extended at a speed of 200-210 km/h. With a further decrease in speed, the effectiveness of the ailerons decreases. When 180 km/h is reached, it becomes difficult to damp the roll, and in the case of a slip flight or when braking continues, the plane falls onto the wing. With the throttle retracted and the landing gear and flaps extended, similar reactions occur at close speeds. If the pilot continues to pull the stick towards himself, the plane reaches the maximum achievable angles of attack and falls onto the wing.
When performing sharp, energetic turns, a stall on the wing leads to similar results, but the lack of ailerons is felt more clearly and at significantly higher speeds. This happens, for example, at an altitude of 2400 m and a speed of 320 km/h when performing a full turn in 30 seconds (overload 2.6 g, roll 67 °), as well as at lower speeds and high overloads, but with the slats extended. With forced sharp movements of the ailerons, there is an unpleasant tendency for the stick to move towards the rotation of the aircraft. However, due to the margin in the angle of attack before stalling after the slats are released, this phenomenon is not dangerous.
At an altitude of 2400 m and cruising engine power, the shortest time for a full turn without loss of altitude is 28-30 seconds. At an altitude of 1000 m and forcing the engine, a full turn is performed in 25 seconds.
Descending at 200 km/h is only possible using engine power. During leveling, the wing's lift increases significantly, so special attention should be paid to the balancing of the aircraft. A three-point landing is easy. If this fails or the ground is uneven, then keeping the car on the run becomes difficult. The situation is aggravated by uneven wheel braking. The plane can "nod" and "goat". Due to the limited ground clearance, the propeller is at particular risk. Stalling on any wing during taxiing is not a hazard due to the wide chassis track. In a strong crosswind, the rudder area is not sufficient to keep the aircraft on the runway, but in this situation, you can resort to using the wheel brakes.
Conclusions on Tactics and Recommendations
In view of the merits of its engine, La 5FN is better suited for combat at low altitudes. Its maximum ground speed is only marginally less than that of the FW 190A-8 and the Bf 109 with afterburner. Overclocking characteristics are comparable. La 5FN is inferior to Bf 109 with MW50 (water-methanol injection system - ed.) In speed and climb rate at all altitudes. The efficiency of the La 5FN ailerons is higher than that of the "one hundred and ninth", the time of turn near the ground is less.
The Russian fighter surpasses the FW.190A-8 in climb rate up to an altitude of 3000 m. Due to its greater weight, the "one hundred and ninetieth" is somewhat inferior in acceleration characteristics, but thanks to it it also looks better in all dive maneuvers and during a combat turn at high speed. Therefore, the evasion of La 5FN attacks should be performed with a dive, then go into a gentle climb at high speed to take up a position for an attack. Lavochkin has a better climb rate at steeper trajectory angles, so it will lag behind. Never lose speed and avoid long maneuvering combat.
Remember the short flight duration of La 5FN: 40 minutes at normal power and even less at afterburner.
Signed: Hans-Werner Lerche.
Flight Technical Characteristics
Weight of empty equipped aircraft - 2773 kg
Fuel tank capacity - 460 l
Fuel weight - 354 kg
Oil tank capacity - 51 l
Oil weight - 46 kg
Ammunition (2×200 rounds) - 96 kg
Pilot weight - 80 kg
Takeoff weight - 3347 kg
Wingspan - 9.8 m
Wing area - 17.5 m²
Wing loading - 191 kg
Distribution of weight on wheels in the parking lot:
- left wheel - 1437 kg
- right wheel - 1484 kg
- tail wheel - 426 kg
- frontal bulletproof glass - 57 mm
- armored headrest made of bulletproof glass - 68 mm
- steel armored back - 7 mm
(1st blower speed 2400 rpm) - 1000 mm Hg
(2nd speed of the supercharger 2500 rpm) - 1180 mm Hg
Airspeed at sea level:
- afterburner - 520 km/h
- at cruising power - 409 km/h
- afterburner at an altitude of 1000 m - 540 km/h
- at cruising power at an altitude of 2400 m - 540 km/h
- at cruising power at an altitude of 5000 m - 560 km/h
- at cruising power at an altitude of 6500 m - 545 km/h
The height of the transition to the II speed of the blower (manual control) - 3500 m
Rate of climb at cruising power:
- at an altitude of 300 m - 16-17 m/s
- at an altitude of 4000 m - 13 m/s
- at an altitude of 7000 m - 6 m/s
Practical ceiling - 8000-9000 m